Let’s face it, podcasting is a very niche market. Podcasting a novel, it seems, is a niche within a niche. You’re already in a limiting market and, let’s be honest here, most people listen to podcasts for reasons other than listening to someone narrate a novel.
I think that’s why when people in the podcast novel ‘business’ get feedback, they’re completely over the moon about it. If you’ve ever written an author, you’ve most likely gotten the line ‘your feedback just made my day’ or something. That’s because it’s true. Contrary to popular belief, the inbox of a podcast novelist is never really that full. So every scrap of it we get is something precious and it does give us the motivation to carry on.
This past weekend though, something happened to me that for some might be cause for ‘meh,’ but for me…well…I think I just about lost it.
This past weekend was the first ‘When Words Collide’ literary convention here in Calgary. Now, I didn’t know this was happening this weekend. My friend, Aviva Bel’Harold (http://www.avivabellharold.com) had been invited to do a reading at this ‘thing,’ so I offered to come along to help support her because she’s becoming a friend AND she’s an author. In this day and age, if you can throw your support behind an author who’s trying to make it out there, then do so.
I had no idea that this ‘thing’ was in fact a con…much less the FIRST con under the name. I basically stumbled in on the ground floor of a new con! What was really cool was seeing some familiar faces from the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo there. I picked up a few books, attended some great panels on creativity, NaNoWriMo, attended a couple of release parties (including http://www.the10thcircle.com), and even took a trip to the university to see one of the largest HG Wells literary and media collections out there. As an SF fan, this was a kind of Mecca, really.
On the final day of the con, I got into what they called a Kaffe Klatch, which is a small gathering of people hosted by an author. I’d signed up for one with Robert J. Sawyer (http://www.sfwriter.com/), a rather prolific Canadian SF writer. We all talked about the writing world in general, e-books, libraries…all that stuff. I felt bad that it only lasted an hour, as I think we all could have taken up the rest of his con time there.
As we were leaving, I asked if he could sign a couple of his books that I’d bought; I’d missed him at his usual book signing time the day before. Just as he was about to, his phone rang. Turns out it was a rep for Dragon Con, asking if he’d be willing to stand in for someone on a podcast.
Right then, he turned, looked me right in the eye and said “Sure…I love podcasts.”
Keep in mind I’ve said nothing at this point…not even hinted that I was ‘in the biz’ WRT podcasting. My only identifying feature was my name tag. I told him afterwards that I found it funny that he would look at me and say something like that. I can’t remember exactly what he said, though I think it went something like ‘What makes you think I wouldn’t know who you are?’ or ‘I do my homework.’
So there I was, this wannabe writer in an ocean of writers, publishers, and the like, suddenly singled out and given the nod by one of the biggest fish in the place…I had a stupid grin plastered on my face for the rest of the day.
When someone who has an entire table at a con covered in his assembled works recognizes a name like mine, who’s done relatively little and in a niche-within-niche market…it’s a pretty profound experience…kinda gives one that sense of peer validation…
Which REALLY made my day.