Making Connections: Doing Business At Conventions

Last weekend, I was at Balticon. This coming weekend, I’ll be at ConCarolinas, and then after that, Origins Gaming Fair. From there on in, the summer’s pretty busy: Congregate, Confluence, LibertyCon and then DragonCon, with ContraFlow and Atomacon rounding out the year. I did four cons earlier in the year, and I’m already signing up for and getting confirmed for 2017 conventions.

Conventions are expensive. Most writers pay their own way: travel, hotel, food, vendor table and merchandise. It’s time away from family and from writing, and from sitting by the pool chilling out with a beach drink. So why do we do it? Sure, there’s visibility, meeting readers, promoting the new book. But as I saw at Balticon last weekend, the most valuable part of a convention lies in connections to other writers and the stream of information and possibilities created by good relationships.

What kind of information and […]

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Plot Stitching and Seam Rippers

I made it through Home Ec without doing myself bodily harm.

Considering that the girl at the table next to me ran the needle of her electric Singer sewing machine right through her finger (and broke the damn needle off IN her finger), I figured that I dodged a bullet.

One of the tools we used in that class was a seam ripper. It was a pointy little sharp hooked thing that slid under stitches and cut through thread so you could take out a crooked seam. Part of sewing is ripping out your mistakes and putting the pieces back together again. And while I haven’t sewed anything since that long-ago class, years later, I’m thinking about seam rippers, and how sometimes you have to tear things apart to re-stitch them. It happens when you’re sewing a shirt, and it happens when you’re stitching a plot together.

I’m working […]

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The Beginning of the END part Four — More on the Small Press

Morning, y’all!

I ended two weeks ago with a bit of the pros and cons when dealing with small presses, over big presses, and there were just as many cons as pros when it came to dealing with and being published by New York houses. I’d like to concentrate on one single pro today, and how it may often be better than dealing with big houses and with self-publishing.

(With apologies to Di, and her post on Friday!)

Pros for working with a small press? In my opinion is this – Writers get a bigger percentages on electronic sales. NYC offers a standard 25%. Most small presses offer 50% net. And the money flows to the author. A lot of people are going the self-pub route, because they think they can make a high percentage with the first check, and they are right on a sale-by-sale percentage. But that isn’t […]

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The Right Way

I know a man who once decided to submit his manuscript to a famous movie producer. He didn’t know the producer, nor did he have any actual contacts in Hollywood. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him…he packaged up his manuscript in a nice, clean envelope, addressed it to the producer’s office, wrote *Confidential and Personal* on the outside and sent it on its way. Since it said *Confidential and Personal*, the producer’s secretary passed it directly to the man. The producer read it, and while he did not choose to make his next blockbuster movie based on my friend’s manuscript, he was kind enough to offer valuable comments on ways to make the manuscript more saleable.

I was at a publisher’s party some years back, having a conversation with my editor. A self-published writer (at the time, self-pub was almost never done and certainly not with any […]

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The Beginning of The End, Part 2

Last month, I talked a bit about the changes present and coming to the publishing industry: the way that mass market paperbacks (the small paperbacks) are slipping away; the way that publishing houses are moving to Trade (the large paperbacks), Hard cover, and E-books; the way that bookstores are going to buy and stock fewer books altogether. A LOT less books; the way that the decreasing amount of shelf space for new books in stores will change the publishing marketplace. Worse – the way that, with fewer large pubs, there will be fewer numbers of writers published. Worst — the way that those fewer numbers of books in houses and on bookshelves means fewer editorial staff kept on hand, fewer PR staff, and all this means more adjustments for unpublished and midlist writers.

These changes have already resulted in a huge transformation in the way readers shop for books, and […]

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Breaking the Rules

I knew someone long ago who had written a novel he believed would be his breakout. It was crazy-long (300K words, I think?) and had been turned down on that basis more than once. Instead of breaking it into three novels or doing a massive edit to trim the word count, my friend decided to try breaking the rules of submissions. He sent his query to Famous Literary Agent, with the words “Personal and confidential” written on the front of the envelope. Mr Agent’s secretary passed the letter on to her boss uninspected, Mr Agent read the query and contacted my friend, because the story intrigued him. Eventually it was another rejection, but it inspired my friend to keep trying.

A few weeks ago, the news was abuzz with the story about a white male poet who’d submitted a poem to eleventy-four literary journals, all of which said ‘No thanks.’ […]

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Oh Editor, My Editor

Today is the release of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes! I have a story in there titled “The Chase” along with other amazing stories by superbly talented storytellers. I have read some of them, but I am waiting on the actual book to devour the rest. I’m hungry for them, but I want to savor them as well.

Working on this project through Mocha Memoirs Press was my first adventure with an anthology editor and someone who wanted my story. I couldn’t have asked for a better “first time” for this.

(Side note: The lovely Sharon Stogner has done some proofing for me before, but that’s a bit different.)

My editor for An Improbable Truth is A. C. Thompson, who you all may better know as Alexandra Christian. I have to say that working with an editor helped me not only to write better but also […]

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