Next week, for the first time, I will be attending Norwescon in Washington. Even cooler, I’ll be attending alongside my boss, Marc Gascoigne, representing Angry Robot Books as the Spotlight Publisher for the con. It’s kind of like being a Guest of Honor, but in a publisher-specific fashion. A number of our authors will be in attendance, as well. It should be a grand old time.
Here’s my schedule! I’ve left off the specific info on things that I’m not certain are open to the full attendance of the convention. It may be that some of those are in fact open, and regardless, I hope to see people during the con!
7:00pm – 8:00pm @ Grand 3 and Grand 2
Nancy Kress (M), Catska Ench, Cory Ench, Ethan Siegel, Ian McDonald, Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood
The Geek Life
11:00am – 12:00pm @ Cascade 9
Shannon (M), Shubzilla, Mike Underwood, Jason Bourget
Interview and Q&A with Angry Robot
1:00pm – 2:00pm @ Grand 2
Adam Rakunas (M), Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood
Autograph Session 1
2:00pm – 3:00pm @ Grand 2
Autograph Session 2
3:00pm – 4:00pm @ Grand 2
What’s New at Angry Robot
5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Evergreen 1&2
Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood
The Evolution of Star Wars
7:00pm – 8:00pm @ Cascade 9
Spencer Ellsworth (M), Dylan Templar, David Fooden, Mike Underwood, Rob Stewart
4:00pm – 5:00pm @ Evergreen 3&4
Rob Stewart (M), Catska Ench, Cory Ench, Ethan Siegel, Ian McDonald, Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood, Nancy Kress
As this post goes, live, I am on my way to Minneapolis, MN for NerdCon: Stories, a two-day celebration of the power of storytelling (October 14-15th). I’m honored to be a Featured Guest for the con. I’ll be on a gaming panel, reprising my How To Hand-Sell Your Book presentation, and reading during a showcase event. You can check out my full programming schedule for the con here.
I’ll also be running a booth at the con all weekend with my friend Jay Swanson. If you’re coming to the con, please swing by (#817) and say hello! I will have a limited # of the paperback omnibus editions of Genrenauts: The Complete Season One Collection, as well as other books.
Here’s a quick guide to where you can find Jay and my booth during the con:
As a special bonus, the Ree Reyes novels (speaking of Nerds + stories) are still on discount through this weekend!
I’m very excited to be a Featured Guest at NerdCon: Stories in Minneapolis, MN this October 14-15th. NerdCon: Stories is a new convention (in its 2nd year) celebrating stories and the power of storytelling. I couldn’t imagine a convention more up my alley if I started it myself. I heard great things about the con from several friends, and was eager to be a part of NerdCon: Stories this year.
And here’s where you can find me during the show:
Saturday, October 15th:
11:00 AM – Room 101A – How To Hand-Sell Your Book
Author and publishing professional Mike Underwood shares lessons from seven years of hand-selling books to readers, booksellers, and sales reps. Learn how to put your work into a market context, showcase what makes it special, and connect with readers when selling at conventions, festivals, and more.
12:30 PM – Room 101 BCHI – Storytelling in Tabletop Games
Role-playing and other tabletop games are a fantastic catalyst for collaborative storytelling. Creating narrative frameworks and game rules that allow players to have enough control over both story and interaction can be a tricky business. How do game designers do this, and what makes a game truly great?
3:30 PM – Saturday Afternoon Variety Show
Hosted by Paul & Storm
- A rapid-fire Q&A with Chris Rathjen, Eileen Cook, Joe DeGeorge, Jonathan Ying, Karen Hallion, Kevin MacLeod, Nalo Hopkinson, and Paolo Bacigalupi
- A talk by Sara Benincasa
- Daniel José Older and Nalo Hopkinson in conversation
- Ms. Pacman vs the Patriarchy – a talk by Paul DeGeorge
- A reading by Michael R. Underwood
- A lip sync battle with Blue Delliquanti, John Scalzi, Paul Sabourin, Matt Young, Mikki Kendall, and Darin Ross
- A talk by John Green
I’m very excited to reprise and further refine my How To Hand-Sell Your Book presentation, which I’ve given at the Nebula Conference and GenCon. The other programming looks fabulous, as well. Other than this official programming, you can find me in the Expo Hall all weekend! I’m sharing a booth with fellow author Jay Swanson (check out his cool real-time fantasy blog Into The Nanten). And if all goes as planned, I will have paperback copies of the Genrenauts Season One Omnibus!
