I met James last year and fell in love. He’s kinda scary and big and has fab tats–the bad-boy all girls dream of, even if I am old enough to be his…big sister. Yeah. That one. (rolls eyes) He’s also funny and kind and writes killer books. What’s not to love? Plus he was newly sold and ready to go to press with his first book, which I read and had great fun with! Now, he’s ready with book two of his series and I offered my day at MW for him to talk about what he’s learned, about some aspect of the writerly life. Welcome Tuck!

Thanks, Faith. If you are a writer and you haven’t been to a convention then you, my friend are missing out. I have been to small conventions and large conventions and all sizes in between. Some are full of stuff, covering all aspects of the genre world, some are more literary focused and cover pretty much just writing.

They are all wonderful opportunities as a writer.

Maybe you are just starting out, maybe you are an established author who has made the lists and is a verified bestseller, there is a convention to fit you. It’s also probably within driving distance since most major cities have a convention nowadays.

So here are some tips for you.

1) If you want to be a guest then contact the directors early. Don’t email them one month out from the convention wanting to be a guest.  Send your email or application at least 4-5 months in advance. And be prepared for them to reject you. Most conventions are accommodating, but they do have a limited number of slots and if those are filled then they cannot use you  that year. You can still attend and network.

2) Contact other authors who are attending. These introductory emails to facebook friends will be invaluable to you on site. You will know the people you are meeting and have one less thing to try and get up to speed with. It allows you to have a familiarity with your fellow guests that will make becoming friends even easier.

3) Realize that despite all your goodwill there will probably be someone at the convention that just does not like you. Such is life. Don’t make a big deal of it, just go and hang out with the folks who do. This is a life lesson that doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you are taught it.

4) Be friendly. Talk to people. It’s really as simple as that.  A nice: “So how are you enjoying the convention?” will get you started 9 times out of 10.  More people will respond to you if you just talk to them for 30 seconds than will if you awkwardly sit in the corner for 30 minutes. You’re a writer, be social. Don’t let your own hang-ups keep you from meeting people.

5) Speaking of meeting folks, NETWORKING is the biggest benefit to conventioning. The business of publishing is often performed at the bar of the convention and in the quiet conversations between like-minded professionals. You don’t know what opportunities may present themselves. Offers for short stories, offers to edit an anthology, book deals…etc. so get involved.

6) And finally, the follow-up. After you get home and get settled in you sit down and try your best to email or tweet or facebook-friend request the people you met. Keep in contact and follow up.  It sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, it’s actually easy because some of these people will become friends of yours so talking to them is no problem at all.

Oftentimes we writers get caught up in worlds of our own making, locked away and alone creating our solitary wizardry. But the secret to creativity, the key to the magic, is experience. A convention will allow you to meet people. To interact with fans and other writers, to observe a window of life that will be the closest to your fantastical world. It is vital and necessary.

So get out into the world, go to a convention, it just may be the next big step for your career.

Author Bio: James R. Tuck is the author of the Deacon Chalk series from Kensington. He is a former bouncer and a professional tattoo artist. He owns Family Tradition Tattoo in Marietta, Ga. He lives in the Atlanta area with his wonderful wife, two wonderful children, and four wonderful dogs.

He writes the stories that keep you up at night.
Author Website:
Author Twitter:!/JamesTuckwriter 
Author Facebook: 
Author Blog:





SPIDER’S LULLABY A Deacon Chalk e-novella  By: James R. Tuck  Release Date: June 26 2012 
Publisher: Kensington Books    
ASIN: B008847UNU
ISBN-13: 9780758280640

                He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities take out any kind of unnatural threat. But between this bad-ass bounty hunter and rescuing the most helpless of victims stands the one evil he can’t defeat…

                For Deacon Chalk, loyalty is worth dying for. And now that something has taken were-spider Charlotte’s un-hatched children and one of his closest friends, he’ll tear up the human and supernatural underworlds to find them. But with his allies stripped away by an invincible Yakuza hit man and time running out, Deacon must face down the most ancient of demonic entities. And his last hope means surrendering to the inner darkness waiting hungrily to consume him …


Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter book 2 By: James R. Tuck
Release Date: August 7 2012
Publisher: Kensington
ASIN: B007C734Z2
ISBN-10: 0758271484
ISBN-13: 978-0758271488


                He hasn’t met a monster yet that could give him a scare. With ice in his veins, silver hollow-points in his chambers, and an innate ability to rise from the dead, what’s to fear? The answer may be something he doesn’t want to face. . .

                Deacon Chalk normally has no trouble telling innocent victims from real monsters. So protecting an abused pregnant were-dog is a no-brainer. . .until a vicious lycanthrope leader and his brotherhood target Deacon, other shape-shifters, and any humans in their way. Suddenly, Deacon is outnumbered, outgunned, and unsure who–or what–to trust. The only edge he has left is a weapon hungry for his soul and his most savage impulses. And using it will exact a price even this hell-raising hunter fears to pay. . .

