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I know I've been pretty mum over the past few months on this website...normally I'm pretty consistent with writing and posting but this semester, which wrapped December 15th for me with the submission of final grades, kicked my butt. I lost contact with pretty much everyone and everything and completely lost the time to properly write about ANYTHING that wasn't directly related to teaching and classes.
While I did manage to work in a good-news post about Flipboard's holiday campaign, I hadn't really written anything substantial in ages. I'm happy that I can now take the time to announce that I AM OFFICIALLY AN OHAYOCON PANELIST!
Fanfic into Fiction will be making its Ohayocon debut January 2016. You can see my panel and all of the other approved panels on the list here and of course I'll let you know when my panel will be a part of the official schedule, with the room number, date, and time.
This is pretty bittersweet for me. I first attended Ohayocon in 2012 and from then on, I wanted to present writing panels at the con because it's one of the largest in Ohio and it makes top anime convention lists pretty frequently. In terms of where I wanted to present, Ohayocon was kind of like the holy grail, because it has such a wide reach and a large number of attendees--the biggest con of all the ones I've ever attended.
However, up until this point, being a panelist just wasn't meant to be.
In 2012 I attended Ohayocon for the first time (and it was my first convention ever!) so I didn't submit, but wanted to get a feel for conventions. I wrote about my experience here.
In 2013 I submitted panels but there was a combination of stuff--first, when I advertised my submissions on the forums, another writer contacted me and was essentially like, "I do these panels at Ohayocon too and by the way I'm a PUBLISHED WRITER" (with hyperlink to small anthologies, if I recall). I felt like that person was a little threatened (read: unintentionally threatening?) so I sort of backed down--I did mention something like, "I hope both our panels get picked," but realistically, despite presenting panels at Colossalcon, I was still in graduate school at the time, so I didn't have my MFA yet, and I wasn't published, either. So...yeah, I was a pretty unqualified panelist. It made sense Ohayocon went with the more experienced person (who had also presented the same kind of panels at previous Ohayocons, too), and that writer did present a couple successful panels in 2013 with good feedback and participation.
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Not long after I submitted panels to Ohayocon 2013, I got kinda sick, and didn't think I was going to make it to the con at all, so I withdrew my panels and announced on the forums I was withdrawing due to illness, and directed attendees to the other writer's panels in my stead. It turns out my withdrawal email didn't make it to the programming crew in time, so they actually rejected my panels anyway, which made things easier. At the last minute, I decided to go to Ohayocon 2013 anyway, since I'd already spent the money on the hotel and pre-registration. I wrote about my experience here.
In 2014 I went to Ohayocon under the radar. It was an extremely last-minute decision to attend and I didn't really advertise that I was going until the last moment. I just wrapped working at Office Max and was just hired to teach at North Central State College--the convention happened I think the week before or the week of school starting. I really didn't have the money to go, but I went anyway, and I forgot to post about it, so I'll have to write a "Let's Look Back" post--I remember I tried to cosplay as Yuuko from XXXholic using my kimono and some fun red contacts, and took some nifty pictures with some VAs and guests. I also remember that I was trying to decide whether or not I should keep attending Ohayocon in the future because of the financial investment....
...which is why 2015 was the first year I did not attend Ohayocon. I was so broke--I had been teaching for a year and at the last minute the school cancelled three of my four classes due to low enrollment, so the sudden low income (it was like $150/wk) killed any possibility for me to go. When I found out David Matranga and Josh Grelle were guests at the 2015 convention, I pretty much fell on my sword. I love both VAs and was so bummed to miss 2015. (Best news though--Matranga is back for 2016!)
After the success of Fanfic into Fiction at Matsuricon 2015, I thought, what the heck, I'll try for Ohayocon 2016. I had also noticed a couple of other things--my presence at conventions was starting to pay off. For the first time ever, I had students in my classes at NCSC recognize me from conventions, and a couple of them asked me if I would be presenting at Ohayocon (I wanted to try!)...and I was becoming more at ease with talking to other writers about writing and providing helpful tips at conventions. I felt like I was finally finding my rhythm with presenting, and with more experience on my belt, I figured it was worth a shot.
I submitted Fanfic into Fiction in September and held my breath...and boo-yah! It's part of the 2016 lineup and I'm super-happy about it. I really think I had a chance this time because of my teaching credentials, my (very limited) publication credits, my social media reach, and the fact that the panel has mileage at more than one convention.
- no MFA or creative writing degree
- no teaching credentials
- no publication credits
- no convention experience
- MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University (June 2013)
- experience teaching writing at college (two-year anniversary coming up January 2016!)
- some publication credits
- panel presenter at four conventions
- decent web presence
I guess if I were to give any advice to would-be panelists, it would be to keep persevering with your submissions, to rack up as much experience in your field as possible, and to try to come off as professional as possible in your submissions. It's been a four-year dream, but it's finally come true: I am a part of Ohayocon 2016!