Tag Archives: Jeffrey Cook

#amreading: Working the Table: An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions

IndieGuideCoverOne aspect of an author’s career that we are often temperamentally unsuited for, is the book signing event. Many of us are, by nature, not outgoing or able to sell our own work. But the book signing event is crucial–it is is a way for you to meet with potential readers in person, and for them to develop a sense of connection to you and your work.

A book every indie author should have in their arsenal is Working the Table, by authors Lee French and Jeffrey Cook.  The advice within those pages will pay for the book many times over, because whether you are an indie or traditionally published, most likely you will have to sell your book, and a way to generate a little bit of a buzz is the good, old-fashioned book signing. You will also attract readers at conventions, if you are careful to select cons that play to your genre and your style.

I had the chance to speak to Lee and Jeffrey over the weekend about their book.

CJJ: Working the Table is a useful book in the indie author’s arsenal. What made you decide to embark on such an ambitious project?

Jeffrey: Honestly? Other authors were responsible. Take a look at the dedication page — the people named there were some of the primary culprits, but not the only ones. We’d do shows; people would see us putting up the table, arranging it, putting out set deals, and then handling customers, and tell us we needed to write a book.

For quite a while, we laughed at the suggestion. Then we got an ultimatum at Orycon last year — “You guys write it, or I will.”

We still laughed. Then, that same night, staying with Madison Keller in Portland, I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up until 3:30 AM jotting down notes and ideas. I didn’t know it, but Lee would be up not long after I finally went to bed.

We compared notes on the drive home and got started.

Lee: Even at that point, though, it wasn’t a done deal. The speed with which the book came together is what really made it happen. This project could easily have been one that festers and simmers and takes a while, especially with the demanding publishing schedule both Jeff and I maintain. But it took almost no time to write the first draft between us, and we did a few shows in the middle of the revision process where we turned to each other and said, “The thing that just happened needs to be in the book.” Two days later, it was in the book.

CJJ: Authors are by nature rather introverted. But you two both have a strong presence when you are behind the table at an event. How did you develop the persona you have for events?

Jeffrey: Frankly, I’m not an introvert. I’m not an extrovert either. I like my space and quiet time, but in this job, I have a reasonable amount of it. When convention or activity time rolls around, I’m pretty happy to talk to people.

As it notes in the book, that’s part of what I bring to the partnership. I like talking to people. I’ve traveled all over the US and Canada between moving and a lot of road trips when I was younger, and I’m fairly good at dealing with new people.

Part of the presence you mention also has to do with developing a coordinated plan based around our soft-sell approach. When people come up to the table, our primary aims are to make them feel comfortable there and to match them up with the book or books they want, instead of trying to push any particular thing.

Lee: While I’m on the introvert side of the scale, and I have some moderate social anxieties, I’ve found that being behind the table is a relatively comfortable place. There’s an expectation for behavior and interactions not present in other types of people encounters.

My job at the table is a known quantity, both to myself and to people who approach. When you walk up, I want to help you find a book, and you know that’s what I’m going to try to do. That makes the interaction much easier to pursue. No one walks up to an author table expecting to talk about anything other than books, writing, publishing, the surrounding environment, and whatever fandom is dearest to them. With those boundaries pre-established, and the subjects (mostly) ones I can speak on with a certain amount of expertise, the anxieties inherent in relating to strangers are significantly lessened.

CJJ: How do you select the convention with the right buyers for your work?

Jeffrey: Right now, we’re doing a lot of different conventions. Comic-cons, scifi/fantasy cons, street fairs, literary events, etc. Next year, we’re hoping to narrow down the field from about 32 planned events this year (for me, anyway, though most of those are working with Lee) down to about 18 of the best. Then maybe 12-15 in years beyond that.

We know that we both primarily write science fiction and fantasy, so we definitely favor events with a strong scifi/fantasy convention audience and tend to do the best at those. Thankfully, that’s a big market in the Pacific Northwest.

