"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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

World Con Wrap Up

I just back from Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention.

First off, for all those people keeping up with SPELLPUNK, I apologize for missing last Friday and Monday. I got really wrapped up in the whirlwind that was World Con. I'll be making it up to you this Friday, by posting three chapters to catch up.

Back what I came here to talk about. WorldCon. This was my first World Con as a "Pro." I was excited and terrified all at the same time. Here is a random sampling of my thoughts and experiences while there.

I believe I was one of two strictly Indie writers on programming at the convention. The other was Hugh Howely, author of the WOOL series. I've read the first two, and so far, I'm enjoying them very, very much. If there were any other Indie authors at the convention, I either missed them by being completely obtuse, or they were being very very quiet. I had the chance to speak with Hugh several times, he is a charming, gracious man and I very much look forward to getting to know him better over the years. I haven't read any of his work outside of WOOL, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he is the first Indie author nominated for a Hugo award. I gave Hugh this prediction, and he blinked disbelievingly. So, for the record, I'm going out here and saying it: I believe Hugh Howley is going to be the first Indie writer Nominated for a Hugo, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens next year. Even if doesn't happen next year, it'll happen sometime. I called it first.

Speaking of Indie books and writers, the tone of the conversation surrounding the Indie book revolution has changed drastically from last year. I'll sum it up with one anecdote. Last year, I asked a senior editor at a very high profile publishing house what he thought of the Indie book "thing." He went on for some time about how it wasn't "Indie" that it was self-publishing, about what publishing really was, and how very bad it could be for a writer's career. Blah, blah. DOOOM! gloom... all that sort of thing. Now, fast forward a year. Same editor. I thanked this editor for that conversation, because I am honestly grateful for the conversation, as it rewired part of my brain and how I thought about my career. Because of it, I changed the way I approached my books and writing to the point where I now have five ebooks on Amazon bestseller lists. I told the editor this, and maybe it was a little spiteful, and I take a bit of pride in the fact that I'm outselling a few of the authors in his house. He said, "Well there's nothing wrong with self-publishing your books." What a turn around from last year. All across the board, the tone of this conversation has changed. I like the change. I even heard whispers and rumors that SFWA understands that it's going to have to change the way that defines the term "professional."

The fans are accepting us, or at least, they are accepting me in small numbers. Despite being up against Pat Rothfuss (you know, that Name of the Wind guy), I actually had quite a nice turn out for my reading. More that half the people who showed up weren't friends of mine. We had a grand time, I gave some books away, sold a few more. Had some people come by my signing, which was awesome. Okay, so I told people that I'd only sign there books if they came to my signing just so I didn't feel terrible about myself sitting alone next to Mike Resnick, the guest of honor. And it worked. Even had some people come to my signing and buy some books from me.

I'd like to thank a handful of pros for being massively cool and welcoming me with open arms into the "cool kids club." Kat Richardson, writer of the Greywalker series. Jennifer Brozek, author and editor. Jim Minz, editor at Baen. Jeremy Lassen, the Nightshade books guy. David Brin, who stated again how proud he was of me. Finally, Howard Taylor, creator, artist and writer of Schlock Mercenary, a web comic that's been nominated for the Hugo six or seven times. He is also one of the voices on Writing Excuses, a podcast about writing by four very talented people. Howard and his crew of minions (the minions call themselves this) welcomed me into their little community right from the start. We joked and talked here and there throughout the weekend, and the camaraderie I felt with them really helped to make this my best World Con to date.

I hung out with some old friends and made new ones. I talked about the truth of Indie publishing from the perspective of someone making something of himself in Indie publishing. Turned few minds around to take a look at it from a publishing perspective. Turned a few people away from it as a publishing option, because I felt that Indie was not the right road for them to try. It's not for everyone people. It's probably not even really for me outside the fact that I'm too darn stubborn to let it not work out. The dancing thing passed me over already. I can only go so far from the storytelling. And I'm pretty sure I can't turn playing Airsoft into a legitimate career. So...writing is it. Failure is not an option.

As a side note, Amazon just sent me one of it's many "we recommend these books" for you emails. Here are first four books they recommended:

Oh, irony... How do I love thee.

So, yeah, things are going well. WorldCon was awesome on pretty much all levels.

One final note, though she may never read my blog, thanks to Bobbie, the programming director for having me on Chicon7's program. She took a risk on an Indie writer with very little street cred and let him have a voice. Thank you, Bobbie. You helped jump start my career and confidence in my work more than you'll ever know. Thank you.


  1. I met you at WorldCon in Reno last year and I'm glad to hear you're doing so well! I would have liked to hear that panel on Indie publishing... I still have so much to learn about it. Especially if my work takes me in that direction.

  2. I can definitely say, it's not for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and constant dedication to yourself and keeping your dream alive and kicking every day.

    If you ever have any questions about Indie publishing, hit me up.


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