"In these pages many mysteries are hinted at.
What if you come to understand one of them?"

"Words let water from an unseen, infinite ocean
Come into this place as energy for the dying and even the dead."

"Bored onlookers, but with such Light in our eyes!
As we read this book, the jewel-lights intensify."

- Rumi

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

World Con Wrap-Up

My God there was so much.

I'm not even going to begin to talk about what happened on any semblance of timeline, or even try and codify the events. So much happened in a short amount of time that such would be impossible for me at this point.

I believe this was my most productive World Con, or World Fantasy Con to date.  I made more legitimate contacts with people that seemed not just interest in my work, but me as a writer and a professional, even after mentioning my eBooks, which even with the success of John Locke and Amanda Hawking, the traditional publishing industry is still slow to take seriously. Rather than talk about the events, I think I'll talk about the differences in me between this convention and previous events I've attended.

First, I'm much more secure in my work. Part of this is that I've aged and matured as a person, but also that I've been paid for my work, both by Fantasy Flight Games and via Amazon Kindle.  The biggest thing is that I embraced my storytelling as a very real part of who I am and what I'm about.  In previous conventions, I kept that quiet.  When I was getting new business cards, I debated putting my storytelling on it as I intended to hand a lot out at World Con.  I realized that I'm proud of the "Bard's Cloak of Tales" show.  I entertain people, make them smile, and bring them joy.  I am blessed with a very loyal fan base, and if I went off to World Con and pushed those fans under the carpet, I'd be betraying their loyalty and the core of who I am.  So, with my fans behind me, I proudly announced myself as a professional storyteller, which I believe helped me enormously.

Second, I was able to put my ebook sales in context of my storytelling show, which also made me look more professional.  A very successful agent asked me why I'd want to give a New York Publisher 70% of my work's worth if I've got an ebook career.  My responce, "I want a wider market than storytelling in Northern California."  I didn't mention that I'm hoping to use my books published by a major New York publisher to also raise awareness for my ebooks.  But I think he caught that I understand there are more roads to business success.

Third, I listened to the way people spoke and read their body language.  This is an important skill all hopeful writers need to learn if they are going to attend conventions and conferences.  Do not be that pushy writer who won't let the editor/agent/writer get to their next appointment.  A professional's time is valuable, and they probably have to get to the bathroom after a panel/talk just as much as everyone else.  I've made it a point NOT to be that guy.  Even before I coined the mantra, "It's a marathon, not a sprint." I seemed to understand that on a fundamental level.  I've spent years going to cons, talking to people, and just getting my face out there.  Now that I'm actually ready to send stuff out, the pros are taking me seriously.

Forth, I don't look desperate.  I might feel desperate, but I make sure that I don't look it.  My elevator pitch is practiced and rehearsed, as are most of my responses to common questions.  In this, my storytelling experience has really paid off.  I'm practiced at not looking flustered in the face of noises and distractions.  Ren Faire and World Con abound with them.

I'm sure there's more but I'm still processing everything.

To the hopeful writer who goes to conventions: don't go trying to wheel and deal at your first convention.  Take the time to learn the community. Also, each convention is a new community.  Don't go to World Con and think that you know how things are at World Fantasy Con, even though many of the same people attend both.  Being a professional is about doing your homework and that's part of the game.

More thoughts on World Con coming.

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