Tag Archives: conventions

Kal’s (updated) 2018 Convention Schedule

Here’s my updated convention schedule for the year, with events I’ve already attended in italics and a new one added in bold.

LTUE February 15-17, UT

Whimsycon March 2-4, CO

Liberty Con June 29-July 1, TN

Dragon Con August 30-September 3, GA

Mile Hi Con October 19-21, CO

Yes, I’m excited to be going to Dragon Con this year as an Attending Professional.  I have no idea what my panels will look like, yet, but I’m really looking forward to the event!

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COSine 2017

For those in Colorado, I’ll be attending COSine, a Colorado Springs Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention.

It’s a fun little convention, if you haven’t been before.  I highly recommend it.  There’s always a few excellent authors in attendance and they have a variety of great topics for their panels.

My schedule:

SATURDAY  
11-noon    Characters in Combat (Breckenridge)
5:15 – 7pm   Author Reception and Mass Signing (Ballroom)

SUNDAY
10-11am   How much does that Star Cruiser cost – fictional economics  (Breckenridge)

The author reception and signing is particularly fun, so if you don’t get a chance to do much else, I recommend that especially.

Writer’s Toolbag: Attending Conventions Part 1

It is possible to have a career in writing and never attend a convention.  That said, conventions provide a wealth of opportunities for an author.  Conventions are gatherings of like-minded people.  Genre conventions, especially science fiction and fantasy conventions, are where you’ll be able to find lots of potential readers in one spot.  They’re also excellent places to network, to build relationships with other authors, to pitch ideas to editors,  and in general, get your name out there.

So, what’s the key to going to a convention and being a success?  Well, there’s two parts of this.  Assuming you’re just getting started, I highly recommend going as an attendee just to get your feet wet.  Study what other people do, learn what’s acceptable and unacceptable con behavior.   This last one is a key part.  Nine times out of ten, most of the professionals won’t remember your name or face from one convention.  They see too many people, interact with too many people, at too many conventions.  But if you’re a jerk, or annoying, they’re probably going to remember that.  So, as I said, learn what’s acceptable.  Don’t go charging in.  Take the time to get a feel for the place.

The next part is selecting an appropriate convention.  Small cons are perfect for getting your feet wet, and there’s an important part on this in that you can get some time with authors and editors without having to get pushy.

Also, know what a convention is about.  Gaming and anime conventions aren’t the best place to go for trying to network as an author or to pitch your book to potential readers.  Read up on what a convention is about before you go.  Learn who will be there.  If you don’t recognize any of the names of the guests, it probably means you don’t read their stuff and therefore what you write may not be what the readers there will be interested in.

Lastly, panels.  Panels are the main content at a lot of conventions.  These are discussions by the panelists… so if you aren’t one, don’t interrupt.  They’ll have time at the end of the panel for questions.  One of the big irritations to panelists is when someone in the audience hijacks the panel.  Do some research here, too, and pick topics and panelists you want to learn more about.

Conventions are tons of fun.  Take a friend, meet people, and enjoy yourself.  Don’t forget to keep receipts because all of this is tax deductible as an author.  Next week I’ll talk a bit about strategies on how to participate in conventions rather than attending.

 

Kal’s Convention Schedule Update

A quick update to my convention schedule.

I’ll still be attending MALCon here in Denver from 12-14 August.  It’s right around the corner so if you’re in Colorado, I highly recommend attending!

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend Dragon Con this year.  The expense of travel and hotels is too much.

I’ll now be attending Honor Con in Raleigh, NC from 28-30 October.  I’m really looking forward to that one and I’m excited to attend.  It’s a military science fiction convention, so if you’re in the area you should check it out.

Because Honor Con is the same weekend as Mile Hi Con, I won’t be able to be at both places at once.  I will no longer be attending Mile Hi Con.

That’s all for now, I’ll keep you posted on further changes to my schedule.

 

Kal’s 2016 Convention Schedule

Just a quick update since a lot of the conventions are posting guests and I have a good idea of my schedule. I’ll be attending a number of the same conventions this year, so I thought I’d post dates and locations for those of you who may attend the same ones:

Cosine – Colorado Springs, CO – January 22-23                                    (Completed, see my review here)

Starfest -Denver, CO -March 11-13

LibertyCon- Chattanooga, TN – July 8-10

MalCon – Denver, CO -August 12-14

Dragon Con – Atlanta, GA – September 2-5

Mile High Con – Denver, CO – October 29-30

I’ll keep this thread updated as things may  will change.  I’m looking at attending some other conventions, but it is hard to fit them into my extremely busy schedule.

