Month: November 2016

After OryCon, first thoughts

Well, that was a humbling experience. I went into my first convention representing my writer role knowing that selling anything is unlikely. I head things from other that you’re doing pretty good if you sell two copies. Well, I didn’t sell a thing. I did witness a couple people pick up a copy of Singularity Deferred and put it back down… exactly like I do a million times at con dealers rooms. It’s very weird to be on the other end of that. I did my job in making a few other independent authors “do good” by buying some of their books, though. Including:

Tori Centanni’s Immortality Cure (my first real entry into urban fantasy, I have to admit. Not counting Cory Doctorow’s Someone Comes to Town…, and the TV version of “True Blood”); Toy Wars by Thomas Gondolfi; and Core of Confliction by Maquel A Jacob. They’re also all authors who are members of the incredibly supportive Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA).

Also picked up a copy of French and Cook’s Working the Table. Not that it really would have helped this weekend, it was NIWA’s table I had my titles on, and really only had my bodily presence there for an hour shift. But for when I get the opportunity to have my own table (or share one with only 1 or 2 other authors), it will be invaluable!

So, anyway, I sold no copies. But like I said, that was pretty expected (though I really was hoping for 1 or 2 sales). The demoralizing part was the failure so far of what I was there half for: my post- and business cards appear to have hardly been picked up, I’ve seen no new sales or even sample downloads on Smashwords (by the way, you’re welcome to use coupon code ES78V to get 25% off). No Amazon Kindle sales. I think most of the traffic to the website is still bots.

This sounds maudlin and full of self-pity (and it is), but it’s not all bad. The other half of my goal for going as a writer and not just an attendee, was to network and meet people, and that I did — more than I thought my introversion and social anxiety would allow. Met NIWA people I could put faces to the names to, met new people, handed my card to some people, learned of new and upcoming projects, and really felt more a part of a community. That’s a win!

And of course, the part of the weekend that I would have done just as an attendee, the panels and discussions, were a gihugic success! I learned so very much; I took pages of notes! I’ll probably process those notes and share the best of the tips and resources and bits of advice later this week — there’s a lot of it! And, despite some significant doubts and fears, I am hopeful and excited about my writing career, and am eager to do more and bigger!

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On OryCon 38 and cons in general

I have been attending conventions since… well, actually, pretty late in life. I remember being in grade school and junior high, early /mid 80s, reading Dragon Magazine and dreaming of going to the conventions listed! Ah, GenCon! The Mecca of my people! (Gaming nerds.) “One day, you shall be mine! Oh yes, you shall be mine…” But it wasn’t until sometime around maybe 16 years ago I started actually going to conventions. First, any and all gaming conventions I could get to! (It helped that I was a product rep, or a “Bounty Hunter,” for AEG during much of that (they were primarily RPG and CCG company then), and earning very generous product for demoing and running games!) Finally, attending one GenCon! And then another!

I know, this is nothing to people who go every year, and I know people who do. But it’s a big deal for always broke people, er, people of modest means, like me.

But the real eye-opener for me was going to literary and scholarly conferences! I first attended the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) I think in 2009, while in grad school. (Aw, man! N.K. Jemesin is the guest of honor next year! It’s so expensive to go when you’re not a student/professor.) And it was mind-blowing! Days of panels and discussions and free books at catered meals and late night discussions with people galaxies smarter than me who were eager to talk with people like me, as a peer! I got to meet my favorite editor, Ellen Datlow, and runners up James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel…. and it’s where I first learned about intersectional feminism and privilege! And also how it connects to Marxist cultural criticism. And so much more! It was the first real hint at what it’s like to be a real, active, scholar.

Then, later fandom conventions, scifi conventions, I focused more on panels and the artists/writers tables and rooms, and learned a great deal about what it means to be a real, active creator and writer.

And so it is to cons and conferences I owe so very much of my desire, drive, meager skills and knowledge, regarding writing, publishing, scholarship, and living in that world. At least, the desire to live in those worlds.

Well, this weekend is OryCon 38, “The premiere Portland SciFi Convention.” This will be my first year at that one, and the schedule is simply flooded with some amazing-sounding panels! I’ve hardly been able to even begin to plan my time, there is at least one fascinating thing in every slot regarding writing, storytelling, the craft, the business, so much more.

But, and maybe I’m burying the lede, of all the cons I’ve attended the last decade and a half this will be the first con where I’m actually participating (in a small way) instead of being purely an attendee! (Well, aside from ICFAs where I presented papers. And gaming cons where I ran games, but that’s very different: I was just a facilitator of an activity at those, not featured as a person with a product and a voice!) Thanks to my membership with the absolutely amazing Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA), I’m getting to have books on sale at the table, and, I have a 1-hour slot as a “featured author”!

Of course, it’s at 2pm on Sunday, a couple of hours before the con ends, but that’s not a complaint! I am over the moon at the opportunity to sit at a table, hawk my wares, network and talk to potential new readers. That’ll be a nice time to have comfortable conversations with attendees, and while many people will be broke by that time, a lot of people are also at the end of the weekend deciding where they want to contribute their monies to a small or independent artist and discover something new.

Well, I still have a lot of preparation to do before I go here shortly: I got my first business cards, promotional postcards, copies of my books to sell, stuff for the table Sunday… and I am so ready to start putting out more content here, on Patron, the new newsletter, and make it valuable to people who want to follow my and Tragic Sans’ progress! So much wonderful work to do ahead!

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Fading Suns fanfic – Another Day in the Life

Here’s a little story I wrote as Fading Suns fanfiction. Thought I’d put it up for a bit, check out any comments, before I ebook it and put it up (for free) on Smashwords and the Writing page of this site.

Side note: Fading Suns just just moved publishing from FASA to a favorite game publisher of mine, Ulisses Spiele! I am very excited by this news! It will be the best thing to happen to Fading Suns since… not the move to FASA, uhm… certainly not the addition of d20 rules! Well, since the 2nd edition came out, I would guess.

Anyway, fanfic — what do you think? (Here’s a PDF, or click more/scroll down for the story…)

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