Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

A Plea from a Programming Head

28 April 2014

For conventions that move around, you get to interact with people who you don’t know and see if they’ll fit into the program. It’s always an interesting process.
I keep seeing emails that reduce to the following:

Hi, I’m A and I’m a writer [most are, anyway]. I’d like to be a panelist at Westercon. I’ve previously spoken at X, Y, and Z [conventions whose programs I haven’t studied in depth and frankly don’t have time to].

Look, I don’t have time to pore over everyone’s site, nor do I want to make a snap decision because I’m frustrated trying to get a sense of who you are.
My job is to put people up on stage so they can have interesting conversations with one another. Or provide useful information. I have only limited information about them available, and I need to make the call based on that.

  1. Writer of what?
  2. What topics are you interested in speaking about? What topics have you spoken about?
  3. Please tell me there’s something you care about other than writing or publishing. What combination of things makes you unique in the world? I collect countries and grunge textures, not necessarily at the same time. You?
  4. There are reasons I keep a list of panels I’ve spoken on. Why? It’s not to be impressive or anything. It’s that I’ve been that head of programming trying to schedule people at 2 am, muttering to myself, “for the love of God, please think of a title for this panel.” Or, “I have these great people available at this time. What can I put them together for?”

Also, if you’re going to Westercon in Salt Lake City this year (July 3-6) and you’d like to be on programming, programming @ is the address. Danke.
I’d really like to see:

  1. More diversity. Please.
  2. More science types.
  3. More costumers.
  4. More people from the Westercon region. We have lots of local resources, and most of the people asking have been local.

Don’t. Make. Me. Beg.
I’m no damn good at it.

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