As I've mentioned before, due to angering some fickle deity, I only had one scheduled event at DragonCon: a reading.
When I showed up to the con, the programming staff were nice enough to schedule me a signing too. Then, using my not inconsiderable charm, I sweet-talked my way onto a couple of the writing track panels.
The panels went pretty well. Since they were already on the schedule, they had good audiences. I gave a few good pieces of advice, got a few laughs, and avoided - for the most part - making an ass of myself. If I can do all three of those things, it's a good panel.
My signing was another matter entirely. Since it wasn't on the schedule, nobody knew about it. You could hear crickets. Two people showed up, and I was surprised to have that many.
Rest assured that my ego did not suffer any permanent trauma due to low attendance. Why is that? Well... mostly because of the signings I used to do back when my first story appeared in an anthology....
They were brutal. Most signings are when you're a new writer. Typically you spend two hours sitting at a card table in front of a Waldenbooks at the local mall. Then everyone ignores you. Pointedly ignores you. Ignores you as if they fear making eye contact will give them herpes.
Those early signings, while grueling, did a great job of setting my expectations low. These days, if I have a signing and two or three people talk to me, I consider it a win. Everything beyond that is gravy.
The other reason my ego wasn't bruised by the low turn-out is that earlier this month at Worldcon, when my signing *was* on the schedule, I got a turnout that surprised so much that I took a picture of the line:
By comparison, my DragonCon signing is pretty relaxing. I talk to the two people who stop by, drink my coffee, and read the program book making plans to stalk Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, and Jewel Staite.
Then I pack up and head over to my reading. My expectations understandably low.
Imagine my surprise when I see that the room is pretty much full. It's surprising to me that all these people, in the middle of all the glamour and weird of DragonCon, have chosen to show up and listen to me read. What's more, they all started to applaud when I came in the door.
It was a good feeling. I felt cool. Really cool. I was a hoopy frood. I was about .8 of a Gaiman on the cool-o-meter, which is pretty cool.
I briefly excused myself to use the bathroom - as I said, it was exciting - then did my reading. They laughed at my jokes, asked good questions, and didn't hassle me too much about book two. In brief, it was a great crowd.
When my hour was up, so many people wanted me to sign that, after a half hour, I needed to move the remainder into the hallway because the next reading was scheduled to begin. Then I signed in the hallway for another half hour.
Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about myself.
Then I realized that my zipper was down. Which means that it had been down since I used the bathroom right before the reading.
Thank you, oh universe, for reminding me of the truth. While I may be all that and a bag of chips, I'm usually all that and a bag of chips who doesn't know his zipper is open.
I learned my lesson though. Later that night, in order to prevent any further zipper-related embarrassment, I changed into my kilt before I went out to dinner with some of the folks who had participated in the photo contest a couple months back:
And a good time was had by all....