What SiglerFest means to me

Baby McButter chases down Quentin BarnesOur 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 everI 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.

SiglerFest2K12 gun range.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.

Catrina Brown Sig TatMany 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.

Nelson's panorama shot at SiglerFest 2K12

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.

Pondy and empty beers: A still-life 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.

Kovacs tentacle-stache: SiglerFest2K12AN 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).

Comments

  1. Avatar of Beth_AilisBeth_Ailis

    OK, so anyone still on the fence about SF2K13 needs to re-read this post. Last year was so much fun – I want all my Junkie friends in Vegas this year. (Sorry you can’t make it, Gmork, but you will be required to attend SF2K14)

    All right – who’s coming to Vegas? TBG and I are flying out 2 weeks from tomorrow. Holy Cow! (or UnHoly Cow, if it’s Baby McButters)

  2. RobinInSeoul

    Someday I’ll be able to attend one of these! GrrArgh! GO KRAKENS! 크라켄가!

    For now, I’ll just sit here and sniffle quietly.

  3. icepick

    Thanks Scott, A and all the rest of the Junkies for making it such a good time.  I’m almost as choked up reading this as I was holding down the trigger on that M1919 and unleashing hell on brain chucking zombie!

    Kana-ruuuulles!

  4. Cat

    I had so much fun meeting you guys! My only regret is that for all these years I haven’t been chatting on here and it took this long to get to know some of you. I plan on fixing that! Thank you Scott, A, and the Junkies for a fun weekend!

  5. athanas

    Let me know when you book your ticket, woman, and I’ll finish up the 2nd beer drinking belt that’ll wind up on my shelf, right next to my Body Maim trophy.

  6. athanas

    What Kevin said 100 times.
    Balticon was fun, but the best times to be had last year were dinner at the Silver Mine, tossing back a few in assorted hotel rooms, and just generally hanging out and conversing with other junkies (and obviously friends of and with DOM).

    This year, in the den of sin, with nothing to do but entertain ourselves, I think it was hit out of the park.  I would also have no problem with Vegas being the go-to spot for all gatherings in the future, though I do have to say Denver’s pretty centrally located and will note that several junkies WERE from the Mile High City.  ;-)

  7. deltrimental

    Everyone has said everything I wanted to say, but I’m gonna go ahead and say it anyway. I’ve got to know a lot of interesting people in bars (possibly related to the amount of time I spend in bars), but none quite so life-changing as this bald, brassy, writer-dude I once met. 

    I’m so glad I walked in (at one of the very few times) when you weren’t surrounded by adoring fans. I’m so glad we got to chatting. I’m so glad I got to know and love your work. And I am eternally grateful that a chance meeting led me to this family of adorable freaks.
    I wish with all my heart that I could have celebrated Siglerfest with you guys and will do everything in my power to be there next year!
    PS. Start training that beer arm, Athanas. :p
  8. Shiatis

    Thanks to everyone for a great, long weekend just when I needed to get out of my head for a bit. Junkies have been, are, and always will be amazing.

    Scott and A, huge thanks for you for starting this community off, giving it a place to grow, and providing a nucleus of fucking awesome stories for it to grow around.

    Here’s to seeing you all at SF2K25!

  9. sotonrich

    I’ve been a faithful Junkie since the Ancestor podcast (I’m afraid to do the math of how many years ago that was) – I’ve never been an overly vocal member of the forums.

    Pesky things like real life get in the way of me spending more time here (right now my wife is pregnant with our first child!) but I have always valued this community. I even experienced this community for real when Scott came to Toronto on the Ancestor book tour – I still rate that as one of the best nights out I’ve had.

    You ladies and gentlemen are shucking brilliant & I’m so glad I decided to try this “podcast thing” out all those years ago.

    Thank you Scott, A & all you Junkies :)

  10. bcnyou2

    Thanks Scott and A. And thanks to you other junkies for making me part of your group.  SiglerFest 2012 was kickass good time.  I’m sure that SiglerFest 2013 will be even better. You guys rock. :-))

  11. bcnyou2

    That sounds like a plan. I too thought I was the only one in Las Vegas. I really enjoyed meeting you other junkies. How to see you again before SiglerFest 2013.

  12. Kevinesque

    Lots of emotion here in Scott’s post and in these comments, and all of it real.  What a great weekend, and what a great bunch of folks to share it with.  SF2K11 was fun, but I think that sharing it with Balticon maybe took a little something away from what it could have been.  But this one?  This was the real deal, and it was every bit what I’d hoped it would be… and Las Vegas seems like the perfect spot for it.  I say that with my “Eastern Timezone, asleep at midnight, missing some of the fun stuff” voice, and I’d gladly head there for the next one if it meant that I’d get to see and spend time with all of you fine people.  Scott, A, and everyone else, thanks so much for the memories… and here’s to many more.

  13. richno3

    Reading this brought a tear to my eye. I am kicking myself in the ass for not making SF2012. But it was not to be. Though I have already started the fund for next year. Cause I sure as Fuck not missing that. Scott, through your work and online site. I have meet many friends. Some I talk to more than friends I have just around the corner. So thanks again for all your hard work.

