I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most awesome people on the planet.
Shakespeare says in one of his plays, "I am wealthy in my friends."
I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most awesome people on the planet.
When I was still a wide eyed optimist I had this idea to promote my book at San Diego ComicCon. A simple idea. The people that attend ComicCons are my demographic and my tribe. Based on no other information I maintain that it is still good idea. However, that cold, hard reality of SDCC is in opposition to something so simple and apparently naïve.
Get a vendor booth at the event and set up as an information table for the Department of Planetary Affairs. Recruit my friends to wander around as DPA officers and man the booth complete with an informational video and pamphlets about the organization and the aliens it regulate.
I download the vendor application and fill it out but I have a few questions. So I give them a call. The man with whom I spoke to was very nice but ever so nonchalantly informed me that there is a four year wait list with 600 vendors on it waiting to get a booth at SDCC.
I am surprised only because there is no mention of this on the website anywhere. Ultimately, I am not surprised because SDCC is the biggest convention of its kind and will make or break a book, TV show, movie, or video game. Fine. Saves me the $3,000+ it would cost to have a booth.
The new strategy is to spend the four days with a squadron of those same friends wandering around the convention in some killer uniforms as DPA officers, enjoying it, and in theory creating buzz. Make people wonder what is the DPA? Where is that from? There are twelve of us. I give them a heads up of the dates and my intention so that they have one year to save money and make arrangements. I spend the next seven months gathering ideas for the uniforms, weapons, gadgets, and ways to promote.
Then it was announced a few weeks ago that the badges for 2013 would be on sale Feb. 16th. Time to make a commitment. Half of the people I had asked to join me were already going to be in the area for other events. Which is great but also means they can’t attend all four days. A few people had to drop out because of work. Only three of us could do the four days. Three people versus 150,000 is not good odds. Time for….
Everyone commits to Saturday only. I rather make one day really count and put everything into it.
Ten of us in killer uniforms, hit it hard, make a splash, drop the mic and go home. Still useful, still creating interest. By 8:58 on Saturday the 16th all of us are online and ready to hit the registration page and ready to buy now.
To SDCC’s credit they do dedicate a lot of verbiage on the website warning you of the difficulty of getting tickets. They even say, “Good Luck!” at the bottom of instruction page. Little do I know that this is not some over inflated exaggeration on their part.
Only two of us got into the mythic waiting room, numbers 617 and 34,031, the rest of us were stuck on a white screen waiting for the page to load. After some math and forty minutes I threw in the towel. Facebook and Twitter have streams of people talking about the white screen or what number they are, or begging strangers to purchase for them. It's total madness.
Throughout the hour SDCC announces four day badges are sold out, then Saturday, then Friday, and after that I shut everything down. I am still in shock. I can't believe it. I feel like Wile E Coyote with my legs spinning and defying gravity until I look down.
SDCC has 327,000 fans on Facebook and the convention only takes 150,000 people. That leaves 177,000 in the same position as me. Publishing my novel in 2013 has never been contingent on being at ComicCon so everything I am doing right now I will continue to do, but it is still a disappointment.
I feel like I have gone through most of the seven stages of grief, or is it five. Whatever. In the anger stage I couldn’t help but wonder if SDCC is too big, too full of its own self-importance. Maybe that’s just the frustration talking. It’s certainly a cliché line of thought but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. I don’t want to judge it too harshly because if I ever make into those sacred halls I will be jubilant. Then again maybe I will find that I was deceived by all the hype and find being there doesn’t live up to the legend of what it has become.
Whatever the case I have plenty to do ComicCon or no ComicCon. There are world’s to discover and stories to be edited. Let this be a warning to all you hopeful attendees of SDCC. Keep your expectation in check and definitely preregister in August for the next year, you can always return the tickets if it turns out you can’t go after all.
"I know the best pub in Edinburgh!! It's the oldest pub in the town. So we can get drunk in an historic place for cultural reasons."
From my international travel companion Miss Mands.
On October 31st, 2009 I made a split second decision to do this crazy thing called National Novel Writing Month. I did not have a story idea of any kind. I literally started with “Once upon a time” because it was suggested by their book. Every day that I sat down to write I was awed and amazed at what came out. Not because it was quality writing but because it was a world and characters I had never met before.
I spend years mulling over my characters and their realities. So when all these new people started appearing I just couldn’t believe it. The story, to my surprise, ended up being a redemption tale for one of my nastiest villains from a story I have never been able to complete. That first year taught me some important things.
First- I can create, under pressure, and without a plan. Because my method for years has been to let stories simmer in the back of my mind I had no idea I could pull off spontaneous story telling. I had to trust the characters and the places I found them in and in the end it paid off. It’s a complete story and the elements of the story tie together pretty well despite the frenzied circumstances they were created under.
Second- Habit goes a long way. If you don’t already have the habit of writing everyday this is a good way to get into it. I give myself permission to have one day off a week, but if your brain is accustomed to having to create something on a consistent basis it will. It may not seem like that at first, but commit yourself to writing daily for six weeks and see what happens on that 43rd day. If you can do it at the same time of day that will help too. It gets easier, I promise.
And third- Get that first draft written as fast as possible. This helps keep continuity of character personality together as well as plot. For 2009 I didn’t finish the story by November 30th. I managed to return to the story in January and finish off the narrative but the characters had changed without my consent and I think it’s pretty obvious. The plot suffers over a long period of time because you forget what you’ve said.
I succeeded in 2010 at writing 51,000 words of material for a future sci-fi epic but it is not a story. It is only pieces and parts of a story. Some of the material will be usable, but I’m thinking I will have to chalk up most of that material to an exploration of world and characters. Which is fine but it didn’t feel as amazing since it’s not a complete story.
For 2011 I experienced some of what I had in 2009, new people and situations with no prior knowledge, but I lacked the drive to push through it. This year my goal is to knock out that first draft for my next Lysandra story. I know how I want to start and I think I know how I want it to end, but everything in between is a mystery. By November 30th I may have a workable first draft or I might just have bunch of parts. I’m really hoping for the former.
If you decide to do NaNoWriMo tell your friends you are not available and clear your schedule. This will help you to avoid feeling guilty about telling them “No” and you must tell them “No” or you will pay for it later. Definitely write something every day, even if it’s only a paragraph. And go to the write-ins in your city. Sitting with a group of strangers as tired and exhilarated as you are is fun and you get to meet some really great people.
"I feel like a half eaten cookie."
From the beautiful SE Carter, whom I have had the privilege of traveling all over the world with on many grand adventures.
"Epics always have cute guys."
Thank you Miss K Keller for your astute observation.
She was thinking of Orlando Bloom in Troy. I don't like him or it. I have to say when I walked into the movie theater to see a 20 foot poster of Russel Crowe as Maximus my first thought was, "Get over yourself."
Then I watched the movie. 5 times. In the theater. (Not a record for me, BTW,) While I do have two Gladiator posters in my office, my infatuation with Russel Crowe has long faded and I now have simultaneous crushes on Robert Downey Jr. and David Tennant. Does Avengers count as an epic?
"Grilled cheese ignite!"
I do not recall the purpose for this declaration but when HBR uttered it I wrote it down immediately. As far as battle cry's go I would say it as as good as "SPOON!" that the Tick says with gusto whenever evil is a foot.
Go ahead, say it. Say it as loud as you can in a very public space. I dare you. Make that a double dog dare.
If something comes up, I'll put it here, otherwise find me on FB and Twitter.