All posts in "Advice"

SheVaCon and MidSouthCon

Rebecca and I were guests of honor at two conventions in the past three weeks, SheVaCon in Roanoke, VA, and MidSouthCon in Memphis, TN.

We had never been to Roanoke, and as we flew into the valley with the beautiful and snow-covered Blue Ridge Mountains, I was immediately impressed, made me thinking about hiking some sections of the Appalachian Trail.

We traveled with our assistant Diane, all our suitcases loaded with books; Diane would help us watch the table in the dealer’s room when we were on panels.  We met a lot of fans at our table, and we also gave writers’ workshops on Things I Wish a Pro Had Told Me When I Was Starting out as well as How to Increase Your Writing Productivity, and we also gave an hour of Q&A, during which the Tyrannus Garrison of the 501st marched in wearing full stormtrooper regalia and presented each of us with plaques and inducted us as honorary members of the Garrison.  Our fellow guest of honor was Peter Mayhew (the actor who played Chewbacca), and we all had a delicious dinner at a local steakhouse with the Mandalorian Mercs, then the following night we had dinner with some friends from the dealer’s room and other convention committees.  SheVaCon was a very enjoyable convention, slanted heavily toward Star Wars.

Last weekend we were in Memphis for MidSouthCon with fellow guests of honor Gail Simone (comics writer of Wonder Woman and many others), artist Billy Tackett, editor Lou Anders (Pyr), Toastmistress Lee Martindale, and special guest writer Sherrilyn Kenyon.  This time we shared a table with CS Brown (our guitarist on the first Terra Incognita CD) in the dealer’s room.  We again gave our panel on Things I Wish A Pro Had Told Me, a panel on worldbuilding, one on writing in an established universe, and Rebecca gave a panel on Young Adult fiction.  The Memphis Fan Force also had a brief ceremony to induct us into their group, with many photos.  We were kept busy, nonstop, so we had no time to do any sightseeing around the Memphis area, but we did have some great Memphis barbecue food at the Dead Dog Party (where a local homebrewer fan had brought in some samples of his brew).

I highly recommend both cons, great staff, efficiently run, good programming tracks, and a fun group of fans.  Thanks for inviting us.  Next weekend is our Superstars Writing Seminar, and in April we’ll be going to Buffalo, NY for Eeriecon.  In the meantime, I need to finish the last main edit of HELLHOLE and complete the draft of THE KEY TO CREATION.

Sunday Panel List for Writing Seminar

These are the sessions that wrap up the third day of our Superstars Writing Seminar next month.  24 hours of straight-talk and no-nonsense information of what you need to know as a professional writer.


New Media: Using It to Get an Edge (Brandon & Rebecca)
Understand the potential of new technologies to open up unexpected avenues for promoting your book and advancing your career—blogs, websites, social networks, podcasts, e-mail blasts.

E-Publishing (Eric)
Online publishing is a direct way to bypass paper, printing, and distribution costs, but in many ways it is still uncharted territory.  Learn the basics of e-publishing, e-books, and the economic advantages and pitfalls.

Movies, TV—and Authors (Dave, Kevin, Brandon)
Learn how your book can attract the attention of filmmakers for TV or movies—and how you can write novels based on popular media properties.  Understand options, treatments, pitch sessions, spec scripts, and tie-in novels.

12:00–1:30  LUNCH

Anatomy of a Major Book Release (Kevin & Brandon)
A publishing house prepares for the release of a book sometimes a year or more in advance.  Learn the crucial milestones in the leadup to your book’s appearance on the shelves and how you can take advantage of these key points.

Eleven Tips to Increase Your Writing Productivity (Kevin)
How can you be more productive amid the obligations of chaotic life?  These eleven proven techniques used by bestselling authors will give you an inside track on how to produce, and publish, more of your work.

Open Session: Q&A
Everything you wanted to know but didn’t get answered over the weekend.

We hope to see you there at the Pasadena Convention Center, March 19-21.

Saturday Panel List for Writing Seminar

Published February 19, 2010 in Advice , Blogging , Business , Music , Novels , Process , Short Stories , Writing - 0 Comments

Agents: The “A” Word (Rebecca, Brandon, Eric)
What can an agent do for you?  Does a new writer really need one?  How do you get an agent?  Straight talk from our experts on good and bad agents.

Networking for Writers (Dave, Rebecca)
Learn how to make connections, be in the right place at the right time, and make sure your name pops into an editor’s mind when a new project is being considered.

Self-Promotion for Authors (All)
How do you call attention to your book, once it’s published?  We’ll share our experiences in getting interviews and media coverage, online exposure, mailing lists, fan clubs, book signings, and effective promotional products.

12:00–1:30  LUNCH

Self-Publishing: Realities & Pitfalls (Eric, Rebecca)
Alternatives abound for authors to publish and market their own books, bypassing traditional publishers. What are the realities of do-it-yourself publishing? Can you really land a contract from a major publisher on the basis of a self-published book?

Pitching the Big Proposal (Brandon, Kevin, Dave)
You have your idea, your outline, your sample chapters.  Understand what makes a good sales pitch, how to get editors, marketers, and publishers excited about your work even before you deliver the manuscript.

Two Heads Are Better than One: Collaborative Writing (Kevin, Rebecca, Eric, Brandon)
Discover the advantages, and challenges, of working with another author, how to draw upon areas of expertise, and how to work smoothly together in highly charged creative environment.

Open Session: Q&A

Autographing Session

VIP Dinner with the Speakers

Join us at the Pasadena Convention Center March 19-21

Writing Seminar Winner

Published February 15, 2010 in Advice , Blogging , Business , Novels , Process , Publicity , Short Stories , Writing - 0 Comments

The winner for the free membership in the Superstars Writing Seminar has been announced.  MIGNON FOGARTY from Reno NV was chosen from over 500 entrants to attend the 3-day seminar at the Pasadena Convention Center March 19-21.

Some seats are still available.  If you’re a serious aspiring writer, or established writer, we hope you’ll join us for an intensive series of talks and panels about the business of writing and publishing.