Lee: When I first started looking at picking conventions, my first question was, “Which conventions would I like to attend?” Like most writers, the things that interest me wind up in my writing, making my audience people who are, at least generally, like me. That means gaming conventions are high on my list, as are general fantasy and science fictions shows of all types. Then it comes to subgenre niche conventions, so long as one of us has something in that subgenre, we’ll try it. I actually do well at steampunk conventions despite not having steampunk books because I share a table with Jeff, who has some high quality steampunk. But I wouldn’t go to a steampunk convention by myself.

CJJ: What has been the largest hurdle for you in most dealers’ rooms?

Jeffrey: The unpredictability of some of these shows can be frustrating. We’re pretty good at selling books as long as there’s an audience. Sometimes there’s just not. The long, slow periods can be kind of difficult too, especially because you at least need someone at the table looking engaged and interested, no matter how long it’s been since someone came by.

Lee: Getting into them in the first place. Some conventions are very popular and getting in requires sacrificing your first born child under the full moon with a sprig of fresh mistletoe… Once you’re in, you’re usually in as long as you want to be, but jamming your foot in the door can be challenging. The best bet is usually to keep submitting and when you do get into something, be excellent to the volunteers and staff. Word about vendor behavior gets around.

CJJ: What advice do you have for the author just embarking on the roller-coaster ride that is the dealers’ room?

Jeffrey: Keep your expectations reasonable. When you’re just starting out, conventions aren’t going to be a big money-maker. You’re trying to get your book out there, but also start connecting with fans and potential fans. The investment of time and money can still be worth it in the long run, but you need to look at it as exactly that: an investment.

Lee: That’s also my number one piece of advice. The goal of working conventions is to break even, not to have fabulous financial windfalls. It’s not an end-all, be-all marketing tactic, it’s a piece of a larger picture. One of the most important things we do at conventions is hand out business cards and meet people. Selling books matters, because we have to make enough to afford to do this. Making connections matters more for the long term.

CJJ: If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently?

Jeffrey: In broad general terms, I’d have liked to have been better about listening to my editor and her general advice. She had a lot better perspective on some things early in my writing career, and I’d be better off and further ahead today if I’d been a better listener.

In terms of shows and conventions specifically: I’d have loved to have spent some serious time learning how to use media better. Press releases, getting newspaper attention, etc.  It’s important and helpful – and something I’m still not great at.

Lee: For the bigger picture of publishing, I’ve made a number of horrifying mistakes in my career that I wish I could go back and do right the first time. It would take to long to discuss them all. For those considering jumping into this madness that is writing novels, I definitely recommend getting your feet wet with short story publication before throwing your first novel out there. Short story writing teaches the art of brevity, a skill many novelists struggle with.

CJJ: Finally, where can the reader find you two this summer?

Jeffrey: In May, I’ll be at Lilac City Comiccon in Spokane with Lee (May 14th), then Gearcon Day Out in Portland (May 21).

In June, I’ll be at Oddmall in Everett from the 3rd through the 5th, working with Freevalley Publishing, then Maple Valley Days, all of 7 blocks from my home, from the 10th through the 12th. Our books will be at the Brass Screw Confederacy (also the 10th through the 12th), and then we’ll be at the Fremont Solstice Festival from the 17th through the 19th.

In July, we’ll be at Westercon in Portland from the 1st to the 4th. Then we’ll be running our own book fair at Evergreen State University in Olympia on the 16th. Then I’ll be on my own one more time at the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival in Bellingham on the 23rd as a guest of Village Books.

Finally, in August, we embark on the epic road trip — which we’ve kind of planned the year around. We’re still waiting on hearing about a show in Minnesota, but we’re confirmed for Gencon in Indianapolis from the 4th to the 7th, then Malcon in Denver from the 12th to the 14th, and finally, the long haul of Worldcon in Kansas City from the 17th to the 21st.

Lee: I don’t have any additional appearances beyond those Jeff listed scheduled at this point. I’ll just note the name of the book fair on July 16—CapitalIndieBookCon—for anyone interested in a book fair in Olympia.

