Seems to me some changes are in order if GRL is to run smoothly in the future and avoid being known as GRRRR.
Any thinking person can easily understand the need for cost management and registration caps. So, how to address these issues? Here are the most logical options.
- Book the con at larger, more accommodating venues. Considering that's easier said than done, let's move on.
- (This is something I suggested elsewhere.) Make it clear well in advance of registration that a limited number of spaces are available for readers as well as authors. Then proceed to accept registrants on a first-come, first-served basis. This is the most equitable approach, because it levels the playing field for everybody. However, organizers have made it clear they're resistant to taking this route because it could glut the con with relatively unknown authors -- and those aren't the ones readers want to meet.
- (More and more, I'm convinced this might be best solution.) Refashion GRL. Rather than putzing around trying to define author "tiers" and figure out how to divvy up spaces among them (which, let's face it, only generates resentment), make GRL an invitation-only event for authors and an open-registration event for readers. This means, of course, the vast majority of writers in the genre will be left out. But really, so what? We small fry all realize we can't compete with the big fish in this pond. And we all know there are other gay-lit meets we're welcome to attend. Organizers have stated over and over again that readers go to GRL in the hope of meeting the genre's superstars. They become flustered and disappointed (so say the organizers, and they should know) if ID tags they want to see are lost in an ocean of names they don't recognize.
I find this the most manageable and profitable way to go. And the most honest. What do you think?