  14. BigJohn

    What a great time. But dangit, I must have gotten something in my eye…

    Thank you, A and Scott for allowing such a thing as this to exist. Scott, your accessibility is what endears you so easily to your fans. Great people are attracted to greatness, and from that stew of humanity comes some delicious Junkie soup. Or something like that.
    A, your coordination efforts surpassed expectation yet again. It was nice to see you relax and enjoy it as well. Hopefully you weren’t so busy running the thing that you didn’t enjoy it as well.
    Junkies, I love you all.
  15. Michelle_Evans

    I want to add my thanks to the FDO and A as well. I had a blast hanging with everyone and had the best time. Junkies ROCK!

  16. Belladonna420

    Ditto!

    Thank you, Scott & A, for one of the best weekends of my life and for helping me create a boatload of wonderful memories that I will cherish forever. One of the biggest highlights for me was finally being able to meet in person and spend time with people who I’ve considered some of my closest friends for years. The only things missing from SF2K12 were a few V.I.J.s (Very Important Junkies) and they should know that they WERE sorely missed and thought of all weekend long. Small consolation, I know, but there’s always SF2K13! :)
  17. Nelzone

    Scott, that was very well said, I rolled a tear or two reading it.

    Thanks again to you, A and all of the Junkies. The meet ups for readings and signings at the Tattered Cover, and bar afterwards, were fun, but SF2K12 was off the charts. Great fun and great people and automatic weapons and nuclear wessels and bowling and beer. I will commit right now to attending the next one, and the one after that, etc.

    Who’s house?
    Our house!

  18. athanas

    This is indeed one of those times where words can’t do the experience justice.  These gatherings have fast become one of the highlights of my year and something I will always look forward to.

    The only downside to the whole trip, (including the 1,500 round trip on the ground,) was the shrill, dried out, Boston Hell Harpy that sat behind Voodoo and I watching the Haks/Pats game.  The Wilson to Rice game winning TD, however, almost made the ear beating totally worth it.

  19. exotiKali

    I would like to thank you two, Scott & A, not only for providing me with the most kick-ass fiction I’ve ever read, but also for providing this site where I could chat with such awesome people. We talk about internet friends and real life friends as different entities -so what Siglerfest meant to me was the opportunity to make my scottsigler.com buds my friends outside the computer. I am now closer to some of these people more than with friends I’ve know for decades. They are that awesome. And I can’t imagine my life without them.

  20. Gmork

    This community is unlike any I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Diverse and accepting and really linked by the Siglerverse.

    Having a spouse that doesn’t quite share in my enthusiasm of all things Sigler (it’s ok – I still love him even though he doesn’t now what he’s missing), it’s almost essential to have a community where I can geek on storylines, share my thoughts and complain about having to wait for the next story. As a community we celebrate each others ups, we support each other when we are down and we rib each other mercilessly (in good fun).

    I can’t imagine what it feels like to be the impetus of such a great bunch of people coming together, but I can say if it’s anything like the warm fuzzies I get from fellow junkies, then it must be a little slice of awesome.

    Mega-thanks to Scott for being so accessible as to have afforded us junkies the opportunity to hang out with him for a whole weekend and Super-Mega-thanks to A for coordinating and making this fantastic event a reality for the second year in a row. Can’t wait till Siglerfest is as big as Dragon*Con. Or dare I say ComiCon :D

  21. Beth_Ailis

    Great post – I love getting to hang with you and A and my rowdy Junkie friends. SiglerFest is a truly unique event and it’s going to be difficult to top this one. I’ve made so many great friends through Siglerism. So thank you for that and thank you for taking the time and effort (thanks, A) to make this a great weekend. 

    Can’t wait to read Fire is Orange.
    Those of you who couldn’t make it this year need to start planning for SF2K13. 
    BTW, Athanas is King of BodyMaim for 2012. Well done, sir.
  22. Infected_Paradise

    SiglerFest2K12 gave me a chance to meet some other Junkies. I thought i was the only one in Vegas, now I know I’m not alone. So I want to tank you Scott and A for everything you do. See everyone at  SiglerFest2K13. 

  23. dozier1375

    It was sad to see it end, but we can’t have SiglerFest 2013 if SF2k12 was still going on. So is the Sexworkers museum going to be on next years agenda?

  24. ScottEPond

    I honestly don’t think that could have been said any better by anyone (even by that hack, Stephen King). There are good people in this world… and then there are Effing Great People (EGPs). One of the fantastic things about you, A, and all of the Junkies is that you are all 10x better than any EGP I know. Best people in the world, by far. I can’t think of many other people I’d rather call my friends and hang out with, either virtually or live.

  25. Shadygirl

    It is so very true. I have met some of the most wonderful people through your work. We have made trips to visit each other, even outside of Siglerfest. This is such an awesome event. It is a time to visit with you and A as well as many other fans. I don’t know of any other online community that has morphed into anything close to what we all have. I would not trade it for the world. Thank you Scott for taking the time to spend with the rest of us in Vegas and thank you so very much A for all the work you put into this. You are a force of nature.

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