Kal’s January 2015 Forecast

2015 is here, and boy is it busy already.  Production continues on the audiobooks for The Shattered Empire and Renegades: Origins.  I’m continuing work on Wrath of the Usurper and plan to have it done and the first version out to my alpha readers by the end of the month.  I’ve got The Prodigal Emperor outlined and I’m outlining Renegades: Out of the Cold in my free time.

If everything goes to plan, I’ll begin samples/snippets of Wrath of the Usurper sometime in February, followed by samples of The Prodigal Emperor.  I’m really excited to be working on both books and I can’t wait to get them ready and finished for publishing.  I can tell already that 2015 has the potential to be a great year and I’m starting it off with lots of projects.

I’ll be attending Cosine here in Colorado Springs from 23-25 January.  I’m excited to be participating in another local convention and this one looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.  Check here for the website.

That’s all for now, check back soon for reviews on some movies and some other content!

Independent Author’s Toolbag: Networking

If you’re like me, then networking as an author is hard.  I hate feeling like I’m coming to the table with nothing besides my hat in my hands.  I hate asking for anything, unless I can contribute something in return.  Call it work ethic, call it stubborness, call it social anxiety, whatever, I originally, and still do, find it difficult to ask for anything from those who can really help.

That is a serious issue.  Let’s be honest, the biggest hurdle for any independent author (after writing something worth reading and then getting it edited and self-published) is somehow getting their target audience to find them.  This can be greatly assisted with book recommendations by other authors, blogs, book reviews, and word of mouth.  Word of mouth sells the most, and I’m not talking “my friend wrote this book and it’s okay” word of mouth.  I’m definitely not talking “my son/daughter who is living in my basement wrote this book, please buy it so he/she gets the money to move out.”  What you want is “I met this author, he’s pretty awesome, and I really love his book, check it out.”  That kind of interaction is priceless.

You have to reach your target audience and reaching them the right way is hard, sometimes.  There’s a variety of research on the subject.  I’ve already written a post on self-promotion.  What I’m talking about now is networking, making those key connections that will not only benefit you… but benefit the community of independent writers.  You may not even think of it this way, but somewhere, someone out there needs your help just as much as you need theirs.  It may be a small thing, an introduction to someone you know, but that can be the difference between success and failure.

Networking has two aspects, the online and the physical.  Online is typically LinkedIn, G+, or the dreaded timesink FB.  It also includes blogging realms, but that is a story for another time.  You find someone who posts on a friend’s page, you like what they wrote, you might see they’re into the same thing as you, and tada, you’re friends.  Maintaining communication is a part here, striking up a conversation without being (A) a creeper, and (B) pushy is important.  If you come off as someone who is entertaining and intelligent and with something valuable to hear, then people will be more likely to remember you in a good way.  Physical networking is even more important to get write.  Have a business card, be confident, make eye contact, and above all be professional.  If you don’t have anything to bring to the table, then try to ask some questions that can help you.  (Example questions: What conventions in the area do you recommend for new authors?  Who could I talk to about participating in a panel? Introduce yourself and what you write, but don’t go into exhaustive detail about yourself.  Be specific, be brief.  There’s nothing like a 10 minute long heartfelt story of failure and depression to make any potential contact chew their leg off to escape) Here’s the brutal truth: most people will not take you seriously unless you view yourself that way.  Conventions, both fandom and writing, are excellent venues for networking.  Meeting someone face to face, talking about events or panels at the con, these are likely to stick with them and help them to remember you.  Maintain that communication through online and other such events, and you can build your professional relationships.

For me, I’ll be honest, networking is easy enough in theory, but harder to maintain those important relationships.  Part of that is maintaining communications, part of that is having something to contribute.  Let me be clear here, plenty of people are willing to give the new guy (or gal) a hand at first, but patience wears thin if all you are is a taker.  Give help, contribute, discuss, and when someone needs that introduction, help them out.

Yes, it can come back to bite you sometimes.  I arranged an introduction for an acquaintance’s kid at a business.  He never showed up.  I got a nasty call.  That kind of thing happens.  I’ve also struck up friendships as a result of networking, learned a lot about the business end of writing, and had some help passed my way more than once.  The important part of networking is to get out there and keep doing it.