Hope to see you there!
First up, I have some fun news to share if you haven’t seen it already:
That’s right – the campaign has passed the original funding goal, and now we’re pushing on for the audiobook editions of Episodes 3 and beyond! There’s still time to check out the campaign and get involved. (I’ve added some whimsy-based goals, as well as a limited edition hardcover level).
Also, I will be at BaltiCon this weekend, and if the site is to be trusted, this is my schedule:
Friday May 27, 2016
Readings: Michael Kangal, Gary L. Lester, Christie Meierz, Michael R. Underwood
Renaissance – St. George
Christie Meierz | Michael Kangal | Gary L. Lester | Michael R. Underwood
Reading 52 minutes
Saturday May 28, 2016
Sarah Pinsker, Alex Shvartzman and Michael R. Underwood Autographing
Renaissance – Autograph Table 1
Sarah Pinsker | Alex Shvartsman | Michael R. Underwood
Autographs 1 hour
Sunday May 29, 2016
Dangerous Voices Variety Hour
Renaissance – Ballroom (MD Salons CD)
Michael Underwood | Sarah Pinsker | Peter S. Beagle | Fran Wilde | Jo Walton | John Picacio
Special Event 1 hour 30 minutes
Monday May 30, 2016
Monday Gimungous Autograph Session
Renaissance – Kent
Autographs 1 hour 30 minutes
What’s Hot Short Fiction?
Renaissance – Parlor 8029
Sarah Pinsker | Michael R. Underwood | Jean Marie Ward | Scott Edelman | Alex Shvartsman
Discussion Panel 50 minutes
Last weekend, I had the fortune of attending the 50th Annual Nebula Awards Conference. I originally wasn’t planning on attending, due to an already-full con schedule, but a friend pitched me on the con, with an intent of having me participate in programming. And the panels being discussed were amazing.
Thanks to the fact that it was a professional conference instead of a consumer show, I managed to avoid coming back totally exhausted. So that’s already a win in my book, considering that I was sick for almost two weeks after C2E2.
A while back, I mused on Twitter that I wanted to see an honest-to-goodness SF/F ProCon, with a professional development focus, integrating self-publishing, traditional, and other hybrid paths. I am very happy to report that the Nebula Conference is in fact such a ProCon.
I attended programming that I wasn’t participating in, including panels on career longevity, Kickstarter, and more. It’s been a while since I attended much programming that 1) I wasn’t participating in or 2) didn’t include friends and AR authors. I usually just hang out and socialize, since not as many panels offer a lot to me these days, unless they’re more advanced in their discussions). And there was so much good programming that the fact that I was on four panel slots meant that there were even more good items that I had to miss.
My other programming highlight was the Ask an Expert sessions, where representatives from KDP, ACX, Patreon, Kickstarter, and other major companies were in attendance and making time for individual discussions. I got a lot of very useful, specific answers to questions I’d had about indie/self-publishing, and feel even more prepared as I move into being a hybrid author.
My own programming was some of the best that I’ve been a part of, and audiences seemed to get a lot out of the sessions. We had very good questions and comments from the audience in the Future of Racism panel, and my How To Hand-Sell presentation went over very well, though next year I will definitely want a projector or white-board in order to write out my Hand-Selling flow-chart.
The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller panel was very powerful, and my fellow panelists and our moderator did a great job of handling a potentially fraught topic with a lot of grace and compassion. My last programming item – promotional boot camp, was incredibly efficient and well-directed, as our moderator (Fonda Lee) solicited questions/topics at the beginning and used those to guide the conversation rather than hoping we’d cover what people wanted to hear about.
