Farpoint Convention Wrap-up and General Thoughts

Morning all. I know it might seem a little odd that I didn’t liveblog the third day of my Farpoint convention experience. Maybe it seemed that I had lost interest, I’m not sure, but no. The truth is that Sunday turned out to be such a busy day that I simply didn’t have the time to handle sales and update the blog. Good news, right? Absolutely. While I didn’t break even (and let’s face it, few authors do), I increased my visibility, made some friends, and had a blast. So let’s tidy up the loose ends on this thing.

First I want to express my deepest gratitude to my table neighbors, Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Mike McPhail (both from Dark Quest Books) for giving a rookie some pointers.

They gave me some brilliant ideas for future appearances and pointed out what might not be working. I appreciate that. I treat my publication business in the same manner that I treat my day job – any new knowledge is useful – and they gave me a lot to chew on. Hope to run into them at future shows.

I know my Friday entry seemed a little pessimistic, and Saturday morning felt a little rough, but at some point I finally “got” that I was there for a marketing/PR appearance, not to make money. Once that clicked, I started to warm up and ended up having a blast. It funny, too; once that occurred, my sales picked up. My three-day numbers wouldn’t blow anyone away, but it a pretty good start for a newbie.

As I mentioned on Saturday, I got to meet Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame and Felicia Day. I also got to shake the hand of Peter David, the author who has handled writing duties on the Dark Tower comic series. I know I’ve talked about my love-hate relationship with that series, but overall it had more good than bad, and it felt great to share my enthusiasm with him.

Sunday felt good. I had more visitors and felt more able to get into the flow. I engaged folks as they passed and managed to draw a few folks who seemed interested. We had to leave early as the other business needed some tending – that does, after all, help to fund this side of things – but overall I felt positive about the experience. So positive, in fact…

That I can confirm we’ll be making an appearance at Parafest 2013 in Bethlehem, PA from September 6th to 8th. I’ve also sent in my registration for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, but I want to wait until that fully set up before confirming that date. I have a few other shows on my radar for the coming months, but we’ll leave that a surprise for now.

I’m also proud to announce that I’m partnering with Grammarly, a site that provides a strong second set of eyes for your work. I do think the site can replace the work of a good editor, but it goes several steps beyond Word’s grammar feature and can sharpen up drafts before they go to your editor. I’ve tried it out, and so far I like it. Give it a spin and see what you think.

Other items…we’re in the process of working on the City of the Dead cover. I can’t say too much else as things are in flux. If this weekend taught me nothing else, it’s that I may need to reconsider the current look. We’ll see.

That it for today. Watch this space for more news.

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FarPoint Convention Liveblog: Day 2

7:47 AM

Got home a little after Midnight last night. Signing session turned out to be something of a dud, as I had been tucked away in a corner away from the regular guests. To be expected, I suppose, and I do note that I’m a lot earlier in my career than a lot of those folks. Still a little frustrating. Hoping today turns out to be a better day.

10:10 AM
Just finished morning setup. Lots of folks here already.

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12:45 PM

Just gave a video interview! Not sure where it will show up. I’ll share details once I have them.

5:32 PM

Just met Giancarlo Esposito. Highlight of the day.

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But I also met Peter David!

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And Felicia Day.

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Yes, that one is signed to friend of the blog Aniko Carmean. Not a bad day after all!

FarPoint Convention Liveblog: Day 1

10:05 AM 

Hey readers. I’ve mentioned before that today marks my first convention appearance, as I’ll be sitting in the dealers room at FarPoint sci-fi convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Timonium, Maryland. You can see me in the dealers room link, about halfway down: clicky.

I’ll be selling all three of my books, along with digital redemption vouchers, signing autographs, and just being on-hand to chat. Online, I’ll be bringing you sights from the show and talking some about my experiences as they happen. I’m hoping it will be a lot of fun and that you’ll join me! See you again soon.

2:51 – It seems to be a long-running theme in my life that reliable Internet access is for other people. I pay for tethering on my phone in order to connect through my iPad where-ever I go, but inevitably the tethering connection is nigh useless, even with 4G, and so I’m queueing this entry up as I hope for a more solid connection.

Arrived at the hotel about an hour ago, not sure if I was in the right place – until I saw this on the car next to me:

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Yeah. That’s a good sign. So I came in, picked up the badge, found my table and used the restroom; hey, sue me, it’s a long drive from Bethesda to Timonium. After some struggle getting my books in (let’s just say their sidewalk is very uneven and my chosen box week on one side), I got set up. It looks something like this:

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I’m already tempering my expectations. There are lots of goofy toys to compete with, not to mention some really finely crafted work. I’m in the back corner, the writer’s ghetto, and appear to be the first arrival. I’m seated between two publishers and across the way from another writer, which presents some unique competition. 

As usual, I feel like a geek adrift. I don’t know what it is about pure sci-fi fans but I just never quite feel comfortable with them, though I would like to understand them. I suspect it’s a problem of language. Sure, I know what a Tardis is and I’ve heard bazinga many times in my life, but my geeky obsessions have always tended toward darker fare. I’d love to go to a show and see a discussion of something like Alien or the Dark Tower series. Still, I’m going to do my best and pay my dues. More later.

4:30 PM
Have lost some people when they realize there’s a supernatural element to my work. Disappointing.

5:00 PM
Slow day so far. Taking the time to work on City of the Dead.

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5:05 PM

Broke the ice. First sale.

6:29 PM

This evening has been slow, but I got some tips from a lady who’s been doing this for 11 years. That’s some real value. The day has been a microcosm of my career to this point, going from optimistic to pessimistic to somewhat confident. Favorite moment so far? A woman shook my hand and said she admired folks like me who put ourselves out there artistically. Very cool. If nothing else, this will be a growth experience. The signing session tonight still has potential.

7:12 PM
Just spotted Felicia Day on her way to the opening ceremony. One of those weird celebrity moments where you think, ‘oh hey they really look like… Ohhhh yeah.’ Much shorter than I expected.

9:05 PM
Back from dinner and boy did I need it. Signing in about an hour, so I’m going to write for awhile. Latest shot of the table.
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Also, me.

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