Thursday, July 18, 2013

John Scalzi's Convention Harassment Policy

I'm not a big author if that wasn't clear. I'm an Amazon bestseller of nonfiction math ebooks (and that series I admittedly love fondly and feel are quite important in a way my fiction books might never be); my speculative fiction books (which are my darling) are next to unknown (in the sense that they are more unknown than unknown is, not sorta' unknown which is also next to unknown).

Conventions to me are not necessarily a sign of being successful, so much as they are a sign of having the time and money to travel and go to them. I strongly look forward to SOMEDAY visiting MANY conventions and hopefully being able to forge connections and expand my skill sets by my attendance to them.

So I hesitated before co-signing John Scalzi's laudable Convention Harassment Policy.

Not because I questioned its merits, and not because I'm one of the least harassed and disparaged groups out there (a relatively young, straight, white male), but because of the irrational fear that by co-signing such a policy I would be shutting a door on opportunity.

After all, being a "bestseller" doesn't mean that I have the time or money to travel and go to conventions, because to be a "bestseller" you just have to sell better than 90% of everyone else in your genre, and math books aren't exactly Harry Potter. It really just means that I sometimes get people discovering my work and me just because I'm on those lists, for which I am grateful.

So to shut a door on opportunity, to willfully deny myself the possibility of extending my network and possibly making a connection or improving a skill to the point that I can progress from being a "bestselling author" to a full-time author, is something that formed a dreadful pit in the bottom of my stomach.

In short: I was initially leery of co-signing because I’m a beginning author and don’t believe in burning bridges that aren’t even fully constructed yet, and then my brain came out of the coma it was in and I remembered the sort of places and people that wouldn’t have a harassment policy are not the sort of places and people I want bridges to.

Also, in spite of being arrogant and full of myself, I'm actually not a complete ass. So although co-signing this wasn't a "no-brainer"—because my brain actually had to be on apparently—I have co-signed it and intend to keep to it for the remainder of my days, not just to conventions I am invited to, but to any convention I'll ever consider going to.

And because I'm arrogant and full of myself: yes, I will eventually be invited as a guest-of-honor to conventions. Just you wait.

P.S. Maybe you're not a content creator, but if you're a fan or a member of Geek Culture and especially if you're someone that attends conventions or wants to attend conventions, then you may want to co-sign also. Also, I'm not sure if it was developed as a reaction to this Incident of Harassment or if it had just been brewing for a while because Mr. Scalzi actually seems like a pretty stand-up guy and Geek Culture is actually pretty crappy. Don't believe me? Here's a run-down of 2012 from Daily Dot.