The Day After Awesome ...

Monday, August 15, 2022

Oh Wow!!! First off - I can't believe how LONG it's been since I last did one of these little blog entries. I mean, I know I've been in a bit of a literary funk ... but six months??? Yikes! I promise, I'll do better!

Which brings me to my next point, Doing Better, Writing wise! And the Why, of course, is that When Words Collide 2022 just concluded yesterday - and all I can say is - WOW! I want to chat about that first, then I'll get to the Doing Better part!

For the third year the conference was virtual, which meant many things. Mostly, that it didn't include the long drive to and from Calgary. And a rather expensive hotel bill. It also included a few new things - first off, the organizers allowed professional and past partners to set up and be responsible for their own tracks of programming. Mostly publishers, big and small. And as such, they considered Prairie Owl Publishing - our own tiny little imprint - as a past partner! (So cool!!!)

Since the first virtual year, I have mantained a zoom licence, and kept it because it was handy for a few different things through out the year (mostly having to do with my volunteer Guiding life, but also as a way to connect with non-local family), so setting up the zoom links was old hat. Being told that we can fill a full track with however many sessions we wanted, well, let me say - Challenge Accepted!

The "Prairie Owl Publishing" track had scheduled - out of a possible 29 tracks - 13 sessions! Please keep in mind, that POP has a grand total of TWO individuals associated with it - myself and founder Amanda Witow. Of those 13 tracks we'd scheduled, we were directly involved with 12 sessions, one of which was a panel, which I moderated and Amanda was a panelist. When the idea of that panel (On Being an Indie Author) came to me, I reached out to S.C. Jensen - author of the Bubbles in Space series - and asked if she'd be interested in being on the panel, and maybe doing a session on her own. She was quite happy to say yes to both - and our 13th session was Sarah's How to Increase Your Speed and Productivity. To round out our panel, Amanda reached out to D.N. Brynn, the author of more than a few awesome novels (Odder Still and Once Stolen, just to name a couple!). And I must say, it was a lot of fun! So glad we did it!

There were, of course, some more negative challenges to overcome this year, most notably the presence of Zoom Bombers at most sessions :( What's a Zoom Bomber you ask? These were invidivuals just getting their kicks out of signing into a session with the sole purpose of being a nuisance, by interrupting with noise of all sorts. To be distracting. Like - really? Are you guys 12????? No - that's doing a disservice to 12 year olds!!! As a result, sessions right across the board instituted a few zoom rules to curb these guys - most notably Muting participants as they entered, and using Moderators who did some quiet gatekeeping of sessions, removing offenders.

My first session I had a volunteer from the group of legit participants step up to gatekeep - which was awesome! Thanks Val!!! After that, I tapped my hubby to be our Moderator, and he went a step further in that he removed the ability to Unmute themselves for all participants, as well as the ability to use the Whiteboard. One thing he didn't do was to remove the ability for participants to Rename themselves. But other sessions, who hadn't also instituted the universal Mute everybody and keep them that way rule, got hit by bombers who'd rename themselves to match another legitimate particant. That way, once they got noisy and rowdy and the moderator removed them from the session, the legit person got kicked out as well! We didn't have that issue as since they couldn't unmute themselves, there was no way they could be disruptive, so they just left on their own. Or stayed and enjoyed the session. Anything is possible, right?

Once the bombers were kept under control things got back on track and went quite well for us! Well ... that is, until covid reared its ugly head! Yes, even at a virtual conference covid was able to impact things when it got its hooks into poor Amanda :( I did what I could in taking on two of her remaining four sessions, but we did have to cancel the other two :( I won't go into all the unhappy emotions associated with being a mommy who can't really do anything to help her child ....... But I will say, that part really sucked :(

But other than that, the conference went really well! Which brings me to the Doing Better part!

Actually - no it doesn't! At least not right now. I think that will have to be rolled over into the next blog entry, where that will be the main focus!

And that's a Promise! So - stay tuned! Anyone want to run a side bet on how long it will take for me to write and post the next one???? Anyone? No????

Lol! Okay, my dear meeples ... my sweet cherubs .... my... friends. Yeah - that one works better!

Until later Friends! But not too much later .... maybe even tomorrow!