Tag Archives: WorldCon

Weekly Update: New Beginnings

Editor’s Note: I don’t know why I didn’t start out posting my updates on my blog but I’m adding the ones I’ve done so far and will add them each week.

Greetings all

Welcome to my brand new mailing list. This email will give you an idea of what to expect. I’ll be looking to post each Monday or so.

Quote of the Week

This quote symbolizes my life as a writer. At times, I have rued not starting writing professionally sooner, but my mother has pointed out that the challenges I’ve faced along the way have helped make me a better writer. Don’t tell her that I agree with her.

Anyway, this comes from the title track of Clockwork Angels, the most recent album by Rush. And yes, the first quote had to come from Rush.

“All the journeys
Of this great adventure
It didn’t always feel that way
I wouldn’t trade them
Because I made them
The best I could
And that’s enough to say”

Clockwork Angels, Rush

Works In Progress
– I am working on adding wiki links to The Eyes of a Doll. This will be completed early next week.
– I am also making progress on the next Edward novel, which will be called Where Now the Rider. Tentative release date is 30 November.
– Catching up with WorldCon contacts.
– Baby steps made on arranging for an audiobook. It’s still vaporware for the moment, but I made contacts at WorldCon that should help.

 News

– You’re looking at the big news. I’ve added a mailing list.
– My WorldCon After Action Report is up at: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=427

Upcoming Events
– 27 August: Cattle Raids in Lincoln, NE
– 2-5 September: Valor in Wichita, KS
Tentative 10 September: King’s Company of Archers in Smithville, MO
– 16-18 September: Dodecacon in Columbia, MO
Tentative 23-25 September: Gryphon’s Fest in Warrenton, MO
– 30 September – 2 October: Kansas Author’s Club convention in Lawrence, KS

– 8 October: Calontir Fall Crown in Omaha, NE

Let me know if you have any suggestions at rob@robhowell.org.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels
Website: www.robhowell.org
Blog: www.robhowell.org/blog
Shijuren Wiki: http://www.shijuren.org/World+of+Shijuren+Home
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robhowell.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhodri2112

Currently Available Works
A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Bk 1)
The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Bk 2)
I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Bk 1)

Weekly Update Archive

WorldCon AAR

What a tiring week. WorldCon stretched from noon on Tuesday for dealer setup to Sunday evening. I’m ready for a beer. In this case, my last Nickelbrook Headstock from Pennsic.

I got to the South Dock at Bartle Hall on time. There really was no organization for checking in dealers, but I found my table easily. And setup was a dream. They provided pallets and forklifted the pallets by our tables. I was arranged and nested by 2pm.

The rest of Tuesday was helping Kate Paulk set up. We went running hither and you and back to hither. Then we organized the room just as Jonathan and Betsy Lightfoot joined us. I’d never met them before, but they’re a wonderful couple I enjoyed chatting with throughout the con. We then went to Jack Stack’s for food and soon dropped Kate back off because she was “stick-a-fork-in-her-done-done-done.”

As a side note, Jonathan has Rhodri as his RenFest stage name, which caused a double-take when I saw his badge 🙂

In general, I spent the entire con at my booth. I had one quick pass mostly to look at how other people were doing their booth to learn how I can improve mine. I saw a few things I can improve upon, mostly notably something I’d already seen and that’s the creation of a mailing list. I don’t know why I had not thought about this two years ago, but I didn’t. Better late than never. Expect to hear about that this week.

Overall sales were slow. I heard that from a number of vendors that it was much slower than they expected. I attribute my own slower than hoped for sales to two main factors. One, WorldCon consisted of a high percentage of people who flew to the event and did not want to carry books back. I should have anticipated this and expected to have higher e-book requests. I handed out a ton of bookmarks and I’ve already seen increased e-book numbers. I’ll know more in the next few weeks.

The second reason is the expense of the con. Depending upon when you bought entry, it was something like $200 to get in. I think that hurt sales for two reasons. One, it reduced the number of attendees. Two, it reduced the ready cash for the attendees. From a financial perspective, I doubt I’ll ever sell at WorldCon again, unless by some chance I’m living in the same city it is being held at again or someone else pays for it.

