Ask For Things, Part II

A couple years back, when Gen Con announced the call for industry insider guests of honor submissions, a number of people stated apprehension about putting their hats in the ring. As a result, I wrote about how you should ask for things. Gen Con just put out their call for 2014 industry insider guests of honor, and people are saying the same old stuff again.

I’m going to restate a couple points from my last post on the subject, because people keep stating misunderstandings that get picked up, namely feeling indignant that they should have to ask for such a thing, and that having to submit means it’s not a “position of honor” or whatever.

Whoever is telling you that doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t let someone telling you that stop you from being awesome and asking for something.

In Gen Con’s case, there are hundreds of pros who could be viable candidates, if not more. This generates inherent blinders to the entire field of potentials. To assume that you’ll come to mind and be solicited is assuming a lot about the potential pool, the advisory committee, and so on. That’s the first flaw in the “Gen Con should ask you” plan.

Next up is that submitting to be a guest of honor is a “Hey, I’m going to be at Gen Con and am interested in this thing” flag — which means that those making decisions know that you’re available, rather than assume and offer you one of the few GoH slots. This is important because if they had to wait for answers to the “are you going to be there and interested?” question, that extends their timetable. Fun fact about conventions: anything that extends a timetable introduces all sorts of room for problems and error.

Then there’s the fact that this is the first stage of the vetting process. If you’re not able to submit yourself, why should someone trust you to get up on a dais and speak to a crowd with any sense of authority or expertise? If you don’t buy that you’re worthy enough to ask for this, that doesn’t give any confidence in being a panelist.

Finally, by submitting, you’re giving them the info they need in order to get the ball rolling on it. This is more relevant when it comes to award shows like the ENnies, where you have to submit your products and music choice, but still relevant here.

For those who are being told “someone else should have to nominate you,” don’t listen to those people either, for two reasons: one, that often just reinforces ivory tower situations, where old industry friends nominate each other. (Remember high school popularity contests? Exactly.) Two, if someone says to you “hey, you should maybe do this thing,” they’re effectively nominating you, and in a way that doesn’t add massive hassle to the convention and the advisory committee for the reasons listed above.

If I seem exasperated, it’s because every year people complain about the same thing, and every year all those complaints shut out someone who is actually worthwhile, but buys into the unrealistic crap being spewed about how things “should be.” Serious, you aren’t a bad person if you ask for things, and such organizations aren’t crappy for needing you to submit in order to make the process manageable.

– Ryan