Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Successfully Fail at Networking

Y'know, a big part of this author business is in the social game.  Meeting people, making connections, getting known.  They say that you should always have your A-game on when you're out in public, because you never know who you'll meet - or more importantly, who they'll be when you meet them the next time. 

But what does that actually look like?  And how can you mess up something as simple as "get along and play nice?"  Here for your enjoyment is a both a case study and a cautionary tale.

How to Successfully Fail at Networking
Son of Bride of Return of the Curse of the Odd-Numbered Trek Movie, Part 5: Dammit, Was That THIS Weekend?
by Tex Thompson

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post for John Scalzi's Big Idea series about One Night in SixesIt was pretty rad.

One day, a handsome prince named J.R. Forasteros read the post and said, "that book sounds totally sweet."  So he bought the book, read it, and said, "that was totally sweet."

The really great thing is that he said that to my Twitter account, and also into a microphone.  For you see, this handsome prince was none other than one of the Storymen: a master pastor, podcaster, and godly pop-culture enthusiast.  When I got wind of this, I said, "who IS this ubermensch they call the Story-Man?  We must forge an alliance!"

And we did.  On Twitter.  And it was great.  Until one day, he moved from Ohio down to Dallas, in order to use his radical preaching to bring light to the suffering proletariat in the dark, benighted kingdom of Rowlett.  Needless to say, we met up and got drinks.  It was hella rad.

But in the land of Dallas, there was a prophecy: that on the portentous Friday the 13th of March, the stars would align and summon forth All-Con, spilling hedonism and nerdery through the halls of the Crowne Plaza North Dallas Hotel.  We felt ourselves drawn to it, as unwashed moths to a flaming cheeto.

"A panel!" I cried. "We shall propose a panel!"  And thus we spoke it into being:

So let it be written - so let it be done.


From the Christ-like figure of Superman to the frequently metaphysical adventures of the USS Enterprise, fantasy and science fiction have long provided a fertile ground for considering religious and philosophical questions in a new light. Yet while our DnD characters can pray to any number of fictional deities, it's difficult to imagine the Chronicles of Narnia being published today – and we are often much more comfortable sharing our love for Goku than God. As mainstream interest in SFF grows and religion becomes an increasingly private affair, how will their relationship change? What is it about spaceships and superheroes that touches our spirituality, and how can a passion for one inspire the other?

"Let it be!"  The Story-Man bellowed his mighty assent.  Thus resolved, we summoned the greatest heroes within easy commuting distance: Clay Morgan, the Paladin of Pittsburgh; Gabe Guerrero, the orc-forged Scourge of Denton County; and Jake Kerr, the Middle-Grade Magus.  As the con-staff raised our banner, we took council over chips and salsa, and drank to seal the deal: together, we will produce and podcast a panel of world-shattering excellence, and cement our place in convention history.

Wait, what's that? I promised you a cautionary tale?  Oh, right - well, the thing is, I forgot that I'm going out of town this weekend for a Vegas wedding, so unless somebody invents a portal gun this week, I can't actually be on the panel.  That's why my name's not up there.

So let that be a lesson to you, kids: if you're going to spin one idle tweet into an epic Central-Time-Zone-spanning alliance for the ages, check your date planner first.

No, but for real this time.  If you want my networking advice, here it is: try to minimize the time you spend doing things you actively dislike, but always, always tack towards the things that are a little bit scary - whether that's hanging your opinions out on a big-name website for the world to judge you on, or tweeting a stranger out of the blue.  And don't be discouraged if it doesn't seem to net you anything: you just don't know what kind of fantastic fruit it might bear, months or even years down the line.

Oh! And here's another hot tip: if you're going to All-Con, park yourself at the panel and bear witness to history in the making!  (The rest of you can bear witness to history once it's actually made - the podcast will go up on the Storymen site when it's done.)  Don't think this is a one-time deal, either, for we have been diligently machinating, and there are plots afoot that you wot not of...!

--It's a song, you green-blooded... Vulcan. You sing it. The words aren't important. What's important is that you have a good time singing it.
--Oh, I am sorry, Doctor. Were we having a good time?
--God, I liked him better before he died.

1 comment:

  1. Ahahaha this is awesome. And you were sorely SORELY missed on the panel. We had a great time, but it just wasn't the same.

    Plus, as a still-unpublished author, it's you published folk that are the stuff of legends in my book!