From a publicizing perspective, I think it was worth the $420 I spent for table and entry fee. I made a large number of connections concerning a variety of topics. I also think I got my name out to quite a few fans who may not have bought anything now, but will remember me. We’ll see. It’s hard to tell, of course.

Overall, I’m glad I went, even though I barely saw the con. I did one pass prior to opening with Nic on Saturday. I never had any energy after the day’s work at the booth to do much with the things scheduled afterwards. Because of that, I’ll leave it to others to discuss the events of the WorldCon. I really only can tell you about the vendors around me 🙂

I will say I wish they had been more welcoming of indie authors on panels. They rejected my application to be on panels, so I had no other responsibilities besides the booth. I suppose I can understand their hesitation if only because none of the decision makers had ever heard of me. However, organizers at other cons have not known who I was and given me a chance. I’m actually really good on panels because of my stage training and herald experience in the SCA. If we want to grow SF/F as a genre, that means supporting new authors. LibertyCon people understand this. Ad Astra people understand this. Many other cons understand this. It’s disappointing that WorldCon decided to reject my application completely. Seems short-sighted to me, as I’m sure there were others much like me that they did not use.

Nevertheless, I got my name out. Handed out a bunch of bookmarks. Met a lot of people. Sold a few books. Ran myself ragged. I’ll take it. Now for bed.

 

 

Pennsic 2016 AAR

On June 14 I left for SCA 50 Year. Exactly 2 months later, 61 days, I’ve returned from Pennsic. In the intervening time I have been home for 8 days. It’s so nice to be in *my* chair.

I took some extra time on the trip to do something important, and that was have a wonderful picnic with my apprentice Judith. Between my schedule and her health we haven’t had much time since she accepted a belt from me last November. We went to a park and watched ducks and talked about all sorts of things. She’s been working on lacework. Beautiful, intricate, and something I could never do. She’s amazing.

Also, by traveling slower I can stop and work along the way. If I schedule an extra day or two I really don’t suffer much loss of productivity.

It’s important to get to Pennsic early for me because of the bardic circle I sponsor on the first Monday at Pennsic. I can’t remember if it’s been five or six years since I decided to do it, but it’s been something I very much look forward to. Apparently, I’m not the only one, as this year the circle was huge. Lots of great performers. Lots of great people.  So many people I ran out of chairs. Many thanks to His Highness Atlantia for sending his people for spare benches. So many people I ran out of water. Many thanks to Her Excellency Belanna for loaning me a flat of water.

Really pleased so many people showed up, though, and I’ll have more of both next year.

On Tuesday the 2nd, we opened Drix’s booth. From Wednesday through Friday the 12th I spent most of my time there, arriving 10ish each day and leaving 6ish most days.

Overall, my time there was extremely productive, though I did not reach my sales goal. There is context, however, last year was Drix’s largest year ever and this was towards the slow end so I probably had much more traffic last year. Also, last year had significantly better weather, and book sales at events are affected dramatically by the weather.

I got a lot done when I wasn’t selling, though. I worked through what I’m discovering is the hardest part of writing books, the 5-20k word range. This part involves a lot of writing – cutting – rewriting – cutting – and so on. I’m taking the basic idea and forming the exact pattern with all of this rewriting. I think I have the structure for Where Now the Rider going.

I have to take this moment to thank Nicolaa. She reviewed The Eyes of a Doll in the Pennsic Independent. Last year, she gave me a great review on ALMD in the Independent right when I needed the emotional boost. I was pleased to receive another good review from her, and I had at least one person buy a book because of it. Thanks much, Nicolaa.

As traffic increased in the second week, I shifted to retrofitting  ALMD and TEOAD to include links to wiki entries for all the people, places, and weird stuff on the e-book versions. I completed ALMD and it is now live in updated form. I also made progress on TEOAD. The feedback I’ve had both from people who have already bought I Am a Wondrous Thing and those looking at it has been, without exception, positive. I’ve been really anxious to get these done, and editing wiki entries is great for higher traffic days as I can step away at a moment’s notice.

