World Fantasy 2011

I got back from World Fantasy late last night.

This was the fourth WFC that I’ve been to, and the third in a row, following San Jose and Colombus.  This year the con was in San Diego, which was pretty good for temperature, but it was dry as hell (maybe not hell, but dryer than the midwest).

This World Fantasy was a big one for me: I performed my first two fiction readings at a convention, with a personal reading and participating in a group reading.  I also pitched Shield & Crocus to a couple of editors and spent good time talking and brainstorming with client publishers Night Shade Books, Prime Books, and ChiZine Publications.

Reading:

My reading was in the first programming slot on Thursday (3pm) which turned out to be great, since many of my friends/colleagues from the Codex Writers Group were in attendance, as well as some personal friends (Scat Hardcore in the house!).  I rehearsed last weekend and got feedback from my brilliant girlfriend Meg, and was prepared to bring the awesome.  I read most of the first chapter of Shield & Crocus, since I’d just finished the big revision, had it fresh in my brain, and wanted to push the novel to help with things like pitching to agents/editors and such.

Thanks to practice, and my years of training as a performer (gamer, dancer, singer, sales rep), it went marvelously.  I had sound effects and robot voices.  I realized just after banging the wall behind me that maybe the people on the other side of the wall might be disturbed, but no one complained and it had a great effect on my audience.  I’m very happy with that as the first of many public readings in my career.  The group reading went well also, though I had barely 5 minutes due to a scheduling mishap.  There I read from “Last Tango in Gamma Sector,” and didn’t have enough time to get to the emotional breakup scene, but the audience seemed to be amused by the awesomeness of tango-piloted starships.

Social:

Each year, socialization gets easier for me at WFC, since my circles of friends and acquaintances grow after every convention.  Most delightful was seeing my friends from Bloomington, the Scat Hardcore crew who have scattered to the four winds, off to the Bay Area, Delaware, and the Big Apple.  The five of us had dinner on Saturday, and it was lovely.  Second best was continuing to hang with the Codex Writers posse, meeting new people and re-connecting with others.

Professional:

I wear two hats at World Fantasy:  Writer and Sales Rep.  Having the sales-side experience has been great for my ability to contribute to conversations and present myself as a publishing professional, since I have something that lets me stand out from other aspirant and neo-pro writers.  I met several folks on the Night Shade Books staff that I’d communicated with through email but hadn’t talked to in-person, which was great, since my gig on the sales side involves working with people in all departments of a publishing house: editorial, publicity, marketing, sales, and so on.  I also met the main editor for Prime Books, and chatted with the Prime folks on strategy and publishing trends.  I got to check in with the folks at ChiZine Publications as well, and am very excited for their upcoming titles as well as their World Fantasy Award nomination (they didn’t end up winning, but even a nomination is a big honor for any press).

The big win on the writer side was that I’d decided to try to find opportunities to pitch Shield & Crocus to editors, and managed to do so twice, each with presses that have put out work that I greatly admire.  I think either could be a good home for the novel, and I’m looking forward to their responses.

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