The other big programming item for me was the Mass Autographing session on Friday night, open to the public. I sold several books, signed even more, and got to catch up with several friends. I had my iPad set up with the Genrenauts Kickstarter information to help spread the word and to be one more way for me to draw people to my table. It seemed to work pretty well!
Since the Nebula Conference moves every two years, it may be harder to build up momentum, and there’s definitely some more work to be done in local outreach to make sure that the autographing sessions reach the largest possible audience. But it was already one of the best signing experiences I’ve had.
And on Saturday night was the Nebula Awards ceremony itself. John Hodgman was a fabulous toastmaster, with a great stand-up set about science fiction, including Dune references, the role that SF/F literature plays in society, and his attempt at pitching a novel to the entire room.
And then the nominees and winners. What an an amazing list of works! It was a great night for Team Once and Future Baltimore, as Fran Wilde took home the Andre Norton Award for her debut Updraft, and Sarah Pinsker (with whom I host Dangerous Voices Variety Hour) won Best Novelette with “Our Lady of the Open Road.”
Fellow Tor.com Publishing writer Nnedi Okorafor won Best Novella for her excellent story Binti, which you should also totally read.
It was a night full of heartfelt appreciation and recognition of the breadth and depth of what SF/F has to offer, and it gave me a lot of hope and excitement for the future of the genre.
I am already thinking about my plans to attend the Nebula Conference next year, when it moves to Pittsburgh. I highly recommend the con to any SF/F writer looking to make connections in the field, participate in SFWA, and/or pursue professional development in craft and/or business skills.
The Genrenauts Complete Season One Collection Kickstarter is going strong, already 80% funded. Help us hit our goal and push onward to audiobook editions!
This week, I’ll be traveling to Chicago for the Nebula Conference, put on by SFWA, the SF/F writers professional guild (I’ve been a proud member for basically my entire professional career).
I wasn’t planning on attending the conference this year, but a SFWA faerie convinced me to attend and present on some programming. Therefore, I’m very excited for what I’ve got lined up during the conference.
You can find my schedule here on the official site, but I’m copying it below for ease of use.
Also, if you’re in Chicago this week but don’t have a ticket for the conference, please check out the Mass Signing on Friday evening, which is open to anyone and everyone.
Thursday, May 12th
3pm – The Future of Racism
Jennifer Cross (Moderator), Liz Argall, Tanya DePass, Michael R. Underwood
The past’s virulent racism against the Irish has now faded to linguistic artifacts like “paddy wagon” and “red-headed stepchild.” What traces will present-day racism leave behind, and what new forms of racism will emerge?
4pm – How To Hand-Sell Your Book
Michael R. Underwood
Lessons from 7 years of hand-selling books to readers, booksellers, and sales reps, for writers looking to learn how to hand-sell their books at conventions or related events.
(I’ve been given a full hour to present on this topic, which means we should really be able to dig deep – I’m also hoping to do some workshopping/role-play to talk through the techniques.)
Friday, May 13th
8:00pm – 9:30pm – Mass Signing
In the Red Lacquer Room
I’ll join the many fabulous attending authors (including Nebula Award finalists!) in a mass signing. This event is open to the public – you do not need to be registered for the Nebulas Conference to attend! Come by and say hello! I’ll have copies of Genrenauts on-hand and will be happy to talk about publishing, my Kickstarter, and/or the many feels Captain America: Civil War gave us.
Saturday, May 14th
2:00pm – 3:00pm – The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller
Alyssa Wong (Moderator), C.S.E. Cooney, E.J. Fischer, Michael R. Underwood
Society is shaped by narrative. What moral responsibility do storytellers have to consider the larger context in which their work appears? And how do we handle that responsibility, especially when writing outside of our own experiences, or presenting ours when they don’t fit dominant Western (esp. American) narratives or ideas of what a certain story ‘should’ be?
3:00pm – 4:00pm – Promotional Bootcamp
Fonda Lee (Moderator), Patty Garcia, Michael R. Underwood, Ellen Wright
Whether a traditionally published or self published author, you’re told that you need to promote your book. This panel of publicity and marketing professionals takes a hard look at what does and doesn’t work for promoting your work.
