DragonCon debriefing

DragonCon is really my favorite holiday of the year for various reasons.  First, I get to see friends that I don’t see at any other time of year.  And it’s always so familiar and lovely, and I can’t hug them enough when I do see them.  Second, there are amazing writing panels there that really inspire me to do the writing I should be doing anyways.  This year was no exception.  Third, several tens of thousands of geeks.  What’s not to love?

This year was a little different for us.  Bear actually took part in 3 performances with the Atlanta Radio Theater Company.  It was great, because it gave him a lot of exposure and confidence.  He’d never really performed in front of that many people before, and it was a fabulous experience.  He got to feel more professional, and have a serious rockstar moment during ARTC’s performance of War of the Worlds: The Untold Story.  It kind of took away from his happy Dcon time, but it was also pretty fuckin’ cool to actually be on the schedule for some events.

I also found that I AM actually kind of into celebrities.  I always thought I was too cool to care about all the celebrities there, but there are 2 words that summarize the change in my attitude this year.  LUCY LAWLESS.  She’s not just gorgeous, but she’s also charming and very grounded.  I wish her panel had been 10 hours long.  I would have stayed for the entire thing.

Here’s my day-by-day:

Thursday: Standing in line for passes, met Sam and Adrienne @ food court, then on to Trader Vic’s.

Friday: LUCY LAWLESS.  Stolen moments in a panel.  Crazy proud of Bear, though I missed his performance of ‘In Need of a Bard’.  Picked up Duncan from school.  Realized I hadn’t seen my husbear all day and freaked out a little. Need Coffee’s recording of Weekend Justice, then Karaoke in the Xtrack room.  Didn’t get to nearly as many panels as I’d hoped.

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Saturday: Holy shit, I AM into celebrities (wandered into the Walk of Fame, where I saw Gigi Edgely, Adrian Paul, Lou Ferrigno, Malcolm McDowell, and George Takai.  I was a little star struck.). Bear didn’t have a ton of panels scheduled, so he hung out with me most of the day (lovely!).  Went to the dealer’s room and only got as far as the Chessex table before the crowds pissed me off.   Ate at Willy’s where the superior tofu tacos live.  A local man selling ‘NINJA TURTLES!!’ (Tiny, scared baby turtles being shaken around in tiny plastic boxes.  Made me cry.  I wanted to go buy one or two to rescue them from him, but I didn’t want to give that asshole my money.  :-().  Favorite two panels (Supernatural Playlist: Music in Urban Fantasy, and City of Dreadful Night: World-building in Urban Fantasy).  I almost thought about not coming next year due to the crowds.  *gasp!*

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Sunday: Much less crowded, panels started later in the day so I found an alcove in the Hyatt Tower to crash.  Author James R Tuck from the two panels the night before came and sat there while I slept, was kind of funny.  Someone walked by, saw me laying down facing the wall, and said “Now THAT is a DragonCon moment!” and took a picture of me.  More panels.  Bear’s a-fucking-mazing performance in War of the Worlds: The Untold Story.

Monday: Blew off several panels.  Went back to the dealer’s room where we decided that a bear picture was more important than the nice anniversary dinner we’d planned (an obvious choice!).  Bear’s performance in Scouring of the Shire.  Make the Bad Men Stop (the very best way to wrap up DragonCon weekend- friends being hilarious and wonderful).  Hugging everyone until next year.  Dinner with friends at High Velocity (we were too broke to order real food, but ended up full anyways because they ordered the chocolate nachos for our anniversary.  <3)

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I was a bit worried about how I would do on Dcon weekend with fibromyalgia, and it turns out that I was mostly OK.  I had trouble breathing, and that’s something I’m going to get checked out, but for the most part, I was so pumped-up on adrenaline that I carried through OK.  However, I worked Tuesday and Wednesday, and that was ROUGH.  So the weekend itself wasn’t too terrible, but the recovery period gave me some trouble.  Maybe next year I’ll suck it up and get a disability sticker.  *shrug*

All-in-all, it was a lovely weekend.  I can’t wait until next year! 🙂

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Down and Dirty Marketing for Authors (notes)

This was absolutely the most helpful panel I attended at the entire con. Again, I was trying to catch a little of EVERYTHING, and most of these notes are what I gleaned that would be applicable to my own writing and marketing style.

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Panelists: Gail Z Martin, Kiernan Kelly, Cynarra Tregarth, Sascha Illyvich

Think about Kickstarter, Twitter paper.ly.

Gail published ‘The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Marketing  -#1 mistake is not realizing that your book is a business.  Don’t assume that the publisher will take care of promotion, etc.  They usually spend their time on the big, tried and true authors.  Also, don’t wait until the book is out to start promoting it.  The idea is to have people waiting for your book by the time it actually comes out.

Kiernan Kelly- writes MM romance -Be creative and cheap.  Think of new and interesting ways to market (shows a pencil with a handmade head on it instead of just another postcard).

Cynarra Tregarth- Easiest things are to create a website and register the domain.  Group together and cross-promote.  Blog and chat together, have Facebook parties.  Add a signature to every last piece of email with as many ways to reach you as possible.  Add your FB, Twitter, website, etc.  Give people a thousand ways to find you.

Sascha Illyvich- Sizzler editions (adult).  Look at your ROI (return on investment).  Use free story sites with excerpts and well-written blurbs.  Draw people into your world. 

-Give away free short stories, not free books.  Maybe a prequel?  Do NOT write a cliff-hanger as a prequel.  At the end of the free story, give a link to pay for the book.

-Etopiapress.net, sizzlereditions.com, renaissance editions, loose-id.com.

-Look into the Kindle lending library instead of an actual free download.  Do the free book for a very limited time, then increase to $1.99 or $2.99.  $.99 seems to cheap, and a lot of people won’t buy anything less than $1.99.

-Give book away for a week and tell friends to help promote your free book.

-Print books feed your ego, ebooks feed your wallet.  People will only line up to buy your books if you speak somewhere, but ebooks will sell better if your main interaction is online.

-Kindlegraph- Kindle autograph app

-Platforms for ebook are very important.  DRM can be a pain in the ass for your readers who actually pay for the books- can sometimes require a password.  Pirates will still pirate, but they’ll pirate other books that don’t have DRM, and you can lose out on exposure that way.

-Need to establish a personality, etc, so that people like you and want to root for you.  Develop a persona.

-GET ON GOODREADS!

-Get to know websites that your target readers read.

-Try to make commections with people, build a buzz about anything you’re releasing.

-Other authors in your genre are competition, but they can also be your best friends.  Friend them on FB, congratulate them on new releases, etc.  They may return the favor.

-Do a podcast with readings?

-Also think about self pub/publisher.  You can find ways to do both!

-Always reply and say thank you to 3, 4, and 5 star reviews.  Pay attention to 1 and 2 star reviews, but don’t respond.

-Build an author support network.

-Adult Fanfiction, 1 free month if you mention D*Con.  Don’t count out fanfic people.  They’re voracious readers and will check back over and over to see if a favorite author has uploaded a new story or a new chapter.