CJJ: I will be at the CapitolIndieBookCon also, putting your wisdom to work! Thank you, Jeffrey and Lee, for taking the time to talk with me about Working the Table.  In my opinion, any author who intends to get out and do book signing events or work the dealer’s rooms at conventions should consider purchasing this book. The advice contained within was hard earned and is priceless. I have my copy and it is already looking a little well-used!

>>><<<

Jeff1Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, Washington, with his wife and three large dogs. He was born in Boulder, Colorado, but has lived all over the United States. He’s the author of the Dawn of Steam trilogy of alternate-history/emergent Steampunk epistolary novels, the YA Sci-fi thriller Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets, and the YA Fantasy novel Foul is Fair. He’s a founding contributing author of Writerpunk Press and has also contributed to a number of role-playing game books for Deep7 Press out of Seattle. He is part of a speculative-fiction authors’ co-op, Clockwork Dragon (www.clockworkdragon.net). When not reading, researching, or writing, Jeffrey enjoys role-playing games and watching football.

You can find Jeffrey Cook’s books by visiting his author page at Amazon.com:

Jeffrey Cook on Amazon.com:

  • Dawn of Steam: First Light
  • Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun
  • Dawn of Steam: Rising Suns
  • Foul is Fair
  • Street Fair
  • A Fair Fight
  • Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk
  • Once More Unto the Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk 2
  • Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk
  • Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets
  • Airs & Graces (Angel’s Grace 1)
  • There But for the Grace (Angel’s Grace 2)
  • Working the Table: An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions

www.Authorjeffreycook.com

www.Clockworkdragon.net

Jeffrey Cook on Facebook

Dawn of Steam Trilogy on Facebook

Follow Jeff on twitter: @jeffreycook74

>>><<<

Lee1Lee French lives in Olympia, WA with two kids, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer and member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending too much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with one dragon and absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.
You can find Lee French’s books by visiting her author page at Amazon.com:

Lee French on Amazon:

  • Maze Beset #1: Dragons In Pieces
  • Maze Beset #2: Dragons In Chains
  • Maze Beset #3: Dragons In Flight
  • The Greatest Sin #1: The Fallen
  • The Greatest Sin #2: Harbinger
  • The Greatest Sin #3: Moon Shades
  • The Greatest Sin #4: Illusive Echoes (coming soon)
  • Spirit Knights #1: Girls Can’t Be Knights
  • Spirit Knights #2: Backyard Dragons
  • Spirit Knights #3: Ethereal Entanglements (coming soon)
  • Damsel In Distress
  • Shadow & Spice (short story)
  • Al-Kabar
  • Working the Table: An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions
  • Into the Woods: a fantasy anthology
  • Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk
  • Missing Pieces VII: short stories from GenCon’s Author’s Avenue (coming in August)
  • Unnatural Dragons: a science fiction anthology (coming soon)

www.authorleefrench.com

www.Clockworkdragon.net

Lee French on Facebook

Clockwork Dragon on Facebook

Follow Lee on Twitter: @AuthorLeeFrench / @DragonClockwork

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#CoverReveal: Working the Table, by Lee French and Jeffrey Cook

IndieGuideCoverAs you know, I am a strong proponent of the indie movement in publishing. Indies have a hard road when it comes to getting their work noticed.

A useful new book for indie authors is due out on March 19, 2016: Working the Table–An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions. Well-travelled authors Lee French and Jeffrey Cook have put together this comprehensive how-to manual based on their own experiences.

The Blurb:

Because books won’t sell themselves.

In these times when it’s easy to self-publish but hard to get noticed, conventions offer a solid, feasible option for the independent author to start on a path to financial sustainability. But becoming a professional denizen of the dealer’s room has its challenges. In Working the Table, two veteran indie authors spill their secrets to help you not only survive, but thrive in the book-event environment.

I have shared a table with both Jeff and Lee, and they really do know what they are doing. They really love the convention atmosphere and they are building a solid fanbase with their personal appearances. I look forward to seeing what their secrets are.

