I spend a lot of time talking about pov--yeah, 'cause I'm like that--but, I was over at Karen Knows Best, reading Azteclady's conference blog posts, which, if you get the chance to read them are way cool, and thinking how different our povs are. To me, Nationals are this huge whirl of "Run! Run! Run! Faster, quicker--before anyone else." And because I think that way, I see all the other people like me.
We show up every year, hoping and praying that this year--this one magical year--will be "our" year. The year we finally come out on top. Like lottery players blowing our last two bucks, we throw down conference fees, airfare and hotel, and top it all off with new clothes and antacids. Deanna is right, in some ways, it's very sad.
Over on RD someone asked whether RWA was worth it, and someone else said--very honestly--it depends. It's a very rigid, tiered system, and moving from tier to tier is difficult. The hardest jump is from PRO to PAN, and even then--after cruising the autographing, there are tiers within PAN. The big names, the mid-list, and all others.
For Azteclady and all the other reader/bloggers, Nationals are upbeat and happy. All their pictures are...so happy. Everyone smiles and has a good time. It's not like RT, where the big names are mobbed everywhere they go. In some ways Nationals is a very intimate conference. Everyone is up close and personal--and there, like everywhere else, readers are treasured.
I remember the days when I stood in line for publisher autographings. It was cool and fun, and magical. Getting to meet people I'd only read about in RT, and have my books signed. I still have my copy of Lady of the West from the Savannah RT back when I was part of the early Bookstores that Cared network. We hit that conference like a ton of bricks--squealing, shrieking, and eating complimentary bookseller snacks at bookseller parties. Then we all jumped on Fabio and took tons of pictures, all the while trying to squat down and pretend we were shorter, lol.
The last time I was at Nationals and stood in line for something non-food related, we dissected the speakers entire backlist, argued about the multiple story arcs, how she'd changed, whether this workshop would be any better than the last one, and whether it was better to sit near the front hoping it'd be good, or near the back in case it sucked.
From magic to mechanics. Not the best change.