Tag Archives: conventions

Weekly Writers’ Ramble: Bobby Nash

UPDATE: Because the day job has apparently eaten my brain, I left out material in the initial post AND the title. This has been remedied.

Today we welcome Bobby Nash as our author guest, and the last for this months topic.

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PROS AND CONS OF CONS

I love a good con.

Not the kind where someone steals all my money though. Those are only fun to watch on TV or in the movies. What I love are conventions. From the small one-day shows to the big four day events, conventions invigorate me as a creator even as they wear me out as a person. When H.C. asked me to make a list of the pros and cons of attending cons, I leapt at the chance.

The Pros:

1. Meeting the Pro’s. As a creator myself, I love talking with other creative people and the convention is a great place to meet like minded peers, fans, and friends alike. Some of the best relationships I’ve made are with people I first met at a convention.

2. Finding out what’s new or uncovering something you didn’t even know existed. Conventions are great ways for local and lesser-known creators to get their works in front of potential fans. As a writer, I love introducing people to my work. With so many different books out there, conventions are a good place to see what else is out there. More often than not you’ll find a few gems you didn’t even know you were looking for.

3. Travel. I love to travel and attending conventions has allowed me to visit places I might not have had the opportunity otherwise.

4. Getting out of the house. I know this sounds like a joke, but it’s not. Writing is a rather solitary job and I spend so much of my time in a room alone with my laptop. Stepping into a convention center with a few thousand of my closest friends is a nice refreshing change of pace to my sitting alone in my office for days and weeks at a time.

5. Cosplay, fans, and fun. Cosplayers, fans, actors, writers, artists, etc. are there to work, but also to have fun. The evening events at conventions are a fun time to socialize outside of the dealer’s room where people can hang without trying to sell stuff. It’s a great time for photos, chatting over drinks, or just hanging out. Have fun and introduce yourself to someone new. Just don’t stop in the hallways or at the top of escalators for photos. That leads to disaster.

The Cons:

1. Conventions are expensive. All of the cool things like paying for a badge or a table, food, hotel, travel, books, supplies, and whatever you see at the con that you just have to buy can eat up a good bit of cash so you have to be prepared. Budget is key. I usually try to carpool and/or split a room with someone when I can. That certainly helps out with those expenses.

2. Crowds. As cons continue to grow in popularity, the crowds grow right along with them. If you don’t like crowds, this is something you’ll have to bear in mind.

3. Know your surroundings. I mentioned earlier taking photos. Be aware of where you’re standing when you ask for a photo. Blocking doors, stairs, and escalators never ends well and either creates a back up or a collision. Just take a moment to step away from the walkways.

4. Dehydration. Drink plenty of water. This is key. Also, at least once a day, take a shower. Cons are hot and sweaty.

These are just a few of the pros and cons of attending a convention. Personally, I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. No matter what convention you go to, try to have a good time. Remember, the people working the dealer’s room, panels, booths, etc. are there to have a good time like everyone else, but they are also working so check out their stuff and say hello.

I’m often asked what kind of con people should attend. That’s a tough one as there are so many different kinds of conventions out there for many different fandoms.

There are smaller one day shows that are usually more laid back with little stress. These are usually shows where you shop with a handful of guests you can meet, usually writers, artists, or actors.

Hotel shows are generally relaxi-cons, which means they run day and night over the course of a weekend. Look for a good number of parties in the evenings, plenty of opportunities for meeting your fellow fans.

Convention Center Cons take place during the day in a convention center. That means the evening is usually unscheduled, although if there is a hotel attached to the con, it’s probably where most folks from the con will hang out in the evening. In other cases, people scatter when the convention closes down for the day, depending on the venue.

No matter which type of show you want to attend, check their website first to see who is there you want to meet, what panels you would like to attend, things like that. Have a plan, but be flexible. It is impossible to do everything at the cons.

Most of all, no matter which con you attend, have fun.

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About Bobby Nash:

From his secret lair in the wilds of Bethlehem, Georgia, 2013 Pulp Ark Award Winning Best Author, Bobby Nash writes a little bit of everything including novels, comic books, short prose, graphic novels, screenplays, media tie-ins, and more.