Lee1Lee French lives in Olympia, WA, and is the author of several fantasy and science fiction books, most notably the Maze Beset Trilogy, The Greatest Sin series (co-authored with Erik Kort), and assorted tales in her fantasy setting, Ilauris. She’s an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she’s known for creative squirrel deployment. In addition to spending time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with one dragon and absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.

She is an active member of the Northwest Independent Writer’s Association and serves as the Municipal Liaison for the Olympia region of NaNoWriMo. Her appearances to date include GenCon, WorldCon, Norwescon, and several other Pacific Northwest sci-fi and fantasy conventions. You can find Lee’s books here: Lee French’s author page on amazon.com.

Jeff1Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, Washington, with his wife and three large dogs. He was born in Boulder, Colorado, but has lived all over the United States. He’s the author of the Dawn of Steam trilogy of alternate-history/emergent Steampunk epistolary novels, the YA urban fantasy series The Fair Folk Chronicles, and the YA Sci-fi thriller Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets. He’s a founding contributing author of Writerpunk Press and has also contributed to a number of role-playing game books for Deep7 Press out of Seattle. When not reading, researching, or writing, Jeffrey enjoys role-playing games and watching football.
 –
You can find Jeff’s books here at: Jeffrey Cook’s author page on amazon.com.
 
Lee and Jeff will have a lot of good advice and information to offer in this book–they spent the entire summer on the road last year, and do at least 2 conventions a month during the off-season! I don’t have that kind of enthusiasm for living out of a suitcase, but they are making it work.

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#FlashFictionFriday: The Unfairness of Life

Flash Fiction Friday

THE UNFAIRNESS OF LIFE

pub-709319_1280 CC0 Public DomainI used to shoot pool down at the Drunken Sasquatch, the local watering-hole over on 15th  frequented by those of us who travel in…different…circles.

But not anymore.  I’m no longer welcome there, and it’s not my fault. I warned Alfredo that I don’t handle certain substances well.

But no, he just had to see if I was truthin’ when I said that…which I was.

But how is it only my responsibility?

When a person says they can’t handle a certain substance, don’t sneak it into their glass. I spit it out as soon as I recognized the tongue-tingling zing, but it was too late—I’d swallowed some.

So now I’m liable for a table and several chairs, the burn marks on the floor, and Sylvia Wannamaker’s new coat.

That’s okay, I do have a bit of gold stashed. But the embarrassment—to say nothing of being no longer allowed to play in November’s pool tournament—

I may not get over that anytime soon.

I’m just going to say it once.

If a dragon tells you he can’t handle carbonated beverages, believe him.

_____________________________________________

The Unfairness of Life © Connie J Jasperson 2015

Fantasy Dragon Wallpaper by NIM101 courtesy of wallpaperabyss.com

Fantasy Dragon Wallpaper by NIM101 courtesy of wallpaperabyss.com


If you happen to be at out and about Saturday the  10th of October, in the Renton area south of Seattle, stop in at the AFK E&E, and visit my friends who will be signing books and having a great time in general. They will be Reading in the Dark, and the event will run from 2:00pm to 9:00pm in the back left of the restaurant.

  • AFK Elixers & Eatery
  • 3750 E Valley Rd.
  • Renton, WA 98057

You will find these great authors: A.J. Downey, Jeffrey Cook, Lee French, Sechin Tower, Tina Shelton, and Shannon L. Reagan and several more. I can’t wait to see what they are offering us!

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Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Fantasy, writing

Yay! Its #friday

The Alehouse Door, by Henry Singleton via Wikimedia Commons

The Alehouse Door, by Henry Singleton via Wikimedia Commons

I wrote a lot of short stories last summer, which is good, because in short stories you have to be sparing with words.

This need for economy has really helped with my personal writing bugaboo, giving too much background info. When you are writing to a specific word limit, you have to choose your words carefully.

This means the only background that can remain in the tale is the minimum background that the reader must know for the tale to make any sense.

Some of what I wrote was a serial, for Edgewise Words Inn, a series of tales set in the village of Bleakbourne, on the Heath river. Bleakbourne is an unusual town, being the crossroads for the fae and mortal worlds. Many strange things happen there, and Leryn is the young bard who records it all.

