Off to NerdCon!

NerdCon: Stories

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:

 

NerdCon booth directions

 

As a special bonus, the Ree Reyes novels (speaking of Nerds + stories) are still on discount through this weekend!

Amazon * B&N Nook * Kobo * iTunes

ree-reyes-series-small

Nebulas Recap

 

Nebula ConferenceLast 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.

Picture by Zak Zyz

Picture by Zak Zyz

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!

Signing

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!

Kickstarter Card

Nebulas Schedule

Nebula Conference

Hello all!

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.

ConFusion 2016 Schedule

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!

Robot Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 🙂

Sasquan Highlights

Last week, I traveled to Spokane, WA for Sasquan, the 73th WorldCon.

A lot of cool things happened that week – I got to hand-sell a bunch of Angry Robot books, hang out with our authors, and meet wonderful writers, readers, and fans. There were parties, publishing dinners, giveaways, and much more.

Here’s a quick Storify of highlights from the con, which is far easier than writing out a long con wrapup blog post.

What are your favorite memories of WorldCon? Share the joy in the comments below.

ConFusion 2015

This weekend, I’ll be joining some of my favorite authors and hundreds of cool fans at ConFusion, an excellent SF/F convention in Michigan.

Here’s my schedule:

Friday, January 16th

8:00 PM (Southfield) — Urban Fantasy Authors Interview

Jackie Morgan interviews Courtney Allison Moulton, Susan Dennard, Michael R. Underwood, and Diana Rowland

10:00 PM (Model T Boardroom) — Bradley P. Beaulieu and Michael R. Underwood Reading

Brad and I will read things. It will be awesome. Brad is a great reader, and I’d like to think I’m no slouch, either. 🙂

Saturday, January 17th

4:00 PM (Huron-Ontario-Erie) — Autographing session

Saladin Ahmed, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Robert J. Bennett, Tobias Buckell, Cinda Williams Chima, Wesley Chu, Monte Cook, Delilah S. Dawson, Seleste deLaney, Michael J. DeLuca, Susan Dennard, Shanna Germain, Merrie Haskell, Douglas Hulick, Christian Klaver, Mary Robinette Kowal, Courtney Allison Moulton, Laura Resnick, Jason Sanford, John Scalzi, Catherine Shaffer, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Michael R. Underwood, Doselle Young

Come meet your favorite authors, artists and musicians and have them sign things! (Please limit your signing requests to
3 items per person.)

5:00 PM (Dearborn) — Where the $@# Are All My Bookstores?

Michael R. Underwood (M), Christine Purcell, Douglas Hulick, Rowena Cherry

Ah, the good old days when you could just drive down the street to pick up your favorite book. Or is it easier now to just click a “Buy” button? How has the book selling industry changed in the last 20 years, and are bookstores going to quietly
disappear?

9:00 PM (Southfield) — A Glimpse Behind the Curtain: The Business Side to Writing and Publishing

Michael R. Underwood (M), Tobias Buckell, Kameron Hurley, Whitney Ross

There are many resources available about developing the craft of writing, but many writers enter the business without knowing the nuts and bolts of how the industry works – query letters, agents, advances, contracts, and more. This roundtable with established authors and publishing professionals will cover these topics and more, tailored to audience
questions.

Sunday, January 18th

11:00 AM (Huron) — The Comics Code

Saladin Ahmed (M), Michael R. Underwood, Doselle Young, Peter V. Brett

Where have all the diverse, feminist comics gone? How about the 1930s and 40s, in the days before the Comics Code?

12:00 PM (Huron) — Time Travel TV

Michael R. Underwood (M), Whitney Ross, Michael Marcus, David M. Stein

From Doctor Who to Outlander, what’s going on with time travel on TV?

 

And outside of these panels, you’ll be able to find me in the common room or the bar, most likely. It is a convention, after all.

See you there!

 

 

World Fantasy 2014

This weekend I’ll be down in DC for the World Fantasy Convention (abbreviated WFC).

WFC was the second F/SF convention I ever attended, back in 2006 in Austin. I knew almost no one, but was very helpfully schmoozed around the convention by my friends. I’ve been several times since then, and it’s become one of my favorite cons. Being small, it’s not so great for meeting readers – instead, it’s more like the summer camp reunion – a relax atmosphere, but with a lot of colleagues and friends all in one place at one time, without the bustle of WorldCon or a Comic-Con or all of that jazz.

Programming is very light at WFC, with each person usually only on one panel or reading slot. I tend to go for the readings, and to then hit a lot of other readings. I’m a sucker for that live experience.

My reading slot this year is on Thursday at 4PM (in the Fairfax room), so I hope that folks will have settled in enough to come and say hello.

Otherwise, you’ll be able to find me wandering around, at the bar or cafe, and many places between. I’ll be at the banquet on Sunday, cheering on the nominees, especially my dear friend Marie Brennan, up for Best Novel with her excellent book A Natural History of Dragons. Otherwise, hit me up on Twitter to say hello.

