So You’d Like Me to Speak at Your Event

October 22nd, 2013

As a person “invited” several times a year to events that then are confused as to what the word “Guest” entails, I wanted to explain a few things about inviting people to your event:

 

Before you invite someone to speak at your event, know something about what they do.

If you are inviting a funny, but controversial, comedian, you would attend a show first so you know what you are getting into.

If you invite me to speak, please do not assure me that the Yuri panel is all ages, until I get there and find that it has been listed as 18+ only. I do not do 18+ panels. They skeeve me. They are always the opposite of mature. Yuri is not about sex. It’s a genre with a literary history, about which I will gladly educate and engage in discussion.

I do not show videos. I guess some folks are no longer capable of enjoying a panel at an event if images are not beamed into their eyes. If you are asking me to host your zOMG sex! Yuri hentai hour, I respectfully decline. If you’re asking me for a suggestion of a decent Yuri anime to show at your event, just ask. You don’t need me there – the answer is Aoi Hana, contact rightstuf.com for permissions.

If you’ve attended a Yuri Panel or lecture by me, you have seen what I provide. I do not do something else.

 

When you “invite” someone to speak at your event, they become your responsibility.

If they are flying in they, need to know where they will be met and taken care of. If they are driving in they need to know where to park, where they will be met and taken care of.

Someone needs to be there at the airport, train station, car park, to help them through the minutiae of a strange city.

You are the host, they are the guest. Do not leave a guest to make their own arrangements for such things. Of course if you are local to me, I’m glad to handle my own arrangements, but as soon as an event outside my hour or so in the car ride radius, I’ll need you to step up.

You need to lay out what you will do to make their attendance at your event as friction-free as possible. Let them know what you are willing to do for them and what you cannot possibly do. In a sense, you are applying to them to get them as a guest.

 

Don’t assume your event is worth making an effort to get to. 

This is the #1 disconnect I encounter on a regular basis. Events ask me to speak all the time, but provide no transportation, accommodation or food options. (Or, possibly they offer me hot dogs and bagels in their staff room.) I am not a college student. I do not wish to spend my time and money attending your event, only to be given the option of sharing a room with staff, and eating warm yogurt in your green room. Thank you, but no. Unless your town is otherwise on my bucket list, I probably won’t come without at least a token effort on your part. Free admission to your event may not be a draw for me, if your event isn’t otherwise a must-go for me.

 

Before you “invite” someone to your event, make sure your Con Chair and the entire organizing committee is backing you.

I cannot tell you how often I am invited by Programming or the Guest Person, only to agree, clear my schedule then learn that, oh wait, the Con Chair already spent that money on some other guest. To be very honest. this has happened so many times that at this point I no longer say yes to small events unless they can confirm upfront that they are not wasting my time. “Informal” invites, are not invitations – you’re asking me to pay my own way to your event for your own entertainment.

 

Talk to your Organizing Committee, come up with a formal procedure for inviting guests.

To make your event process as smooth as possible, develop a Chain of Command on guest invites. For instance: Anyone can suggest  potential guest. Org Com. votes on it. If suggestion is approved, Guest Chair writes out proposal – Programming and Con Chair have to approve it, so they know what they will be on the hook for. Then you ask potential Guest.  Have your offers and answers ready – We’ll provide XYZ, you provide ABC.  No, we can’t fly you First class, but we can offer a plus one, etc, etc.

 

If it doesn’t work out, there are no hard feelings.

Please do not be annoyed if I reject your offer. I’m not annoyed at you, I promise. This is business. It just isn’t going to work for me to fly myself out to your event, pay for my own hotel room, so I can sell a few books and do a panel for you. Thanks anyway.

 

I know you’re doing your best to run your event. Consider this advice from someone who has been there before you and wants you to not have to reinvent the wheel. ^_^

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3 Responses

  1. I always wondered about 18+ panels. There are some that have some sense of maturity, though it depends on the topic. I think there were two 18+ panels at Otakon about Asperger’s and Deadman Wonderland.

    Would you think those are rare?

    • I wasn’t at them and can’t comment on them specifically. Generally speaking in the world of con panels 18+ means “we’ll be using bad language and talking about sex stuff” – the trappings of adulthood without the actual maturity.

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