Category Archives: Conventions

World Fantasy Convention

I went to the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore at the beginning of the month.  Overall, I’d have to say that I was underwhelmed.

This convention is only for fantasy literature.  There were no people in costume, games, or movie stars.  I don’t typically get into that stuff, so I thought this would work well for me, but there actually wasn’t much programming compared to other conventions I’ve attended.  This is one of those conventions where you’re supposed to mingle and meet industry insiders (Yeah, that’s where I excel).

I used the term fantasy literature intentionally because this convention reminded me of some of the writing conventions I’ve attended where people look down their noses at genre fiction writers.  Of course, this was a genre fiction writing convention, so I had a hard time figuring out what we were looking down our noses at until I realized we were looking down our noses at the history of our genre.

This really didn’t hit me until I sat in on “The Future of Fantasy” panel.  This panel consisted of all women who basically stated that you should only read fantasy stories from women, persons of color, and other “underrepresented” groups.  When a lady from the back of the audience spoke up and said she only cared if it is a quality story, she was quickly shut down. Apparently, the genre has been dominated by white men for too long.

I’m not disagreeing with the concept, but I’m a middle of the road kind of guy. Instead of swinging the pendulum all the way in the opposite direction, why not include everyone in the future of our genre?  Fantasy is pretty main-stream in our culture compared to a couple of decades ago.  I’m thinking there’s enough room for everyone who wants to write a quality story.

This did not seem to be the prevailing opinion.  I’m assuming I won’t be in the running for any World Fantasy Awards, but that’s okay.

On a happy note, I did get to meet a writer friend who I’ve worked with over the internet in the past.  Also, I sat in on the best reading ever—If you ever get a chance to hear Andy Duncan read one of his stories aloud, you will thoroughly enjoy it.  Also, the art show was pretty cool.

All-in-all, I’m glad I went for the experience, but I won’t spend the money on this one again anytime soon.

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Dragon Con was Sick

I finally figured out what the kids are talking about.  I got sick while at Dragon Con (that’s what it means–right?).  I guess it was inevitable with all those people that someone was infected.  I mean, we were packed in so tightly in some places that I’m sure the guy next to me knew when my cell phone vibrated or could tell me how much change I had in my pocket (Twenty-three cents according to the guy dressed as Hellboy).

Saturday was the crazy crowded day.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in such a large crowd before.  I would have taken a picture, but that would have meant trying to get my cell phone out of my pocket without losing my place in the mob.  I did enjoy all the costumes though.

Dragoncon Cosplay

Notice there are no crowds in this picture.  My wife took it on the way back to our hotel which was about four blocks from the convention.  Walking the four blocks every day was a pain, but getting away from the crowds made it worth the walk.

I didn’t get to do much of the programming.  We were there for two days, and it took one day just to go through the vendors and art show.  Here’s the entrance to one of the vendor floors on Friday.

Dragoncon

Silly me, I thought it was crowded on Friday.  The vendor area took up four floors.  We spent about five hours going through this area and then took a break back at the hotel and went back in the evening to check out the artist room.

I hit some of the programmings on Saturday, and we went to the Dragon Con Night at the Aquarium on Saturday night.  All in all, I had a great time, even though the crowds were a bit overwhelming.  I’ll be honest, I had the best time back at the hotel swimming pool on Friday afternoon recharging my batteries.  No crowds there.  Everyone was at the convention.

Pool

I doubt I’ll go back to Dragon Con again unless I can sell books.  For me, there wasn’t enough writing programming to make me want to spend the money to come back.  Besides, for an introvert like me, it was sensory overload.  It would be so much easier to stay in one place and sell books (Wow, never thought I’d say that).

A couple of days was enough time to see all the vendors, check out the costumes, and come home with a cold.   What more could you ask for?

 

 

 

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Dragon Con is Huge

I’m down in Atlanta for the weekend to attend Dragon Con.  I’ve been to several smaller Cons over the years, but not one of this size.  My wife came along, and we went over to the Sheraton to get our badges this afternoon.  The line wasn’t too bad, but I got a good idea of how large this convention is by wandering around downtown Atlanta.  The convention takes up five hotels and the convention center.

Normally, I go through the convention schedule and pick out the panels I want to check out, but there are so many.  It’s a bit overwhelming.  I decided to throw out the planning and just wander around.  So, tomorrow I’ll be checking out the exhibitor halls and probably hang out mostly in the Hyatt where most of the writer/literature stuff is happening.

On the writing front: I received my novel back from the editor and am working on the last (?) revision.  I still don’t have a final title for this one (working title was Half-hand), but as soon as I do, I’ll announce it and hopefully have a cover reveal coming soon after.  It feels good to be getting close, but that only means the marketing effort will be ramping up soon.  I’m looking at a December release date.

 

 

 

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How do You Convention?

I’m headed to Supercon in Raleigh this weekend.  To be honest, I have mixed feelings.  While I have been a science fiction and fantasy lover (geek, nerd, dork—take your pick) for my entire life, and have recently branched into anime, the idea of being surrounded by so many die-hard fans is a bit daunting.  I’ve attended quite a few conventions over the years, but they’ve mostly been smaller in scale and had more of a writer focus.  This will be my first time diving into such a fan and cosplay intensive environment.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy people-watching and am looking forward to checking out the costumes and meeting interesting people.  I just don’t totally understand the whole fan thing.

