It’s hard to believe that in just three short weeks from today, I will be on a plane to Chicago. It’s even harder to believe that it was already a year ago today when I was on a plane back from Orlando.
Last year, I attended my first convention, LeakyCon 2011, where I had the time of my life. I wrote about it while I was there and after I got back. I went with my former college roommate, Jeff, who prefers nonfiction to fiction, which contributes to his affinity for traveling the world, which in turn gave him the excuse to come with me to Orlando, though it really did contribute any enthusiasm for attending such a fiction- and fantasy-centric convention. Don’t get me wrong: I showed him all the Harry Potter movies before we left so that he would understand the last movie when we saw it in the theater, and he did enjoy them, but he hasn’t read any of the books, and I don’t think he intends to. It’s not his cup of tea, and that’s okay.
This all is just to explain that I essentially attended LeakyCon 2011 alone. I had met a few fans on MyLeaky, but I came to LeakyCon with a purposeful mindset: I was going to meet new people. I also had a secondary motivation, strong though it was: I was going to advertise my website.
For a couple weeks before I embarked on the journey to Orlando, I started to brainstorm ideas that would serve this dual purpose. I eventually settled on an idea that I had seen at a previous music festival that I had attended: a “hug me” t-shirt. That always gets people’s attention. I took this idea further: what if I just brought plain white t-shirts to the Con and used a permanent marker to write a different phrase on them every day? For example, “tweet your house to @fictionrow”.
So, yes, if you were at LeakyCon 2011, I was the guy with the “hug me sign me” t-shirt who walked around at the wizard rock concert on Friday night getting hugs and signatures from everyone. I had gotten people’s attention. I had succeeded in meeting new people. I hadn’t succeeded in advertising my website. All these fans in one place? Shouldn’t this be free and easy advertising?
In the end, I learned a few things.
- If I’m going to advertise my website, wearing phrases on t-shirts at a convention is not the way to do it. It may work to meet people, but it’s not the best advertising.
- People who go to conventions, particularly LeakyCon, are already fans of certain websites, namely The Leaky Cauldron and to a smaller extent MuggleNet, and are not going to simply become loyal to another website on a whim.
- People who visit fan websites are not going to visit new websites in the first place, simply because I tell them to. I need to have content they want to read and update with new content often, to keep them coming back.
All in all, if I want to be a part of something awesome, I have to put in the work. That’s what the past few weeks have been about for my website. Granted, the newer articles that I have written have been about older products, which breaks the rule about new content, but at least I am updating. At least I am doing something. At least I am putting in the work.
This year, my experience at LeakyCon will be a little different. Last year was my first convention. This year will be my first volunteer staff position at a convention. I am going to be the main stage volunteer coordinator, otherwise known as the International Ballroom Manager. Last night, I planned my schedule and then signed up for over twenty hours of shifts, which will be crazy, but at the same time shall be totally awesome. I am very excited to be a part of the volunteer staff this year!
Because I put a lot of work into it, I decided to post the schedule below that I worked so hard on last night. Italicized are the events where I am working. So, if you happen to come to those events, please stop by, but don’t blame me if I seem distracted by work!
Thursday, August 9, 2012
01:00-01:50 LeakyCon 2011 Alumni Reunion, NW 5
01:00-03:00 Team StarKid Signings, SW Ex. Hall
03:00-04:30 Harry Potter Actors, SW Ex. Hall
04:00-06:00 Pre-Festivities Preparation, Int. BR
06:00-08:00 LeakyCon Opening Festivities, Int. BR
08:30-12:00 Rock Concert (MOM!), Int. BR
12:30-02:30 Maureen’s Midnight Movie, Int. BR (Update: I’ve added this. I don’t need sleep, do I?)
Friday, August 10, 2012
08:00-08:20 Breakfast (No Lunch)
08:30-09:50 Pre-Joe Moses Preparation, Int. BR
10:00-10:50 Joe Moses One Man Showses, Int. BR
11:00-11:50 Nerdfighter Meetup, Grand BR
12:00-12:50 Fan Journalism, NW 5
01:00-01:50 MuggleCast, Int. BR
02:00-03:50 Living the Luna Way, Int. BR
04:00-04:50 Potter Puppet Pals, Int. BR
05:00-06:30 An Afternoon with HP Alumni, Int. BR
06:30-07:30 Cast Photo Booth, Int. BR
08:00-08:50 Dinner (No Lunch)
09:00-09:50 Pottermore Discussion, NW 2
09:00-01:00 Rock Concert II, Int. BR
Saturday, August 11, 2012
08:30-12:00 Pre-StarKid Preparation, Int. BR
09:00-10:00 (The Leaky Cup Finals, Cont. BR)
12:00-03:00 A Very StarKid Event II, Int. BR
03:30-04:30 PotterCast, Int. BR
05:30-07:00 LeakyStars, Int. BR
10:00-02:00 Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball, Int. BR
Sunday, August 12, 2012
10:00-11:00 Anelli, Green, Noe Signings, SW Ex. Hall
11:00-11:50 StarKid Panel, Grand BR
12:00-03:00 Leaving Feast, Int. BR
I am most excited for the fan journalism panel. Obviously, this concept is right up my alley since I run a fan website. Are you going to LeakyCon 2012? What events are you excited to attend? Post in the comments!