The IQARUS Book Con

We did a thing.

A while back a group of authors decided to put on an online book conference. I raised my hand to help. As this group were in various locations around the world, I couldn’t attend the regular weekly Google Meets sessions as they were held in the early hours of Monday morning.

I would read the minutes to catch up.

Slowly but surely, the team moved the meetings later, and even though I’d still have to get up before 6am, I knew I should make the effort.

For the first time I saw the living faces (just with a screen in between) of people I knew from my own publishing house and through social media. Some had even written guest blogs for me.

One of our meetings. I’m in the top left with the sun rising. Ava Kelly (top centre) in Romania, M.D. Neu (top right) in the US, J.P. Jackson (bottom left) in Canada, Glenn Quigley (bottom centre) in Northern Ireland and Gillian St. Kevern (bottom right) in New Zealand. Yes, we all smiled for this photo.

Things were moving forward.

A schedule of panel discussions and author reading sessions was put in place by Gillian in New Zealand. The website was created by Ava in Romania. Our mascot was invented by Glenn in Northern Ireland. I was nominated to do social media. The delivery method was being chosen.

And this is where I’m going to have a gripe. We found Zoom offers no support. It gives the illusion it does but we could not ring them because we weren’t on a plan that gave us phone support. And any attempt to email through official channels was met with either a standard pre-written response or no reply at all.

One of our many social media posts. Glenn’s artwork featuring the mascot he created, Alix Q. Starr

When everything was in place, nerves still set in.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who organises a conference at an actual venue. The logistics of our online one was stressful enough. We were ready to go yet it still didn’t stop the restless nights.

On one particular day, fellow Canadian organiser J.P. Jackson responded to a private chat message from Gillian at five in the afternoon Sydney time. Our US organiser, M.D. Neu, emailed me at around the same time. No one in North America should be awake when it’s late afternoon in Australia.

Even Ava stayed up past 3am in Romania to help me test one of the delivery options we were considering.

Another social media post counting down to the event.

The conference began at 2am Australian Eastern Standard Time.

I saw my doctor for prescription sleeping tablets so on the night before, I could sleep until my first session as a guest went live at 7am. I woke at 1.24am. At 2am I turned on my laptop and sighed relief when I saw the ‘Welcome to IQARUS’ session streaming live on YouTube.

I took another sleeping tablet and went back to bed. An hour later I warmed some milk. Half an hour after that I got up again to check our YouTube channel. I was relieved to see the conference continue without issues.

I fell asleep about an hour before my alarm went off.

I was nervous as I did my first author reading.

In that session, Petrina Binney read from Desperately Seeking Spinach, a book I’ve added to my ‘to be read’ pile. I hosted two reading sessions including the Aus/NZ-centric Romance themed hour. From that session, KJ’s Art of Magic is also being added to my TBR pile.

During that same hour, Rebecca Langham read while her daughter hugged her. When Rebecca dropped the f-bomb as part of her reading, she instantly turned to her child and made it clear she was to never use that word.

I was getting more sleepy but I was running on adrenalin.

After it was over, I napped in the afternoon. Then I celebrated with my husband and a friend over cocktails into the evening.

I’m slowly catching up on the sessions my fellow organisers hosted. And now that it was a success, we’re all revealed. As the day of the con came closer we were all silently aware our reputations were at stake.

How nice it is that we can not only celebrate what we did, we have something to show for it. 

If you’d like to check out our YouTube channel with all the sessions – CLICK HERE

If you’d like to check out the website – CLICK HERE

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