Between writing deadlines, Bobby is an actor and extra in movies and television, including appearances in Deviant Pictures’ Fat Chance, FOX’s The Following, USA’s Satisfaction, AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, and more. He is also the co-host of the Earth Station One podcast (www.esopodcast.com) and a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers.

Bobby was named Best Author in the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards, his first professional writing award. Rick Ruby, a character co-created by Bobby and author Sean Taylor also snagged a Pulp Ark Award for Best New Pulp Character of 2013. Bobby was also nominated for the 2014 New Pulp Awards and Pulp Factory Awards for his work.

To find out more about Bobby Nash, visit his blog
or his website.

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Weekly Writers’ Ramble: Teel James Glenn

Today I bring you award winning author, Mr. Teel James Glenn, sharing his take on cons.
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Pros and Cons of cons

-Teel James Glenn

 

Conventions are fun, no one can deny that, but for people who want to make it in the writing world they are also work.

When you think about it, science fiction conventions were started by a group of fans in the 1930s who formed groups like the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society or the Futurians who were fans of Hugo Gernsback’s science fiction and science magazine. He connected fans who wrote in to the letter columns.

Many of those fans went on to become the great writers of the era-Julie Schwartz, Ray Bradbury and others. They always acknowledged their roots in the ‘fan’ world, even before the term was really coined.

I’ve been going to conventions since the 1970s, first as a fan myself, and watched them evolve from small gatherings of a hundred or two of fans of comics or Sci Fi to the mega conventions of today where a hundred and fifty thousand people jam into a convention center.

Why keep going to conventions as a professional writer?Well, to quote the famous safe bank robber Jimmy Valentine when he was asked why he robbed banks, “‘Cause that’s where the money is!”

Mind you, it is not so crass as to be walking around with a sandwich board proclaiming your latest book-(though that is not necessarily a bad thing)-But from the moment you walk into a con till the moment you leave you have to consider that you are ‘on stage’- performing as your writer persona. You are there to be seen!

This can be a hard thing for many writers, who are, after all mostly solitary creatures, yet, the target audience for your work- be it romance writing, mystery stories, fantasy, science fiction, that convention crowd is there because they love the exact type of writing you do.

So what do you do if not wear that sandwich board? You write to the con and try to get on panels so people can see and hear you. You go to the panels of writes/editors you like and ask questions and in an un-creepy-I’m-a -colleague- way chat with them after the panels.

If you can afford it, of course, it is a good thing to get a table at the con- it is a great way to chat people up and push your books. If you don’t have a ‘support staff’ of friends who can relieve you at the table it can be a trap-i.e.- you are stuck behind that table when you want to get to panels to meet other pros or see events you want to see.

Of course, any one of these ways to ‘present’ yourself at a con could make that contact with an editor, agent or even fellow writer that lets you in on a new anthology or market looking for stories. All of them give you a pretty good shot at advancing your career.

The thing to remember is that, while it is a place to have fun for fans it can be a springboard for you as a professional writer so be on your best behavior- people remember if you are a jerk and (I’ve heard) that editors are people.

One side bar to all this is that lots of deals and meetings happen in the hotel bar. If you drink (and I don’t so I don’t have this problem), do so under you limit. Keep your head about you so you can make those deals and retain the details of the business conversations you do hear!

If you’d like to find out more about Mr. Teel Glenn, you can meander over to his blog or website. If you have questions, feel free to post in the comments section!

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Con Aftemath

My first convention as an author guest is over. MSC was fun, and it was great seeing folks of all artistry types that I’ve gotten to know while volunteering the last few years. It’s a bit surreal to be on the other side of the table, not as a moderator, but a guest. As a brand new author, as expected, no one outside of my writer associates knew me, but earning a spot on a panel imparts an aura of “real author” respect. Panel attendees were friendly and several happily accepted the bookmarks with the free download code. (After all, free, right?) My editor relayed that the feedback he’d received was very good and he’s invited me to a couple of regional fairs, which sounds like fun. He asked when he could see book two, so that’s even more exciting! For those of you who are fans of audiobooks, he informed me that mine will, eventually, be an audiobook.

