Back From World Fantasy Con

I’m back from World Fantasy Con in San Diego. For those unfamiliar with this convention, its tone is more of a professional conference, though fans may attend. The attendance is limited to 850, but with exceptions made here and there the membership is usually about 1000. It features the usual programming: panels, dealers’ room, art show, mass autographing, only it’s ramped up several notches. Some of the panels are light in tone, such as the one I was on, “But Can You Bring Him Home to Mother?” about the problems of having a paranormal boyfriend, and others like “The Lands of Islam” are worthy of being in a college curriculum.

I’ve been to WFC before as a fan. This was my first experience attending as an author, and I have to say, it was pretty cool. By virtue of the fact that I was on the program and have two books out, people seemed to believe I knew what I was talking about. 🙂

Another wonderful feature of going to WFC is that it gave me the opportunity to meet old friends and learn from them. Gini KochMike Stackpole, and Bob Vardeman among others took me under their respective wings, gave me valuable advice about self-publishing and marketing, and introduced me to their friends and agents and editors. It was a hugely valuable networking experience.

Self-publishing and digital publishing  were a hot topic, and I overheard conversations both E-vangelizing and decrying self-publishing as the road to perdition.

Not surprisingly, the cover for VEILED MIRROR proved to be better liked than the cover for LIGHTBRINGER. This was a fantasy convention after all, and a half naked man was too romance oriented for most (though not all) of those who offered an opinion.

Speaking of covers, I’m starting to plan my covers for The Vinlanders’ Saga, a duology of romantic fantasies. According to my critique partners, they’re a 50/50 blend of fantasy and romance. While I see romance readers as my primary market, I’d like fantasy fans to be comfortable picking one up, or out of an online listing. I’d love to hear from you about what a covers for these books should look like. You can read descriptions of DANGEROUS TALENTS and FORBIDDEN TALENTS  at Castle Rock Publishing.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Back From World Fantasy Con

  1. Frankie – that is so awesome. I’m glad you had a great time.

  2. Sounds like a great conference!

    • Alica, Casey, it was a great conference and I did have a great time, even though I was pretty nervous before hand. I almost didn’t sign up to do a panel, because I felt like I was small potatoes, but I’m glad I made myself do it. The funny thing was, another woman sitting right next to me observed when we introduced ourselves that she was the least experienced of the five of us since she only had a few short stories out. (Only three months ago that would have been me.) Even so, she was there, promoting herself and her work.

  3. Shannon-Nicole

    You know what they say, you never regret trying something and failing but you always regret not trying. Good for you for getting up there. And Gini Koch is a character. It must have been fun being on with her.

  4. I love conferences. Most authors are wonderful and helpful. And the workshops are great. Networking is a must on a conference!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful time! And, congrats on pushing your comfort zone! Public speaking of any kind can be daunting no matter how often you do it. When I worked as an eLearning manager I would give presentations at industry cons, and people would ask me how I got over my queasy feeling and the nerves when I first started and I told them “I don’t know, I never have!” I think it’s really normal to be nervous no matter what stage of your career you’re in. I was as nervous presenting during year five as the first time I did it. The late Yul Brynner used to get stage fright and he would do this odd breathing exercise while pushing against a wall backstage before he went on. I read an article about it year’s ago, and ended up teaching the technique he used to my staff of classroom trainers. That stuff helps, but if you’re not a truly outgoing person, you always have some level of the nervous queasies you have to push yourself past. How does the saying go?… the opposite of fear is not courage, it’s being afraid and doing it anyway? It’s another rung on the ladder of career success!

    • Several years ago I realized that I believed that to be a successful author I’d have to be willing to speak in public. Our local RWA chapter gave me the opportunity to speak to an audience I trusted. I must have done well enough that first time, because they invited me back–more than once. Now I know that audiences really want you to succeed. It’s actually not that hard to talk when your subject is something you really know and are passionate about. I will be forever grateful to our chapter for giving me the chance to learn that.

  6. What a great venue for you! Anything you can do for more publicity is worth it.

    • Thanks for reading, Ilona!

      Another author once observed that the fraction of the reading public which goes to conventions is so small that traveling to conventions probably doesn’t have any direct impact on his sales. Nevertheless, he still goes to more conventions than most authors. (He also teaches classes at some of those conventions, which does generate income.)

      I go because I enjoy it (and I can deduct the expense.) If I gain a sale or two from it, all the better! 🙂

  7. I haven’t been since 1991. The dark ages, practically, in publishing terms.

    But I’m going to Toronto’s WFC next year.

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