It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Got back from World Fantasy Con late last night. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this one, it’s a professionally oriented (though not limited to pros) con held on the weekend closest to Hallowe’en that moves around the country. So many writers show up that only the Guests of Honor get more than one program slot, and it’s an honor to be included. Editors also show up in great numbers (especially when it’s on the East Coast), and don’t run away when they see authors coming. The programming is of high quality, there’s an awards banquet, and it’s a great opportunity to make contacts and generate ideas.

I went this year because Viking took out a full page ad for RAVENS OF AVALON in the program book, and in any case, I haven’t done an East Coast con for awhile and thought it time to refresh people’s memories. The committee was very nice to me, put me on the program as a “big name”. Tor invited me to their table for the banquet. I got to meet my new editor for the Avalon books and had a productive conversation. I signed lots of books at the autographing. The countryside was coming into fall color – beautiful – and Saratoga Springs is a charming town with a yarn store a half a block from the Convention center. (By the way, in 2009 the con will be in San Jose, so anyone from this area who’s interested can see what it’s like).

That’s the plus side. On the downside, no one seems to have informed the booksellers about the RAVENS OF AVALON ad, and no one had copies for sale at the con. Of the many books I signed, only a few were the recent ones. Although I have a new Avalon contract (story of how the Sword was forged, 1000 BC), I have no current prospects for anything under my own name alone, and am faced with the prospect of reinventing myself as a writer (something that has happened to a number of better writers than I am recently). No one has suggested starting over with a new name, but I am considering refocusing on historical and/or YA fiction.

What have I learned?
1. I need to be more aggressive on publicity in general (and I know some of you will say, “I told you so”). I can’t assume the publisher knows how to do it. I must find a way to make sure the booksellers know about my latest work when I am going to a con.
2. I am not ready to rest on my laurels, retire, or switch entirely to non-fiction. (Speaking of which, I just turned in the draft of TRANCE-PORTATION to Weiser)
3. I need to look upon this situation not as a closing door, but as a chance to open a new one.

I have a year to get the new Avalon book done (RoC is bringing all of them out again in paperback, which should generate some interest). But I promise that somehow I will write the sequel to GOLDEN HILLS OF WESTRIA.