Or, how I handle confusion (theoretically).
It’s an online (the CY is for cyber) convention (the CON).
The B2B part stands for Brain to Books. I guess that refers to the process of writing a book? Here’s the front door to the Goodreads site for this B2BCyCon weekend.
When I was asked to participate a month or so ago, I thought, “OK. I’ll jump. I’m up for new things. ”
Today’s post was to be the one that would explain how this second annual B2BCyCon works. How you to might participate as an author. Or, what it offers you, as a fair goer reader.
Yes; that was the plan.
Instead, this has become the post in which I will explain how I deal with confusion.
I’ve been confused a lot lately. Much has been happening in my life and technology just adds another layer of complexity. But leaving my technology-addled brain aside, this B2BCyCon expo begins in two days , I’m a participant– I even have a booth — and I haven’t a clue, really, what I’m to do.
First thing I do is stand still for a bit.
It is a jumble … like a giant airplane hanger, normally filled with forty 747s, but now filled with people. People from all over the world are buzzing around, talking among themselves, … all having a great time and I’m just standing here, still near the door where I’ve entered, wondering what to do.
And oh the noise! It’s echoing off the walls; deafening.
I push away the assumption that everyone else knows just what they are doing. That I’m the only one confused and feeling lost here. And I do it more than once.
I’m supposed to go “backstage.” That’s where all the activity takes place before the “fair” opens. but I can’t find “backstage.” I remember, vaguely, joining it many moon ago. Ah, so there are TWO separate websites?
I listen in on a few of the conversations.
None of them seem to pertain to why I’m there (to promote my memoir, At Home on the Kazakh Steppe). But the longer I stand and stare, the more questions form in my mind.
There are so many science fiction books, lots of romance — paranormal romance? What is that? — and all sorts of fantasy genres. I don’t see any other memoirs.
I ask the woman who asked me. She’s a memoirist. I’ll hang out with her; maybe just stand in her shadow and observe. I don’t mind just observing this first time.
Where should I go first? I ask her.
To my booth. That seems logical. But …
Where’s my booth?
Start a new “discussion.” That’s my booth. Oh, and don’t call it your book’s title. Use something broader.
OK. I open by booth. I’m calling it, Travel Memoirs — Leaving It All Behind.
I assume other travel memoirs will join me at my booth. Silly me. Assume: you know the story.
Still, how will anyone find me, memoirist or not?
I need to spruce up my booth a bit. Visuals would be nice; images; the cover of my book, of course. I see other “booths” have hung their book covers up. How do I hang my book cover photo?
I ask the convention leader. How do I hang my cover photo? Instead of an answer, someone comes in during the night and hangs it for me. But it’s an old cover, one I don’t use anymore. Wherever did she find that one? I want to take it down. I call out, Help. But …
… it’s such a big arena that my question goes unanswered, unheard. Everyone is so busy. After all, the convention begins in just two days.
I think of turning around and leaving. That’s always an option, I know.
Just because I once said “Yes,” does not mean I cannot now say “No.”
I believe that. But I’m thinking I’ll regret it, come Monday, if I leave. I want to figure it out. I want to stop feeling so confused. And, it’ll make a good blog post. It’s in the category I call Life.
Besides, I’ve already invited a slew of my FB friends, many of whom have said they’d attend. I can’t just not show up. How rude! I should mention, this isn’t just happening on Goodreads; it’s spilling over onto Facebook. Somehow.
I for sure won’t learn anything if I leave before it starts. Even if I just go through the motions, I’ll still learn something, probably. That’s usually how it works. Something will stick.
I don’t have to do it perfectly.
I look around me. I see big signs:
They read: Discussion Board, Events, Friends in the Group (I see two that I know), Members (there are 639). There’s a Poll I can take to show what country I’m from. Vast majority are American after all. I see a bookshelf; it’s got 88 books on it. Do I add mine? I can’t tell; I don’t want to seem pushy.
I walk over closer to the Discussion Board. Is my “discussion” there? I don’t see it.
But I do notice a slew of big signs. One says WELCOME TO THE FAIR. That sounds promising. I stand beneath and see three additional signs: Entrance (that sounds hopeful), Questions (ah, at last), and FAQs I’ll need to come back to these soon. First, I want to keep looking around:
Other signs in this Discussion Board say
THE FAIR GROUNDS
“JACK POT GIVEAWAYS”
I need to find my booth. It’s where I’ll be meeting my “guests” (I think). I should know how to find it. But the noise in the background keeps getting louder and louder and it’s hard to think.
Ah, there it is, inside THE FAIR GROUNDS. But it’s one of over 100 other “booths.” I guess they want the fairgoers to just wander up and down the aisles? Doesn’t seem very efficient. I mean, if I’m interested in historical fiction, I really don’t want to wander down the paranormal romance aisle. Is there an historical fiction aisle? Is there a memoir aisle?
There is a map, I’m told. And I go to look for it. Maps are always good to have. Alas. It’s time to sit down and ponder a bit.
I am convinced I don’t want to explore those other genres, but why? Is this one of those quick-in-for-a-bottle-of-milk-and-out-again trips or is this one of those get-the-cart-and-start-at-the-beginning trips. Frankly, I’m almost always a take-the-cart-just-in-case kind of shopper. Because, you never know, I could see something I’d like to try that’s not on my list.
But not here; not with books.
Why do the various fantasy booths leave me cold? I’m not sure. I don’t go down the laundry detergent aisle in my local grocery store either. I know they don’t carry what I want to use, so I just don’t bother. It saves time.
Am I denying myself an important new discovery or am I saving myself time and energy to devote to something else? More importantly, how do I know?
- I missed the deadline for the Book Giveaway.
- I only yesterday discovered there’s a video to take me step-by-step (I didn’t see a video when I first walked in; funny how, the longer you stand still, the more your eyes adjust to the light. Sometimes, it just takes time.)
- And, while I now know how to hang photos in my booth, I’ve decided not to. Maybe next year.
I also haven’t scheduled any games, no giveaways, no prizes. Just me, sitting in my booth, waiting to have a conversation.
So, come Friday, I’m going to show up.
That’s always the first thing: to just show up.
And I’ll show up again on Saturday and again, Sunday morning. I’m also committed to enjoying myself. During a slow spell, I’ll go get me a virtual funnel cake. I see there is a funnel cake booth.
Will I see you there? I hope so.