Posts Tagged ‘conventions’

Post-Con and Nano Musings

I have survived the con again! Yay, go me. It was actually pretty relaxing, all told, except for panel nerves, a lot of which probably stemmed from the fact that I was the youngest person on all my panels, usually by a matter of decades.

(The moderator on my last panel had sold her first book the year before I was born.)

That’s kind of MileHiCon in a nutshell, though. It gets a lot of major speculative authors, but a lot of them, especially the science fiction ones, have been in the business for a long time. The average age of that subset is probably 70. And you get a lot of attendees who match that subset, because they’ve been reading those authors forever.

And then you have a lot of younger attendees, people in their teens and early to mid-20s, who grew up with the con because their parents dragged them along, and they have their own events and stuff, including a Harry Potter academy and so forth.

But I had a good time, and I wrote quite a lot on my anthology story (which is running slightly longer than I anticipated) and I drew some pictures and plotted out some children’s book series. Landsquid needs another friend, but I can’t think of anything. Turtleduck’s kind of hard to draw (I’ve never had success in the leg department–maybe if I quit trying to do duck legs and give her turtle legs? I can draw turtle legs) and I would really need three characters for a picture book. I came up with a stealth rhino this morning (essentially a rhino with tiger stripes) but my husband says it’s not weird enough.

Shall continue to ponder that.

The very last panel of the con was called “Nanowrimo Support Group” and I ended up going to that, not because I plan to do Nano, but because I have done it for many years (this would be my 16th if I’d done it consecutively) and thought I could offer support. It was mostly us just hanging out, offering tips and talking about potential write-ins (everyone except one person had done it before), but it was still nice, and it got me thinking about Nano.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Nano. I don’t quite love the monstrosity it’s turned into over the years, but in those early years, when it was only a couple thousand of us, I got a lot–friends, stories, skills–out of it. I still love the idea, and I think it’s a great way to get going if you want to start writing.

(As a bit of background, I learned about Nano in 2002, joined in 2003, and did it every year between 2003 and 2012. I won all but twice, my first and last years–my first one I suffered a concussion and a death flu, and the last one I had a four-month-old, my first, and only did it because it was my 10th anniversary. I also did it and won in 2014, but have not done it since.)

And I would be lying if, while I was sitting there in that room, with those other Nanoers, I told you that I wasn’t tempted. But it almost feels like I’ve outgrown Nano, or it’s outgrown me. It’s harder to do Nano if you have a serious project with a serious deadline, or if you’re editing, or if you’re co-writing, or a number of other situations.

Still tempting, though. And maybe I’ll be in a position again sometime where it will make sense to do it again.

How was your weekend, Squiders? Thoughts about Nano?

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It’s Go Time!

I just want to let you all know that you are absolutely no help at all. 😛

(I’m not quite done with my anthology story, so that answers the question about what I’ll do for at least part of the time. And maybe I’ll bring a sketchbook.)

MileHiCon starts at noon today! It feels like it’s come up very fast. It is a week earlier than normal this year (wonder why?), which might be part of it. But it feels like it sprang out of nowhere, all the same. Like…it’s been on my radar, but I still had less time to prepare than normal, if you know what I mean. Or maybe I’m crazy.

I’m doing a panel today on self-publishing and doing digital books versus physical books. I’ve been given a couple of moderator questions (Are physical books going away? When?) but the most part I’m not sure what exactly we’re covering. Ah, well, I have almost a decade of experience at this point, so I shall probably be fine.

(Sunday’s panel is about editing–Machete vs. Scalpel, they’ve called it–and there’s no provided questions for that one, but, again, lots of experience so I should probably be able to muddle through without looking like an idiot.)

Got to get some things done this morning before I head out, so I’d better run.

Quick list of things to bring:

  • business cards (more editing than writing)
  • books
  • card reader
  • notebook
  • laptop
  • permits
  • water bottle
  • snack

I’ll see you guys next week, hopefully still in one piece. And if you’re local and come by MileHiCon, stop by and say hi! I’m normally some place in the atrium when not doing panels.

MileHiCon and Nanowrimo

I have survived the con! \o/ Barely. But I had a good time and made some new friends (yay!) and am now on a search for a refillable notebook cover. (Craig Griswold who was in the art show, on the off chance you read this, you have no online presence and I would like to buy things from you.)