Celebrity Much?  I remember visiting Universal Studios Hollywood when I was a teenager.  We ate lunch in the cafeteria, and a celebrity walked in.  Everyone went gaga, and I just didn’t get it.  It’s a person eating lunch.  So what if they’re an actor.

Got Candy?  I’ve never been into costumes either.  As a kid, Halloween was the only time I dressed up, and that was for the free candy.  I can’t remember ever wearing a costume as an adult unless you count a sailor outfit when I was in the Navy (It did kind of feel like I was wearing a costume).

Basically, I’m boring, but I realize I need to figure out this fan thing.  Hopefully, I’ll have a few of my own at some point and I’ll need to fulfill their fanly (yeah, I know it’s not a word, but it just sounded cool) needs.

So I’m off to Supercon this weekend.  I’ll also be attending DragonCon in Atlanta in about a month, and the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore in November.  I figure immersion is the best therapy.

If you’re going to any of these, I’ll be easy to spot.  Just look for the geeky old dude in the weird t-shirt.  Okay, maybe I’ll fit in better than I thought.

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Get out of my Mind!

I’ve been mulling over ConCarolinas since I got back from Europe.  A year ago, after attending ConCarolinas, I planned to be the one sitting behind the table selling books this year.  Alas, it didn’t happen.

I put in an application a few months back to be a guest (I think it was before I released book 3 of my trilogy).  I’m not established enough to be invited, which didn’t surprise me.  So instead, I asked for a table to sell my books.  The reply was: they only give tables to invited guests.  Seems like a catch-22 to me.  Getting a table at conventions was part of my marketing plan to help get readers.  It seems I have to first have readers in order to get a table.  Which came first — the chicken or the egg.

This seems contrary to what I’ve observed at past conventions.  I’ve seen plenty of beginning authors selling their wares.  I guess it’s a policy shift or something.

So I was a bit depressed as the weekend approached and couldn’t decide if I was going to ConCarolinas or not.  I’ve been several times, and it’s typically the same guests who I’ve met before.  I like to go around and talk to the authors at their tables, but is it worth the 40 bucks?  Especially since I’ve already met most of them before?

I decided to stay home this weekend and hang out with the wife, watch anime, start sorting vacation pictures, and work on my latest draft (beer or book, you decide.)

I haven’t sworn off conventions.  I plan to attend ConGregate July 13th – 15th in High Point, NC.  I am also making plans to attend DragonCon in September.  Oh, and I will be selling books at the Riverside Mill Endless Yardsale in Weldon, NC on June 15th & 16th.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, time to finish adding that extra chapter to my WIP.  Oh, and here are a couple of cool pictures from my recent trip to Prague:

 

 

 

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But it’s Cozy in Here!

Marketing is for the birds!

At least that is what I want to say.  I should be able to stay in my warm cozy little writing cocoon and not worry about such things.  Well, to stick with the bird analogy, maybe I’ll stay right here in my protective shell instead.

egg-1600890__340

The temptation is strong.  I like to write much more than I like to spend time on Facebook or update my website.  I don’t think it’s just me either.  Writers tend to be a solitary bunch.  If you go to any writing convention, you will see plenty of twittering finches, maybe a strutting cockatoo (or two), and probably at least one pair of lovebirds huddled in the corner.  You’ll also see plenty of eggs.  If they’re at a writing event, they’ve at least started to peck away at their shell and are peeking out to see if it’s safe.

hatching-chicks-2448541__340

They’re hoping to see something like this:

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  But are worried they’ll be met with this instead:

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So right now, I’m working on the marketing plan for my series and peeking out at the online marketing world.  Wow, it’s a big scary World Wide Web out there.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Website creation, SEO, blurbs, blog tours, reviews, book this and book that.  Whew, my head is spinning, or maybe it’s the vultures circling overhead.

I’m tempted to repair that crack in the shell and maybe add a nice wine fridge in the corner.  Unfortunately, every egg has it’s shelf life.  So, it’s either get on with the hatching, or get tossed out with the garbage.

It looks a little chilly out there.  Wonder if I need a coat?

Feel free to share any words of wisdom on book marketing with me, and I’ll be updating my progress as I figure out my strategy.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Conventions, Marketing, Writing

ConCarolinas

I attended ConCarolinas yesterday with my daughter.  It has become somewhat of a tradition for us to attend cons.  We shoot for the smaller local cons because they are typically more intimate than some of the bigger ones.  We started years ago with MarsCon out of Williamsburg, VA; tried out RavenCon in Richmond, VA; StellarCon in Greensboro, NC; and now have zoned in on ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC.  Now that we live in Charlotte, ConCarolinas is definitely the most convenient to attend.

My daughter likes to cosplay at times and likes to talk to people at the convention, where I am the proverbial stick in the mud.  Yes, I’m the author.  Yes, I’m supposed to mingle, and meet other authors, and promote my books.  Yes, I suck at it.

I always make the rounds and talk to the authors hawking their wares.  I typically buy a handful of books from said authors, not the bookstores in the dealer room.  I hope they will do the same for me, in the future—next year.

I will be releasing the third book in my trilogy this winter (in time for Christmas), and next year will be the big marketing push to promote the series.  I plan to attend as many conventions as possible in 2018.  I’ll be the one sitting behind the table watching people walk by and hoping they’ll stop and talk.  I won’t lie—I’m a bit apprehensive about it, but excited at the same time.

Stop by and say hi.  It won’t matter if you buy a book, I’ll be happy to see you.

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