We’re aiming to get the full GenreCon program out by the end of the month, which means the first few weeks of August are dominated by putting panels together and then pulling them apart and putting new things in their place. It’s the most exciting part of the gig in many ways, which means it takes very little to flip the switch and transform that excitement into anxiety. I have spent the last week taking changes in my plans very poorly and being more irritable than normal.
Part of it is because I made a mistake. We were aiming for major program announcements in the middle of August, which is a perfectly sensible date based upon the timeline for print production, but does mean we’re going to spend two weeks trying to confirm speakers when a sizable portion are in Helsinki for Worldcon or hitting Brisbane for the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference.
The vast majority of people will respond fast despite being on the road, but there is always the sizable portion who prove to be slow to respond to email at the best of times. By the time we hit the end of August and the last few stragglers are being prodded, I will be huddled under a desk sticking pins into dolls and cursing their names in all the ways I can think of.
Of course, I am currently ignoring emails as I type this, so it’s not like I don’t understand how tings get to this situation.
That said, the program is in a pretty good shape. I’ve got the basic brief and copy for 14 of the 16 discussion programs locked down so we can start confirming participants, but the final two aren’t coming together. The gist of the idea is there, but I’m trying to figure out how to make the idea clear enough that people understand it and sexy enough that they want to go see the topic.
My basic rule of thumb for a topic is always: what action can a writer take away from this panel and apply to their writing/career with immediate benefits?” If I cannot see that action yet, the topic isn’t quite right and needs to be re-thought.