(If you know of nice refillable notebook covers–i.e., a cover you can move from notebook to notebook that attaches to said notebook’s cover, kind of like a dust jacket for a notebook–in a larger size, such as composition book or steno book size, let me know. It seems like the perfect solution to my need to buy fancy notebooks but then my reticence to use said notebooks because they’re too fancy.)

I think the panels and limited signing/selling books time is a much better combination for me. I might have sold more books if I manned a table all weekend, but hey, maybe I wouldn’t have. I sold a decent amount for the time I did man a table, and any difference in sales is not worth being trapped at a table all convention. I got to see the costume contest for the first time ever.

The panels were mostly fun. The Trek one was the best, both because of the obvious love for the franchise by everyone on the panel and in the audience, and also because we actually discussed things back and forth on the panel. The audience was engaged and had great questions and comments. The Doctor Who one was the worst. It was a roundtable, which is basically just a big discussion between everyone present, but it was dominated by a small minority who wanted to talk about special effects and other background things while it was obvious some people just wanted to geek out over their favorite companions and whatnot. And the fangirling panel was fun, but we would all just go in a row to answer each question, and I wish we’d had more actual discussion.

It was a learning experience, though, and I’d definitely do it again.

There were a lot of questions from con attendees about Nanowrimo. It makes sense–the convention attracts a lot of amateur and beginning authors and it is almost November (I wrote Navember, haha)–but it still surprised me. So I figured I’d better do my obligatory Nano post for the year here.

I’m not doing Nano this year. I have not been terribly productive this year, at least not as productive as I’d planned to be, due to various stresses, and while November should be pretty chill (after next Wednesday, anyway) I know that the moment I commit to anything, something else will fall apart. So I’m out for the year, though I will probably do a smaller goal (somewhere between 10K and 20K) on my rewrite.

Doing Nano, squiders? Thoughts on MileHiCon if you went, or conventions in general?

Also, happy Halloween!

An Alternative to Writers Conferences

meant to tell you guys that if getting to a writers conference isn’t doable, either from a money standpoint or because of a scheduling issue, or if you’d like to get an idea of what a writing panel might be like to see if they’re useful or not, you should check out your local nerd convention.

Scifi/fantasy and comic conventions often have some writing panels, since several have authors as guests. The guests tend to skew toward science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors, but it depends on the convention and the year.

These can be very hit or miss. I have gone to some truly terrible and useless panels on things that sounded interesting, like publishing or networking. I have been to some that gave me a lot of good information. Some of these panels are aimed at local resources, which can be good for helping you find writing groups and other help in your general area. Others are more industry-based or genre-based than craft-based, which can be good for beginning writers or people interested in seeing where the market seems to be going.

Author and writing panels at comic/scifi cons are generally culled from the authors and publishers attending the conference, so bigger conventions are probably going to have bigger/more experienced people than smaller ones. It does depend, though. Kevin J. Anderson is a local author, and he tends to hit all our cons, even though I would consider him a “bigger” speculative fiction author. You may have big name authors near you that like to do the same. You can check your con’s website and schedule to see who’s coming. Look at both the guest list and the vendors.

Some places specifically have scifi/fantasy literary conventions. These are, of course, a little more specialized, so in theory the panels might be more relevant. But it still depends on who’s going to be there. And that’s not to say that a smaller name author can’t have a ton of useful information to share, or that a big name author won’t be completely useless. As you become aware of your local author community, you’ll learn who’s a good bet.

It also somewhat depends on how the convention is run. In some cases, panelists submit their own panels to con staff. The panelists typically prepare for these, so you get more coherent information. At other cons, guests or vendors may show up to discover they have been assigned to panels they were previously unaware of. At least one con I know of, you just tell the panel person you’re interested in doing panels, but you don’t know which ones (or when) until you arrive.

So if writers conferences aren’t going to work for you for whatever reason, give your local cons a look too. They’re cheaper, you might learn something, and, if nothing else, you can network with local authors.

MileHiCon This Weekend (First Con Table)

So, this weekend is MileHiCon, which is a scifi/fantasy convention in Denver, Colorado. I shall be manning a table for Turtleduck Press for most of the weekend, and I’m a little terrified.

Why you ask?

Well, many reasons. One, I’ve never manned a table at a convention before. I have been to conventions, I have talked to people at tables (though admittedly that terrifies me most of the time too, because like many other authors I am a Super Introvert and also very very shy), I have cosplayed and gone to panels, but I have never sat at a table and tried to provide people information and/or awesome books.