Other than these schedule items, I’ll be hanging out chatting with the other attendees – If you’re attending the conference and would like some help meeting people, please feel free to approach me when I’m out and about – mention this post, and I’ll do my best to help introduce you around.
This week I will be attending Life, the Universe, and ConFusion in Novi, MI. ConFusion is a very cool smaller fan-run con, and I’ve been attending for several years now. This year’s promises to be even better, with more friends planning to attend, a new venue, and an exciting schedule.
I’ll have paperback copies of Genrenauts with me – including galleys for Episode 2 – hit me up if you want to get in on the inter-dimensional story heist-ing fun.
Here’s where to find me at the con:
Friday, January 22nd
9:00 PM – Charlevoix
Party with Angry Robots!
Drinks! Snacks! Prizes! Authors!
Saturday, January 23rd
11:00 AM – Petoskey
Why Do I Pay So Much For Ebooks?
Many new releases debut with eBook prices not too dissimilar from the cost of a discounted hardcover. This had led to cognitive dissonance among readers and complaints that eBook prices are simply too high. Why do readers find these costs difficult to handle? What’s the sweet spot for eBook pricing today and will it rise or decrease over time?
Yanni Kuznia, Brigid Collins, Michael R. Underwood, Steve Buchheit (M), Sunil Patel
1:00 PM – Charlevoix
Adapting Science Fiction and Fantasy
Adapting beloved (and not so beloved) genre into other mediums (adapting books to screen, comics based on TV and media properties (Dr. Who, the new Star Wars comics, Mad Max, novelizations of films and tie-in novels)
David M. Stein, Michael R. Underwood (M), Lynne M. Thomas, Matt Pearson
5:00 PM – Manitou
Vigilante Justice in Urban Fantasy
The Urban Fantasy genre is built, in many ways, around glorifying extra-judicial violence. In this way, they might have more in common with the Western than the modern crime novel. Given the huge challenges in the United States with gun violence and criminal justice, should we be more concerned about the narrative shape of these novels?
Diana Rowland, Michael R. Underwood (M), Delilah S. Dawson, Jeannie Szarama, Melissa F. Olson
6:00 PM – Interlochen
The Fallacy of Commercial Fiction
Literary culture often derides the idea of commercial work, suggesting that marketability signals a lack of refinement. What exactly is commercial fiction and why is it snubbed? Furthermore, are science fiction, fantasy, and horror equally burdened by this dichotomy?
Devi Pillai, Laura Resnick, DongWon Song, Michael R. Underwood, Marko Kloos
Sunday, January 24th
11:00 AM – Manitou
Fantasy Fantasy: Live Draft
Fantasy sports has become an international phenomenon. It’s time for the ultimate conclusion: Fantasy Fantasy. Come watch the panelists conduct a live draft of their Adventuring Party from a pool of the most famous characters in genre history. The winner will be selected by the audience and then showered with confetti.
Tom Doyle, Douglas Hulick, Kristine Smith, Michael R. Underwood, Steve Drew (M), Cherie Priest
…and if all else fails, find me at The Bar. 🙂
I’m in Saratoga Springs for the weekend, attending the World Fantasy Convention. I will primarily have my Angry Robot hat on, but I do have an event tonight for my writing.
Tonight, you can find me at Northshire Bookstore:
Originally, I was scheduled to have a reading on Friday at the convention, and was planning to participate in the Mass Signing, but when the original anti-harassment policy was released, I let the WFC staff know that I would not be comfortable participating in programming unless they drastically improved the policy. They have changed the policy to a degree, and I am grateful for that, but I am still not satisfied with the policy as it stands now, and have decided to remove myself from programming.
I apologize to anyone who was looking forward to my reading. I hope to see you at the event tonight. If not, please feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @MikeRUnderwood during the con so we can be sure to meet up and chat during the convention.
I’m headed up to Saratoga Springs next week for the World Fantasy Convention, and if you’ll be there on Wednesday, I’d love to invite you to come to Northshire Books, where Tor Books/Tor.com Publishing is hosting an event. I’ll be there (possibly even with copies of The Shootout Solution!), along with many other fabulous authors.