Our second SiglerFest is in the books. SiglerFest2K12 embraced the wonder of all-out distraction that is Las Vegas. There was beer. Then automatic weapons. Then a cake shaped like Baby McButter from ANCESTOR. Then fiction. Then more beer. Then atomic bombs. Then someone getting my name tattooed on their arm. Then a random bucket of cold goo. Then beer-do-liers. All the things that make a Dark Øverlord the evil creature that he is. Oh, and then some bowling (I threw a 166 and hit my first Turkey ever -- I am coming for you, Chris Hardwick!).
To say SiglerFest2K12 was a fun time is like saying the Sun is a tad warm, or that PROMETHEUS had a couple of minor issues with realistic science. There was much discussion about science-fictiony things, much football watched, many tasty beverages consumed, many crabs butchered in the name of the King.
But it wasn't all silly fun and games and a general denial of maturity. No, there were some emotional aspects of this that caught me off-guard. SiglerFest2K11 was a part of Balticon, a kick-ass con held every year in the Baltimore area. People came to 2K11, sure, but many of them also stayed for Balticon. For SiglerFest2K12, however, there was no other event -- they came for the 'Fest and only for the 'Fest.
On the second day of 2K12 it hit me: these people travelled hundreds of miles and gave up vacation time just to hang out. Woah. That is both humbling and overwhelming.
I pride myself on working my ass off to enterain y'all. I pride myself on creating great work: you dig me because of the stories, not because I blog about politics, not because I have commentary on the writing process or profess to be an expert on the world of publishing, not because I wax poetic on "literary fiction" and why various stories are "important." Pretty much the only things on scottsigler.com are my stories or cool things about my fans. I boast and brag about many made-up things, but when it comes down to brass tacks I am a blue-collar guy that sings for his supper -- if you know me, it's because of my fiction and nothing else.
Many aspiring authors like to trot out a modest phrase that is a variation of: "I don't need to sell a million books -- if I could just see my books on a shelf, I'd be happy." Well, that's not me. My goal has always been to hit the big-time and entertain as many people as possible. I want best-sellers, comic adaptations, movies, games and someday a TV series. I want to get together with Joss so we can snort coke off a strippers's boobs (or pecs, Joss and I don't preculde strippers on the basis of sex or gender, that's just how we roll).
So, I have yet to attain many of my goals, and I know I have a long way to go to get them. I have not come close to meeting my personal benchmarks of "success." SiglerFest, however, gives me a level of success that I never even anticipated, never even dreamed was part of the deal.
Are there authors whom I envy? Hell yes. At the airport bookstore, I see a couple copies of some of my titles on the shelves while John Scalzi has all of his represented (Scalzi is a great benchmark for me: similar genre, made his bones on the internet by giving away free content, etc. -- trying to reach his level is an excellent motivator). I am never satisfied, mostly because there is always a new competitor to chase. There were people I chased, whom I "caught," then I got fussy because someone else was doing better than me. If I ever catch Scalzi or the other authors I admire, there's always someone bigger to chase: it's a game I can never win and don't want to win, because it's what keeps me hungry and keeps me working hard for all of you.
When it comes to a little thing called "community," however, I have my own world for which there is no comparison to anything else. Not just an online community, because there are bigger and badder, but a community where people will give up time and money to see each other face to face. A community that is ours and ours alone.
By "ours," I don't mean ARealGirl and I. I mean the Junkies. I didn't build this alone -- the Junkies built it with me. Over seven years of podcasts, blog posts, comments, Tweets, forum topics and emails went into making SiglerFest2K12 a success. The people who showed up weren't just there to hang out with ARealGirl and I, they were there to hang out with each other -- that is the part that blows me away. These people, these incredible fans, these Junkies found each other through my stories, through scottsigler.com, and have now been close friends years. They talk to each other on my site, on Twitter, Facebook, by text and email, on the phone and, you guessed it, in person.
So has my work entertained? Fuck yes it has. But for some people it has gone way beyond that and become a part of their personal lives. It has become a foundation upon which friendships were built, friendships that would have never occured were it not for the scribblings I scribble. I want 'dem sales, I won't lie, but being the basis of a community like this is something no best-seller chart or fancy-pants award could ever touch.
What's even more than that, these people have become part of my personal life. As an artist/entertainer, there is a perception that you need to keep your distance from fans, at least to some degree. I tried to do that, and I failed. Who came to SiglerFest2K12? My friends did.
Thank you all for taking the time to savor Vegas debauchery with A and I. It was a high-point of my career.
AN ODE TO AREALGIRL:
I have to express my thanks to A Kovacs for setting this whole thing up. I'd love to tell you that I was up to my dirty elbows in prepping SiglerFest2K12, but that would be a lie. Not that I lie. Ever. This time out, I was trying to meet a PANDEMIC deadline, which meant the organizational wunderkind that is ARealGirl had to create the whole event mostly by herself. She orchestrated a whirlwind of good times. So thank you, A, you are the most amazing business partner a short, bald writer with delusions of grandeur could ever ask for (and/or create in a laboratory while wearing a bra on his head).