To make it slightly worse, I am in charge of the table. I am the main contact, the one who’s been talking to the convention, and I need to get tax permits and badges and figure out how to get merchandise to and from the table in a logical, efficient manner and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Not just because I have no experience in table running, but I’ve also never been to MileHiCon before and so am unfamiliar with the layout of the building and the programming.

So, to recap, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m running out of time in which to figure it out (three days!), and I am going to have to be social with other people in a non-weird way.

Now, I’m sure everything’s going to be fine. MileHiCon seems to have a reputation for being friendly and helpful, and probably the people at the tables next to me will be lovely people, and the attendees will be lovely people, and perhaps I shall make new friends and attract new readers and I will look back on the weekend and wonder what I was so worried about.

But for now, while I am excited, I’m also in that place where introverts go when they know there’s going to be a lot of people very shortly and that they will be unavoidable.

Any con table tips, Squiders? As a con goer, anything you like/dislike that you’ve seen people do?

DCC Aftermath

So! Denver Comic Con (DCC henceforth) was pretty fun last weekend. This is DCC’s third year, and last year was a ginormous mess because the people running the convention didn’t expect the 60,000 people who showed up, and there was a lot of line standing (Friday was especially a mess, where people stood in line to get in to the con for several hours only to get turned away) and not a lot going on.

Luckily, this year DCC figured that they’d be ridiculously popular and amped everything up appropriately. They completely redid the lines to exchange tickets for badges and get into the convention. I showed up about when doors opened Saturday morning and only spent half an hour in line, which is a major improvement over last year (where I think we stood–not moving–for about two hours).

Additionally, they added a ton more panels and made it clear where lines to get into things were. They reorganized the dealer’s room and artist alley to fit more in and to make it easier to navigate. (And I see why I didn’t get a table–I think there were maybe three tables in the artist alley, and only two or three in the dealer’s room, selling books. The rest were selling comic books or graphic novels or some form of visual art.)

The unfortunate downside was that it seemed like some of panels were a bit stretched, like they felt like they needed more panels but didn’t know what to do. I think that’s true of a lot of cons, though, especially ones run mostly by volunteers.

But overall, I had a great time. I talked to a bunch of friends, including people I don’t see very often (including people I haven’t seen since last year’s DCC). There were a lot of neat costumes, and everyone else also seemed to be having a great time. Only a single person recognized me as Amy and asked for a picture, but oh well. (One of my friends thought I was Mary Jane from Spider-Man, which is actually a perfectly reasonable thing to assume.)

The best panel I went to was on anime openings from the 90s, which the panelists turned into a game, and everyone was obviously into it and having a good time, so there was a good energy in the room. And we went to the costume contest, which was kind of meh, though the comedian who was MCing was pretty funny at points.

All in all, much better than last year, and a good time overall.

Did you guys hit DCC? Been to a con lately? How did you like it? Would you go again?

Denver Comic Con, Cosplay, and Miscellany

So! It’s Denver Comic Con (or, as I shall refer to it from now on, DCC) this weekend and I’m of two minds.

1) I am really excited because it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to really do a con.
2) I am a little annoyed because I applied for a vendor table for Turtleduck Press the instant the applications went live, and they fed me some line about not fitting the mission of the convention when what they really meant was “We got too many authors and small/indie presses and just kind of picked the ones we liked the best and/or who had already paid because they had a table last year, and we can’t have too many authors/publishers because we are a comic convention.”

Rargh.

Anyway, obvious not annoyed enough to not go, so here we are.

AND I am going to cosplay! I am excited because I haven’t cosplayed in four years. (Oh, geez.) I haven’t even made a costume since then except for a generic steampunk outfit for AnomalyCon 2011 and a uniform shirt I use when we play Artemis. Admittedly, I didn’t make anything for this costume because I am going as Amy Pond, but it’s still something.

(Let us take bets on how long it takes me to get annoyed with and abandon the wig. I have successfully worn this particular wig an entire con day before, but it was cooler then. Summer has come early this year.)

In other news, we did a test for putting Shards out as an audiobook, which actually went quite well. So that might be a thing that happens in the near future. We might do Hidden Worlds first, however, since it’s shorter, to try out the audio format and test out marketability and other things.

That’s it from me, for now! Hope you have a lovely weekend, Squiders!