A side note. My new package through Verizon is expensive, but I now have a ton of data and the wifi hotspot feature allowed me fast wifi even at Pennsic. I’m excited about some of the possibilities that this freedom will give me.

As for Pennsic as Pennsic, I had a reasonably good time. I’m really glad I’ve lost some weight, as between my job, my responsibilities to help around the shop, and the things I contribute to the party, I was swamped. I did not have energy to go out and seek parties after working, but I did have the energy to hang out in the Royal Pavilion most nights. That’s perhaps my favorite part, anyway.

My big highlight of the war was the opportunity to herald TRMs Logan and Ylva into opening court. As we chatted beforehand, I made a whimsical comment, and Logan said, “I like that.” and so I heralded them into court as “Logan the well-beloved and Ylva the one we actually like!”

Prior to court, in the waiting for things to start, was another highlight when Ealdormere and Calontir sang songs back and forth at each other. Really good time, especially since Garraed made a cameo.

Wednesday through Friday was still extremely hard. I was in the shop for 14 hours on Wednesday because of Midnight Madness (We’re MAAAAADDDD!). I really like Midnight Madness, but it *is* exhausting. Thursday I tried to work, but barely had an hour and a half there. I came back in time to see Dongal beg the boon for Gavin, which is wonderful.

The Calontir Party is usually a lot of work for me, and this year was no exception. I cleaned the lamps, organized the incinetrons, and set up the bar. There’s no way I could have done all of this if I had not had help. Jack brought me lamps. Ian put them back. Tim Leatherhand helped move the heavy stuff. Emma, the baby huscarl, got the alcohol on Wednesday so I didn’t have to. But my big hero was Demetrios, who volunteered to do the town run to refill the propane bottles we use and get ice. This gave me the chance to get a nap before court.

I needed the nap as I was also TRM’s herald for court. Really happy to see Halvgrimr get created a Laurel in a drive-by ceremony. The best part, I have to admit, is watching Sibilla’s face the moment she realized Fionnuala was begging her boon to make her a Laurel. One of the highlights of being a herald is getting to know what is coming so you can know where and when to look.

After court was the Calontir party. We think it wasn’t as well-attended as some, and the potential for rain might have been a reason, but we still had a great time. Wohlgemut got there fairly early and, as usual, were awesome. We had a good singing circle later on. Really liked Gwen’s new drink, which consisted of lingenberry juice, vodka, and tonic water. I’m calling it the Ikea. Next time we need to garnish it with a meatball stuck on an Allen wrench.

Friday was tough. I was still tired from Wednesday, and I had gotten to bed at 3am after closing the party. I was hoping for a lot of traffic of people following up on their plan to buy books later in the war. However, I only got a few doing so. Ah, well.

I knew I was going to pack down on Saturday morning, so I went to bed fairly early. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep and barely got two hours of sleep before waking up 7ish. I was packed and ready to go by 10ish, but I was exhausted. I never once had the idea I would make the drive in one day, though I have done so in the past. I took a nap in Mansfield and I got to Terre Haute at 7:50, just in time to get a hotel so I could watch the Cowboys v. Rams pre-season game. Perfect timing.

Today, I drove the last 7 hours and now my car is completely unpacked. I’ve a ton to do to clean up after a wet, humid Pennsic, including a boatload of laundry, but progress is being made.

Overall, I would call Pennsic another moderate success. I’m definitely making progress in sales, but it’s still tough sledding. I can’t thank Drix enough for giving me the space.

Looking forward, WorldCon is this week. I’m hoping for some sales there, though I don’t anticipate much. I can still hope. After that, I’ve got a few events scheduled, but I’m going to plan out my schedule for the next year. I need to get west of the Rockies to both SCA events and cons, and I need to do so as cheaply as possible.

So I had a good time when I could, worked as much as I could, and got to see cool things happen to good people. I’ll take it.

