Welcome to the limited series return of BETWEEN THE PAGES, running Mondays and Wednesdays now through mid-December 2020! Dubbed BETWEEN THE PAGES: FINDING MY VOICE, follow Shannon’s journey as she learned and grew to become more of a public speaker, and how she’s still learning today! Today is Installment 20,  “Long Beach Comic Expo Times Two”.

I started hearing through friends about comic conventions in the Long Beach area. The organization had their flagship convention, Long Beach Comic Con, in the Fall. However, its smaller scale equivalent, Long Beach Comic Expo, began to gain momentum. This event occurred every President’s Day weekend versus the Labor Day weekend scheduling of the Long Beach Comic Con. So I reached out and inquired about programming there, since they took panel pitches.

The first year, my husband and I did a panel focused on“Adventures in New Pulp Fiction” with Kevin Paul Shaw Broden. Due to the crossover between early comics and Pulp themes, we thought perhaps we might draw a small crowd, and we did, but they were a highly engaged crowd.

My return in 2017 turned out to be far less successful. They booked me on Sunday opposite a huge event that took most of the audience, and instead of being in an intimate room, I found myself in a very large room with a very small audience. It was also the first and only time I used a laptop to project a Powerpoint. Personally, I still think this ranks as the worst appearance I’ve ever done, with Pacific Media Expo coming in second (but that was more because I felt I was shoehorned in thematically, as I explained). I’ve never left feeling I let people down by the end.

This moment made me began to realize I needed to sharpen my toolkit in terms of appearing in front of people. Other than commitments already made to LOSCON, I didn’t really plan to seek opportunities until I could figure out how to improve things for myself. However, I still felt I could handle intimate venues.

Even that viewpoint would be challenged after being invited by someone I met at LOSCON to speak to their group, and I’ll talk about that in the next installment.