Posts Tagged ‘conventions’

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!

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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!

Denver Comic Con in Review

So, this past weekend we had the good fortune to go to Denver Comic Con. It’s in its second year; we didn’t go last year due to me being hugely pregnant at the time.

The con had some issues–they got 50,000 people and were apparently not expecting nearly that many. But after waiting in a 2-mile long line to get into San Diego Comic-Con one year, I’m pretty lenient when it comes to con lines.

(Also, they’ve got a lot of unused space that they could be using for things like anime and movie rooms, but hey.)

My biggest complaint is that there was a number of empty tables in the artist alley, and I’ve been waiting for eight months for a table. I was going to set up one for Turtleduck Press, but alas.

Other than that,I had a great time. The panels we dropped into were interesting and entertaining, and there were quite a few about books and writing which, to be honest, are most of the ones I hit at conventions. (I do occasionally go to TV show-related ones, mostly scifi and Trek related.) And I got to do some writing networking, which is always a plus, including talking to people who had publishing presses similar to TDP. So hoorah for that.

There were a lot of people dressed up too, which I think is great. I used to be fairly into cosplay myself. (And maybe I shall be again? There were a lot of families are dressed up together.) Sadly, we couldn’t stay for the costume contest.

Right, overall thoughts. DCC went fairly well for a new con going through growing pains. They could use some better registration/line control, more use for their space, and better table allocation, but what they had was good, the people were friendly and helpful, and there was still a lot to do and see. Plus I got to network, catch up with people I hadn’t seen in years, and talk directly to some companies I have previously only seen on the internet.

I’m definitely going to go again next year, and if you are in the area or are looking for a good, reasonably-priced con, I recommend you do the same.