NYCC After-action Part One

I have survived yet another New York Comic Con. The biggest ever, by current reporting.

This year, I had an extra mission, a driving interest behind my presence, thanks to my decision to get into comics writing.

Most years, I graze the fields of NYCC, drinking in the geekdom and following the tides of my interests.

This year, I spent a *lot* more time in Artists’ Alley, talking with creators, making acquaintances and friends. If I’m going to work in the comics community, I need to be a *part* of the comics community, and in a much greater way than I have been happily reading on my own and talking with people about it intermittently.

Which means that I came back from the con with my suitcase *completely full* of comics. And a few clothes, I guess. Mostly comics.

I had several really cool conversations with creators, and got to hang out a lot more with some folks I’d met at cons earlier in the year. It’s an odd thing to be operating in a new professional world, where I don’t recognize people by sight like I do in SF/F prose.

Here’s a quick round-up of some of the swag I acquired during my trip. It…was a lot. My bank account took a not-insubstantial hit thanks to my love of Cool Stuff.

  • The Dare Detectives “The Snow-Pea Plot” (Ben Caldwell)
  • Monomyth #1 (Siike Donnelly, Eric Ninaltowski)
  • “Comics” a collection of work by students in the SVA Illustration Department and Cartooning Department.
  • Shadowman Vol. 1-5
  • Skull Kickers “Treasure Trove Vol. 1” (Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, Chris Stevens)
  • Sleepy Hollow #1 (Marguerite Bennett, Jorge Coelho, Noelle Stevenson)
  • Artful Daggers “Fifty Years Later” (Adam P. Knave, Sean E. Williams, Andrew Losq)

And…more where that came from. I may have gone a little overboard. I also bought some art, which I will show off in a separate post.

LonCon schedule

LonCon 3 logo

Hi folks,

I hope to see many of you at LonCon 3 this week, where I’ll be supporting participating in panels, Angry Robot Authors, and having my first ever Literary Beer event at a very British hour of 11 AM. Expect publishing gossip, geekery, and/or marketing secrets.

On Wednesday at 6PM, I’ll be at Forbidden Planet for the Angry Robot/Titan event.

My LonCon schedule:

Thursday

Tolkien Society Presents: The Unpayable Debt?
18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

Friday

Diversity in Comic Books: The Good, The Bad, and the Missing
12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)

Cities: Where, Who, Why? (Moderating)
18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)

Saturday

Literary Beer
11:00 – 12:00, The Bar (ExCeL)

Autographing 1 – Michael R. Underwood
15:00 – 16:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

Sunday

The Fantastic Now
13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

I’ll also be attending the Hugo Awards as a part of the Skiffy and Fanty Show, nominated for Best Fancast! I will treasure my rocket pin for all time.

All signs are pointing toward a huge, exciting convention, and I look forward to seeing many of you there!

CONvergence is coming!

Dear all,

CONvergence banner

I’ll be at CONvergence this week, a marvelous all-fandoms SF/F convention in Bloomington, MN. Lee Harris, Emma Newman and I took an Angry Robot scouting mission last year, and this year we’re bringing a bunch of authors for a full advance guard.

In addition to my Angry Robot song-and-dance in the dealer hall, I’ll be on some panels. Here’s my schedule:

Thursday, July 3rd

Mainstreaming of Geekdom – Atrium 6 – 12:30-1:30 PM

Lots of popular movies are based on geek stuff. How do you handle being a geek hipster – or feeling like you don’t fit in? Many people were geeks before it was cool. Let’s stop feeling bad. Let’s celebrate that geeks are cool!
Panelists: Jaqueline Stoner, Hal Bichel, Kara Redding, Michael R. Underwood, Holley McLellan

Skiffy & Fanty Show: Live at CONvergence! – Edina – 2:00-3:00

A live episode of the Skiffy & Fanty Show (skiffyandfanty.com) with guest authors CL Patel and Martha Wells. We’ll discuss influences on SF/F lit from gaming, comics, etc. with authors who write SF/F fiction but have experience writing for other formats.
Panelists: Michael R. Underwood (mod), Carrie Patel, Martha Wells, David Annandale, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer

Saturday, July 5th

Gender in Urban Fantasy – Edina – 2:00-3:00

This genre tends to have more female protagonists and writers. Is it marketing, or something else?
Panelists: Melissa Olson, Emma Bull, Paul Cornell, Laura Zats, Michael R. Underwood

Is there Life after Dark and Gritty? – Edina – 5:00-6:00

How did we get from Adam West to the Dark Knight? Can we reboot a series and make it more optimistic?
Panelists: Scott Lynch, Sarah Prentice, Michael R. Underwood, Tabitha Anderson, Michael Damian Thomas

Sunday, July 6th

From Gaming to Writing – Atrium 7 – 2:00-3:00

Many novels started life as roleplaying games. Are you a GM using a game to figure out the world for your novel? Or have you had such a great time running or playing in a game that you’re working on making it into a book? What are the perils and pitfalls?
Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, David Annandale, Ozgur K. Sahin, Michael R. Underwood, Emmy Jackson