 

 

More Catching Up

I was going to post a bunch of stuff about SCA 50 Year, and I realized I myself wanted to find a TL:DR version, so clearly it wasn’t worth a whole blog post. Here it is:

I got the book done. I sold some. Met some new people. As land agent, everyone had a spot. We did have a few noise complaints. We warned them. Quite a bit of cool stuff, but there could have been more. Equestrians were definitely the star of the show.

Ok, enough of 50 Year, on to Trillium War. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break, as I probably won’t have a chance to write and won’t have much opportunity to sell, but I need a little down time because next week is very exciting for me.

I’ll be at LibertyCon with a book release party of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll also be on a panel, a reading, and several shots at Author’s Alley. A big weekend for me.

As I say, I’m really excited. This is my third LibertyCon, along with a ChattaCon, and I’m starting to know and be known. Now I go there with 3 books instead of 1, and next year intend to have 5. Making progress.

I hope to maybe have some opportunities to take some of the small stories in my head and find some anthologies that match, and there’s one person in particular I want to chat with. I’ll be stalking him.

This has already been a long, tiring trip, but I have a week of friends and smiling and singing.

In terms of what’s next for me as a writer after LibertyCon. I will spend much of the time between then and Pennsic planning my fall and spring. I will also be doing Pennsic prep, of course. I will throw a few words at Where Now the Rider, and I plan on writing a lot of that at Pennsic. I’ll be sitting in Drix’s booth, writing, waiting for people to come by. By the end of Pennsic, I suspect I’ll be in the 30k range, with a goal to complete a draft by the end of September.

After Pennsic comes WorldCon. I’ll talk about that more later. For now, it’s time to order some bookmarks.

Catching Up

Today was a day for cleaning out my email, working on promotional stuff like my website, and planning on new conventions. Let’s see if I can remember everything I did:

  • Registered for World Fantasy Con in October.
  • Registered for WorldCon in August.
  • Registered on Goodreads as an author.
  • Updated my Amazon authors page.
  • Updated my website. More images and general coolness.
  • Made a new banner for the website.
  • Put a bunch of links to my wiki for the World of Shijuren.
  • Sent information to LibertyCon for two of my Authors Alley books.
  • Updated my WordPress blog site with some new images.
  • And, oh yeah, actually did a blog post.

Not a bad day’s work. Lots of important things taken care of.

My favorite, as you will find out, is the Shijuren wiki at http://www.robhowell.org/shijuren. Basically, this will ultimately be the entire repository of all my Shijuren world-building. There are only 170 or so entries right now, but I’m adding them consistently. There are also snippets of the novels you can find by searching “From the Books,” including snippets of I Am a Wondrous Thing, which will be released in June. So if you want to find sneak peaks, you can search for “IAAWT” for the pieces I’ve put up already. More is coming.

I keep learning things. Like I didn’t realize Goodreads was attached to Amazon, so I never made an author’s page there. I’m fixing that. I also learned that Amazon doesn’t necessarily link new works to an author’s page. Fixed that too.

I also added a few more images to my Amazon page and my official website. If you watch my Facebook page, you might very well have seen them already, but they’re some of my favorites of me. I also made a new banner image for the website and this blog, including one of the images I added. I think it’s pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.

I should take this time to thank Patrick McEvoy. I keep finding new ways to use the cover art he did for A Lake Most Deep. He did a fantastic job, and I’m really liking what’s coming from it. I’ll be unveiling a new actual banner this weekend at Kansas City’s ComicCon that is also based on that artwork and I think it will look fantastic.

I’m clearing the decks because Kellie has given me the next edits of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll be pounding away at getting that ready for publishing as soon as possible. I have to say, I really enjoy working with Kellie. She’s not only great at catching mistakes, but also places where I’ve not necessarily made a mistake, but could use strengthening. I can’t recommend her enough.

I’m also really excited about ComicCon this weekend, but I’ll talk about my excitement on a post later this week.

Now, I think it’s time for some lounging and thinking about how to execute all the directives Kellie gave me.

Cheers all