Ralph_Allens_Castle_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1762356Two installments have been posted, and several more are set to post as autumn progresses.

If you are curious, the link to chapter one is here: Bleakbourne on Heath: Tenneriff’s Curse and the link to chapter two, the Demon Knight is here.

That tale was inspired by a photo of a Castle Folly I saw on Pinterest. I love Pinterest, but I get most of my inspiration and ideas from Wikimedia Commons, just randomly searching the classical art there.

Socks and Sandals MemeI also find that lots and lots of time just sort of dissolves as I am doing that–perusing  the great art of the masters is as much of a time-eater as Facebook, but without the memes.

However, the temptation to turn them into memes is sometimes overwhelming. I look at them, and wonder what was going through their minds at the time the painter caught them. Probably it was “Please make him paint faster,” but you know I can just leave it at that.

Sometimes it’s hard to contain myself when these wonderful images give me so much food for thought.


If you happen to be at out and about Saturday the  10th of October, in the Renton area south of Seattle, stop in at the AFK E&E, and visit my friends who will be signing books and having a great time in general. They will be Reading in the Dark, and the event will run from 2:00pm to 9:00pm in the back left of the restaurant.

  • AFK Elixers & Eatery
  • 3750 E Valley Rd.
  • Renton, WA 98057

You will find these great authors: A.J. Downey, Jeffrey Cook, Lee French, Sechin Tower, Tina Shelton, and Shannon L. Reagan and several more. I can’t wait to see what they are offering us!

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Book signing events, the art of Paul Cornoyer, and inspiration

From left to right, Sechin Tower, Lindsay Schopfer and Connie J. Jasperson at Forever Knight Games 5-16-2015

From left to right, Sechin Tower, Lindsay Schopfer and Connie J. Jasperson at Forever Knight Games 5-16-2015

The signing at Forever Knight Games in Olympia went well. I met several wonderful authors I hadn’t had a chance to meet in person: Sechin Tower, Jolene Loraine, Rachel E. Robinson (Maquel A. Jacob), and Erik Kort. We were joined my my good friends, authors Lee French, Lindsay Schopfer, and Jeffrey Cook. These wonderful people write great books, and I was privileged to be counted among them!

We had a great time, and it was a good first event at that venue. I want to thank all my friends for coming out and meeting my favorite local authors. Tower of Bones was my big seller–which makes me happy.

paul cornoyer rainy day in madison square

Rainy Day in Madison Square, Paul Cornoyer

But then, after the big party was over (and it was a party–believe me) I had to drag myself back to reality. As I said the other day, sometimes my head isn’t in the right place for reading. At the event this last weekend, a friend asked me how that inability to read without the editor in my head making noise affects my ability to write. I had to answer that it does affect it to a certain extent.

The reason being in an editing frame of mind affects my writing is that while I am creative, it is like my creativity has to go through a maze to get to the ends of my fingers and into written form.

It’s a sloooooow process.

Paul Cornoyer Winter twilight along Central Park

Winter Twilight Along Central Park, Paul Cornoyer

I do a lot of things to jumpstart that creativity. I  clean things I don’t really care about under normal circumstances.  Something about a really orderly environment gets my mind relaxed enough to work properly.

Sometimes I write flash-fiction, 100 to 1000 word short stories.

I find great art that really makes my mind click–Wikimedia Commons is awesome for that.  Today I came across a download of a picture that, two years ago, sparked a 250 word flash-fiction. That  image, which I will get to later, was painted around the year 1910 by an American artist, Paul Cornoyer.

Paul Cornoyer -Gloucester

Glouster, Paul Cornoyer

His work is quite intriguing, and much of is done in an impressionistic style.

According to the Fount of all Knowledge, Wikipedia, Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement. Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.

The thing about the impressionists that so inspires my writing is that they don’t give you all the details–they give you what they saw including the mood of the piece.