“This is urban fantasy as men’s fiction―Sookie Stackhouse meets the Dresden Files by way of Maxim.” Publishers Weekly



8 comments to CONVENTIONEERING by James R. Tuck

  • Thanks for being here, Tuck. In my opinion, 5 and 6 are most most most important. And, in fact, *you* are excellent at this. Unlike so many of us who are mortally shy, you have no trouble approaching others and starting a conversation. Your advice in 4 was great. So I’d like to share more Con openers. Like, “Freaking GREAT costume!” Even if you have to add, “What are you?”

    Or, “I LOVED that book in your book bag! Have you ever read that writer’s work before?” If it’s the writer him/herself you are in luck! Which means the comment, “I hated that book,” is a nono. LOL

    Anyone else have any other thoughts about icebreakers at Cons?

  • Razziecat

    Hi, James! I have to tell you that the guy on the cover of Blood and Silver is a ringer for a manager I used to work with. Seriously, that guy could be his twin!

    Like Faith, I’m not very outgoing. Any icebreaking tips are welcome. 😉

  • I’m a terrible introvert and when I do approach someone I feel awkward doing it. I sort of have to force myself to play a role, and then only after observing for a while. Never been able to visit the cantina, sadly, because I usually have the little’n at the cons too. I am somewhat more talkative and open after a drink or two. Thing is, once I know a person well enough, that more laid back version of me is actually how I always am with people I know. It just takes that dulling of the nerves at first to get to that point. I like when someone says something first because that takes the pressure off and allows me to respond and play off that other person. I’m sure if I do it enough, it’ll probably get easier. Course, I’d kind of like to have something published to talk about. 😉

  • …other thoughts about icebreakers at Cons?
    I’d say go to the parties. Everyone is relaxed after the long day of being on, and it might be easier for you to strike up a conversation in that atmosphere. I’ve seen more than a few anthology invites happen at the parties instead of during the day.

    Daniel, I’m generally a shy person. I love being at cons but talking to people I don’t know terrifies the hell out of me. Which is why I, too, have learned to play the role of Gregarious Misty. She can chat charmingly with perfect strangers without bursting into tears or worrying that they’re trying to get away. I’m pretty good at it by now, but being Gregarious Misty does require that I retreat to my room or somewhere quiet to recharge after a few hours.

  • bonesweetbone

    Hi, James! Haha, I attended a few of your panels at ConCarolinas. Very informative! Glad to see you again!

    Personally, having been trapped in customer service all of my working life (it feels longer than it has been), I agree that the best way to attract attention and to get people interested is to just be friendly. It was really hard for me at first because I’m shy, but just smiling and catching someone’s eye will do wonders. You’ve effectively ensnared them in social obligations. People also love to talk about themselves, so I really like your small talk advice.

    I didn’t know being rejected was a common thing, but it makes sense! And here we thought publishing a book was the last hurdle… Good to know!

  • mudepoz

    Uh. Wait. You mean someone DOESN’T like me.
    That’s an odd concept.
    After all, I brought the thong cookies and beautiful Laura set up the party in our room. Misty, you hugged me, that’s gregarious!
    I’m not shy, but I do find the necessity to get away from crowds for a while or I run down too quickly. I love meeting people and talking to them.
    Or playing practical jokes.

  • James R. Tuck

    Awwww, thank you for the compliments Faith, you are a doll!

    And thank you all for showing up and commenting 🙂 You make me feel loved.

    Daniel- I don’t know if this helps or not, but remember that when you show up as an author you are not just Daniel. You are THE AUTHOR. People at cons want to meet THE AUTHOR even if they don’t know who he/she is. They show up just to meet folks like you. Now my friend Delilah S. Dawson is actually pretty shy. You couldn’t tell it when she shows up for events as an author. She writes steampunky vampire smut so when she is at a con she wears steampunk clothes which draws people to her and engages a conversation. Kalayna Price does the same thing with her convention wear, and I don’t know if Misty does it consciously or not but when she appears in her pirate gear I have watched people stop walking and block foot traffic just to talk to her.
    So maybe you can wear something to draw the people to you. Conventions are great places to wear a n interesting shirt even if you don’t go full costume. It can act like a lantern fish and draw in the people.

    Bonesweetbone- Yep, rejection is part and parcel of this gig. It will happen throughout the entire time you are writing. But be strong. If you get a no, well that’s one that you just cleared off the schedule. Law of averages means you are one step closer to the yes. It’s cliche, but sometimes a cliche is just truth. 🙂

  • Great advice, James (Tuck?). Thanks for stopping by.