Can-Con: Friday

Can-Con got underway this evening. People were lined up at the registration desk before the staffers were ready to go, but once things started moving, it seemed to go pretty quickly. I was near the front of the line, and was the first person to sign up for two opportunities to pitch my novel. There are actually four publishers taking pitches at this con, but one (Renaissance) only publishes work by Ottawa area authors, and another (Chi-Zine) favours the dark side of SF, leaning toward horror. I’m way too cute and bubbly for them. But I’m getting ahead of myself – the pitches aren’t until tomorrow afternoon.

Scheduled events began at 7:00, and my pick for that time-slot was a debate on whether writers should focus on short fiction instead of novels. I was personally interested because my short story efforts seem to be gaining more traction than my novel. However, that panel was actually cancelled, so I went to some readings instead, and heard some fascinating excerpts.

8:00 was a no-brainer for me. ‘Rejectomancy’ was presented by Gabrielle Harbowy, the Editor Guest of Honour, who is here on behalf of Dragon Moon Press and who also has ties to Apex Publications. This was a fun power-point presentation on the standard rejection letters, and what they do and do not mean. The most basic rejection letter may include kind phrases like, “not quite what we’re looking for,” but you shouldn’t get too excited. That letter may go out to authors who missed the mark by a small margin, but it also goes out to writers of the worst drivel. Even an invitation to submit again may be a meaningless pleasantry.  Apex has a policy of informing writers when their story has passed the first round of screening to be forwarded to the managing editor. That form letter actually means something, and I received one recently. It could still go either way, of course, but it’s nice to know that people who read slush for a living think your story is one of the better ones.

9:00 was the start of the evening’s gathering, and tonight’s get-together was hosted by Bundoran Press. Remember, I’m from out of town, and have only personally met one or two of the convention attendees before. Of course, I also know some people who would know some people. You’d be hard pressed to achieve seven degrees of separation between any two SF people in Canada. For instance, I did get a chance to say hi to Sandra and Matt from Chi-Zine; their Winnipeg based colleague Samantha edited for me on a freelance basis. But actually, I had so much fun talking to several complete strangers, about everything from blogging to movies vs. books, that I stayed longer than I planned. Thanks for making me feel welcome, Ottawa!

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