Paul_Cornoyer_-_The_Plaza_After_Rain

The Plaza After Rain, Paul Cornoyer

In so many ways, good literature is like good art–all the important things are there, everything the eye needs to have a perfect vision of the mood, the setting, and characters–everything is there within the piece, but with economy. When you limit yourself to expressing the complete idea of the story in less than 300 words, you discover just how well (or how badly you can write.)

This last picture is the piece that inspired one of my better, short pieces of Flash Fiction, which will be featured later this month on Edgewise Words Inn. I will post links to that here when it goes up

It is called The Plaza After Rain. I love it because, even though it depicts New York City in a different time, it shows the way rain is in the springtime. The sky is dark, but the trees are just beginning to leaf out. The streets are wet with rain, but a hint of blue is showing through the dark sky. When you see this painting, you feel like sunshine could happen any minute.

That is what we try to convey in flash fiction, and that is why it’s so important to practice writing in short, complete bursts. You never know when one will become a longer tale, so you will have a backlog of  fodder to fuel your creativity when you need a good story idea. Being able to create an entire story in 3 paragraphs is an art. Sometimes I can do well at that, and sometimes not so much.

 

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Filed under Battles, Blogger, Books, Games, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

When this job becomes work: the book signing event

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL AUTHORSI must admit, I am not really a people person. I’m a bit awkward, and not really sure of myself, and I have a sense of humor that is too off-the-wall for most people. That is one reason why being an author is such a good fit for me–I can work from home and most of my interactions are imaginary.

Nevertheless, there are times when I must put on the public persona of the Successful Author. I’m not really that good at this one-on-one public thing…yet. I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in multi-author events with other indie authors, with more experience at it, and I’ve been able to see how they approach the gig.

It’s tricky–you can’t just assault people, shouting “Buy my book!”

Walking the line between being obnoxious, and telling people what they want to know about the book is tricky. The minute someone asks me what Huw the Bard is all about, my mind grinds to a halt. It’s almost like I never even read it, although I do remember writing it.

My first public event was last month at NorWesCon, and that was interesting because I was a vendor, so I was there all four days, but in the vendors’ room. For me, that was a tee-shirt-and-jeans event, because I don’t own any costumes, or ren-fair clothes (yet).

My second public event was this last Saturday. Two other local indies, fantasy author Lee French, and steampunk author Jeffrey Cook joined me at the Two Sister’s Tea Room in downtown Olympia for a book signing. This was a very different situation, and was much more pleasant. This signing was timed for the middle of one of the largest festivals in the the city, the annual Procession of the Species, so we had many people stopping and conversing with us.

Dawn of Steam First LightSeveral people really stand out in my mind–I was moved to tears by one lady from Hawaii who bought Dawn of Steam, First Light, from Jeffrey.  She said she was a new reader, that she had come from a place where reading was not encouraged. She also said she was currently enjoying Charles Dickens’ classic novel,  The Pickwick Papers. I was awed by the absolute joy she took in the written word as she looked through Jeffrey’s book, and by how happy it made her that he signed it for her.

It was really brought home to me then that reading is still a privilege denied to many people of the world, often not by their wish, but by circumstances beyond their control.

dragons in pieces lee frenchThen there was the wonderful character who was absolutely crazy for dragons. He not only bought Lee’s book, Dragons in Pieces, but insisted on buying one of the little plastic Dragon heads she had created with her 3-d printer as decorations.

Lee was selling books like she owned the only snocone stand in the desert.

I wasn’t, but I had a great time anyway, and handed out a lot of book marks.

From left: Lee French, Jeffrey Cook, Connie Jasperson

From left: Lee French, Jeffrey Cook, Connie Jasperson

For that event, I went all out clothing-wise. I went to the Goodwill and shopped the fat-lady rack on senior citizens’ half-price day, and found what seemed like the perfect, brilliantly-garish, machine-washable, fancy-label jacket to wear with my rather boring black blouse and black trousers. It was only about twenty years out of style, and was the perfect price for my tapped out pocket-book: $3.99, with my old-peoples’ discount.

I am still looking for the right event-outfits. I want something a little wonderful, but with not quite as much purple as the flashy jacket. I love purple, but as an accent color.