I’d like to send a great big thank you to those who came out to the con and even more thanks to those who bought books!

I’ve always enjoyed MidSouthCon. This one followed on the heels of several very successful years, and I think the pinch of the economy showed in the smaller crowd and absence of authors who could not afford to travel as far as they once did. That’s sad to see, but hopefully things will rebound in the future.

Despite a very light load, in comparison to the fifteen hours at the con I did last year, my weekend disappeared with the speed of a treat in Marble’s vicinity. Now you see it….wait did I even see it? Miss Diva has a science fair project with a classmate that, of course, experienced technical difficulties. I think I’ve figured out what the problem is, but we’ll have to run to the store for supplies. A Mad Scientist’s work is never done.

 

Geekdom Just Around the Corner

It’s that time of year again. MidSouthCon 31 is this weekend. Once again, I shall be in attendance as a moderator. I rather hoped to achieve “guest” status this year, but there’s always next year. If you happen across me Friday evening, no I’m not impersonating a zombie. Likely I’ll be brain-dead from exhaustion after teaching a lecture at the perky, ungodly hour of 8:30am, followed by lab stuff, meetings, and somewhere in there cramming food into my gullet before making my grand entrance.

By grand entrance I mean nick-of-time mad dash to my panel.

There’s something invigorating about being surrounded by other writers and artists and discussing our craft. Every year it gives me a creative high for weeks after.

For those of you who’ve never attended a convention let me summarize what MSC offers. There are panels on various topics, from costume design, gaming, science, anime, to writing and fiction. There’s a video gaming room, a large board game area (not Chutes and Ladders, but in depth board games), costume contest, shows, art auction (for charity), and a dealers’ room with cool stuff to buy, or for the financially challenged, gaze upon wistfully. There’s also a ton of people in creative costumes.

I anticipate a fun weekend of geekery, laughter, and sleep deprivation. If you’re in the area, check it out. If you’re from farther corners of the world, be brave, embrace your inner geek and check out a con near you!

Decisions, decisions..

With Ground  Hog day also came my son’s eleventh birthday. As I attempt to wrap my mind around how time turned my tiny baby into a kid that’s doing his best to catch up to me in height, and finds it hilarious to sneak up behind me and lift me off the ground, another thought occurred to me. If it is now February, MidSouthCon is fast approaching!

I first attended the con in 2010, volunteering as a panel moderator. I had the wonderful fortune of meeting one of my favorite authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon (The only picture I have is all blurry. 😦 ) I managed to do all of my squeeing in my head and present a professional demeanor as I sat down next to her and moderated two of her panels. As it was my first convention, I didn’t dress up, as I still wasn’t quite certain what a convention was. In 2011 I once again moderated a number of panels and assisted in the running of the Con, but I got more into the spirit of things. I wore one costume and one ensemble that was costume-ish (It had a medieval feel to it and definitely turned heads in the store, but other than the cloak they were items from my wardrobe I wear regularly.).

My rendition of a Charonte demon (Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter Series)

Nothing turns heads in Target like walking in wearing a cloak.

 

More recently I attended ShadowCon, which has a pirate theme.To fit with the theme, and Soup King’s being drafted into a pirate crew I threw together this:

The gun was borrowed. The best I could come up w/on short notice was a cheap plastic thing that looked like a hay bailer hook.

 

There are some really spectacular costumes at the con, so I don’t really plan to try win any prizes, but rather do it for the fun. So, I must decide on a costume for the upcoming con. :O I could do the demon thing again or do something totally new. IF I had a nifty, sparkly, contract for one of my books I could dress as one of my characters, but alas, I do not. Then again, most of them don’t wear anything particularly exciting. Well, there is that nearly naked faerie in that one scene, but I aim for a PG-13 rating for my attire. Kids do attend these things. Which begs another question: to bring the hooligan squad or not?

So, dear internet denizens, what say ye?