The Post Nebula Conference Write-Up

*dusts off the blog* *sneezes a bit*

Is this thing on?

Well, I guess instead of living the experience that was the SFWA Nebula Conference in my head or shouting it into the void, I wanted to write a quick post about all the awesomeness that went on.

Full disclosure before we start, I am the current Director of Operations for SFWA so you could assume that I have a slightly different take on the event. I get to see this thing, nay, entity through from the inception, meeting with the talented team consisting of Steven H Silver and Terra LeMay and all the kickass volunteers who come together and make something amazing for everyone to enjoy. I would be lost without these two and I’m so incredibly lucky to work with two brilliant and dedicated friends.

Special shoutouts go to:

Mary Robinette Kowal — she took the lead on programming this year, and it was dynamite. The conference contained topics relevant, helpful, and useful to all industry professionals. Vendors joined us this year as well, letting attendees get up close and personal with representatives from companies like Amazon, ACX, Kobo, Patreon, Kickstarter, D2D, and more. We’re only looking to expand those offerings next year, so come to Pittsburgh prepared with your queries and ideas!

Amanda Bridges and Cary Williams did a fantastic job with food and beverage counts and orders, liaising with the Palmer House Hilton to make sure rooms were set up correctly and things on the production side ran smoothly.

Michael Damien Thomas deserves sincerest thanks for being in charge of both making sure the conference was accessible for all of our guests and handled the arrangements for the well-attended mass autographing session.

Dave Ifversen ran our tech and made sure the AV vendors were able to put on a great show for the awards night. I can’t express how chuffed I am that nothing went amiss this year!

Beth Dawkins arranged for Boba Fett* and our Klingon guests, along with making sure each presenter was informed and knew when to approach the stage. Special thanks to the 501st Legion’s own Chris, and to Jen Usellis.

Sondra de Jong scoured the mess of all those banquet seats and placed people where they desired. She ordered the meals with special attention to allergies, and made sure each guest was accommodated.

Did you enjoy having a place to grab a quick bite or mingle in the evening? That was all Kelley Higgins and her team of volunteers in the SFWA suite.

Terrence Miltner once again gave us beautiful programs for both the conference and the awards. We’re going to miss him dearly next year!

Randy and Sandy Kaempen took care of on-site registration, making sure you were given your appropriate documents/tickets/ribbons/pins.

I can’t forget these fantastic volunteers either — Lexi Baisden, C.T. Booth, T. Daniel Frost, Tazmania Hayward, Sara Lynn King, Riss Martin, Kali Rose, Dawn Bonanno, Jim Hosek, David Hirsch, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Pat Sayre McCoy, Melanie, Elaine, and Robin Silver, Caetlin Williams, Shannon Williams, John Moore, Tina Jens, and Colin Coyle. If I missed anyone, it was certainly not intentional and I apologize.

SFWA Volunteers are awesome and really, the lifeblood of this organization. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The ceremony itself was well attended and smoothly run, with John Hodgman being endearing, funny, and pretty brilliant. I’m terribly happy he joined us and would love to have him back again and again.

Henry Lien gave us “Radio SFWA”, which is an ear worm that finds you in the most unexpected places. Tis an anthem most appropriate.

Kelly Robson and Martin Shoemaker both made me cry with their alternate universe acceptance speeches, while Eugene Fischer passionately fought for our future in his.

I was also able to take part in Richard Man’s Worldbuilder’s photography session, which in itself was pretty awesome. If you get an opportunity to either participate in or view his work, it’s stunning.

As always, I owe drinks to a lot of people. This conference keeps me insanely busy, so to Chuck Gannon, Sheila Williams, and Petra Mayer, please don’t kill me. I’m sure our paths will again cross in short order.

To friends who stole me away throughout the conference to make sure I did normal human things like eat and rest, (Steven H Silver, Terra LeMay, Alethea Kontis, and Neil Clarke) you are all so wonderful and I’m so lucky to have you all in my life.

As I mentioned, the weekend went extraordinarily well. So well in fact, that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Universe, if you are listening, this is not an invitation.

Lastly, a huge thank you to the SFWA Board. Cat, Maggie, Bud, Susan, Matthew, Sarah, Lee, Tansy, and Jennifer — your dedication to this organization is awe-inspiring and I’m so happy to be a part of this well-oiled machine.

Oh and this happened:

Yep. I think I’m done now. Oh wait, I owe you an asterisk note.

*As Boba Fett* came up the stairs, I very happily said, “Boba!” He said. “Not Boba.” Thinking I got my costume colors wrong, I worriedly said, “Jango?” He said, “Not Jango.” Confused, I waited for the reveal. He mentioned that he was in fact cosplaying as a comic book character who cosplayed as Boba Fett. That’s some inception stuff right there, folks. 🙂

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