Our next event is in three weeks, so that gives me a lot of time to find something suitable for the comfy grandma who writes RPG game-based hack-and-slash epic adventures, and also sometimes writes literary fantasy.

Maybe what I need is a green velvet renaissance faire dress, with Cloud’s buster-sword from Final Fantasy VII in a shoulder scabbard. That  should get my style of writing across well enough.

cloud strife and buster blade

 

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Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Conventions: Hawking your books vs attending the convention

Lee French at Norwescon 2015 in NIWA Booth

Lee French at Norwescon 2015 in NIWA Booth

Going Indie means going it alone, and doing it the hard way. However–there are now small bands of indies coming together to help each other, and in the process, help themselves.

One such organization is Northwest Independent Writers Association, an organization of indie and small-press authors based in Western Oregon and Western Washington. We seem to be situated along the I-5 corridor from south of the Portland area north through the Seattle area.

This last week I attended Norwescon, carpooling the first day with fellow Myrddin Publishing Group author, Lee French. She is an awesome person, as well as a wonderful, creative author.

My book, Huw the Bard, was in the rack at the NIWA table, and I met some of the most wonderful people: Angela Korra’ti, Madison Keller, Jake Elliot, and Luna Lindsey were all there, manning the table and helping each person who stopped to find a book that fit them, regardless of if it was their own book or not–we were selling each others’ books as well as our own.

I ran into my good friend, fellow NIWA  member, Thomas Gondolfi , who was working his own booth.

Saturday night, Lee, Jake, Angela and I had dinner with fellow NIWA member, steampunk author, Jeffrey Cook.

Huw the Bard at NorwesconMy feet are killing me–today, I am not sure I will do it again, but I am glad I did this time.  My view will likely change as I begin to feel rested again.

Huw the Bard was not a good fit for that venue–they were more into fairies and steampunk, which Huw is obviously not. However, I think he would do well at a ren-fair, as the people who were interested in him were all ren-fair people.  Most likely my best books for a gaming venue will be my World of Neveyah series, as it is RPG game-based, and gaming of all varieties is what Norwescon is all about.

Standing in the booth for most of 4 days did me in, I do confess.  I also was somewhat of a 5th wheel, in that the booth was too small for the number of authors who were there and willing to contribute their time and energy to the project. There was only room for 1 chair, and so we stood. I felt a bit unnecessary, at times, which is not a good way to feel, but they very kindly tolerated me.

Angela Korra’ti has a knack for selling her books, and I tried to learn as much as I could from her. Jake Elliot and Lee French seemed to know what they were doing too–there is definitely a learning curve to pitching your book live and in person.

norwesconBeing an indie author, or being published by a small press means you are on your own as far as getting the word out about your books.  This means if you want your books seen at a convention, you have to pay for the table, buy your stock, and get the word out, because no one else will.

It also means you must spend the convention in the dealers’ room at your booth, pitching your product to strangers, rather than taking in the panels and hearing speakers like George R. R.  Martin. But I did see him in the lobby while I was getting coffee, and I saw many, many people who really love his work, far more than I do–and they stood for hours to get to see him.

I would have loved to hear George speak, but I had books of my own to hawk. I never thought I would live long enough to be able to say that.

This is where you discover that going indie means honing an elevator pitch that will sell your book in thirty seconds. That will be my next trick.

cashbox 3This is also where you discover that the Sparco cash-box you bought, and  that was not cheap, is nearly impossible to unlock, but it makes an awesome weapon if you are ever mugged on the way back to your hotel. Which I wasn’t, but I’m an author, and that’s how I think.

It’s also where you discover that your target audience was not at that convention.

Most importantly, this is where you realize that your poor old feet are  just not up to you spending 10 hours a day standing on them.

I understand there is some controversy regarding the Hugo award nominations–but I didn’t hear them announced, as I was trying to sell books. I suppose a shakeup is inevitable, and I will have to do some reading to find out for myself what the problem is, in the eyes of the reading world.  That will be interesting–accusations of blocks of special interest groups gaming the outcome and such intrigue me, and I will definitely want to get to the bottom of that!

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