Ad Astra 2014, Part One

Ad Astra . . . where to begin?

I set off after a three-day storm, heading west to where I hoped it might, possibly, be spring, and arrived in a grey, muddy, early-spring Toronto with cardinals singing all over the backyards in the tree-filled neighbourhood where I was staying. (Not, technically, part of Toronto, but part of the great sprawl that has devoured all the countryside and towns around-about.) The first night was a chance for three old undergrad friends to meet up and discover we could still talk for hours, and the day after that, a chance to do some writing, keeping house with the cats while my friend was at work, but on Friday we two con-goers set off in high spirits and, on my part, some nervousness. Though I do quite a number of readings every year and not a few workshops, I have been on only one con panel before, and it was a very long time ago at a very small con. At Ad Astra I was on four, and the programming people confessed that they had forgotten to appoint moderators, though they were sure we’d all sort it out . . . .

Panel the First: “Self-Promotion on the Social Media Soapbox”
I was on this one with Beverly Bambury, a publicist, indie author Ellie Di Julio, and Linda Poitevin, author of The Grigori Legacy, among other things.

The Social Media Panel

The Social Media Panel

Self-promotion is not a field in which I excel, so part of what I was there to contribute was the perspective of someone who really isn’t into that sort of thing with any passion — but who really likes Twitter for the way it lets me keep in touch with people with whom I enjoy talking, and with what’s going on in my field(s). From some points of view I’m very much living in a backwater, so I can definitely testify to the usefulness of some forms of social media in keeping in touch with the wider world. Others were better able to talk about ways to use Facebook and Tumblr. Then there was quite a lot of discussion of Google+ and some devoted advocacy for it, which I found interesting, as just that morning some of the people I hang out with on Twitter had been discussing whether or not Google+ had died yet. Did we conclude anything useful to the audience? Mostly that the utility of various social media platforms for connecting with one’s readers was going to vary from author to author, depending on both one’s temperament and where one’s particular pool of readers tended to hang out. (So, I’m a Twitter person, and you can find me here.)

to be continued …

About K.V. Johansen

The author of Blackdog, The Leopard, The Lady, Gods of Nabban, and The Last Road epic fantasies from Pyr, I also write for teens and children, including the "Torrie", "Warlocks of Talverdin", and "Cassandra Virus" series, and the "Pippin and Mabel" picture books, as well as a couple of short story collections and two works of adult literary criticism on the history of children's fantasy literature. I have a Master's degree in Mediaeval Studies, and read a lot of fantasy, science fiction, and history. Blog at
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