Tampa Bay Comic Con–DAY TWO (#tbcc)

 In Which 3 Million Truckers Can’t Be Wrong…

Well, one can already tell Con organizers have learned a valuable lesson from yesterday’s Mobfest. There were police directing traffic, and the crowds looked by far more manageable–or, at the very least, better managed. Score!

We got a late start to the Con today, but that’s okay–I had a panel with the witty and charming Hugh Howey, who talked about the Self-Publishing process. As a fun aside, Dust, the third book in his “Silo” series, made #7 on the NYT Best Selling list. So congratz, Hugh!

So I’m glad today was a low-key day. By the time we got home I was able to add “shin splints” to feet hurting and general Con exhaustion. Once again I found myself smugly proud of my fellow fans for thanking the nice police officer directing us across the street to the Convention Center. We really are a nice, well-behaved bunch!

  • 2:30 pm: Waiting in line for Hugh Howey’s Self-Publishing panel. Now is the perfect time to get some costume pics in. There are a dashing couple of blokes dressed as Superman and Green Arrow. Also a well-done Katniss Everdeen pushing a flaxen-haired mite in a stroller. O.O
  • 2:45 pm: Wonder Woman descends escalator, berating Superman and Green Arrow for getting started on pics without her. HA!
  • 2:55 pm: A pair of what appear to be Steampunk Disney princesses exit current panel.
  • 3:00 pm: Hugh’s panel attendees (politely) stampede in. Seems to be a nice mix of fans and fellow authorly-types. Hugh and Friend set up rather quickly, at which point Hugh jokes that the first rule of self-publishing is to do everything yourself. Immediately decide that I like him.

Cool Things I Learned From The Panel:

  • Hugh’s journey to publishing success sounds unique and fun. Wool started out as a Novelette he self-published through Amazon, and was going to be the only book he ever published until his reviews raved about it and wanted more. He tried the traditional publishing route at first, hated the process, and decided to self pub. That’s when NY started calling him, taking it for granted he’d be thrilled to hand over 15% of his sales without so much as a how-do-you-do. He told an awful lot of people “no.” It was only when uber-agent Kristen Nelson contacted him in regards to missed opportunities on foreign and film rights, and didn’t take it for granted he would want to sign, that he had considered signing. Then he got a kind of a-la-carte publishing deal where he retained electronic rights, but S&S took traditional, one of the few to do so.
  • Hugh talked a lot, and enthusiastically, about the democratization of publishing. There’s no longer one way, the only way, to get published. More control than ever is in the author’s hands, and their readers’.
  • Hugh proved to be easy-going and gracious, as well as funny. When someone’s phone rang he told them take to call, he totally didn’t mind; if he got a call from his wife, he’d take it and let us in on the convo. This sounds sarcastic, but he was serious and totally laid back.
  • Later he saw an attendee video-taping the panel  and he encouraged her to upload it to You Tube; he said “hi” to his mom, proving again he’s a proponent to offering his readers free stuff and deep discounts. Basically, make it easy for potential readers to get invested in your stories.
  • I love, love, LOVE that he emphasized the importance of revisions in the crafting process. He does eight or nine passes and then BETA tests a draft. Then he does several more passes before publishing. The first draft is the story in raw form–it takes revisions and feedback to craft the story into the best it can be.
  • Hugh talked about the “triangle” of Self-Publishing: The Kindle self-pub platform, Createspace, and ACX. The latter pairs voiceover artists with self published authors for self-publishing audio books. Someone threw out a number of something like 3 Million truckers who listen to audio books on their routes. When related to the Tech Monkey over dinner, he mentioned a bouncer we knew at a club we used to frequent who was a trucker, and at every stop he’d buy out all the audio books at the nearest Walden. Untapped market, perhaps?
  • Hugh is Adamant and Enthusiastic that everything publishing does now, you can do yourself, and he went through the publishing process with examples. He was a book critic, so he recommends gettings as close to as many aspects of the industry as possible.
  • Collective *gasp* of horror when he says that publishers actually pay someone to burn unopened crates of unsold books. Book nerds unite!
  • At one point I recognized one of the attendees, but couldn’t place him. It was only until much later he’s a friend of a friend I’ve exchanged witty quips with on Facebook. Whoops!

We concluded the Con with one final pass of the Exhibition Hall, which proved to be doable since most people had staggered home at this point. The Tech Monkey scored some graphic novels, and my finely-honed Geek sensors also tagged some Iron Man comics he hadn’t caught sight of. Unfortunately, the gentleman playing Thor was out of costume and looked Tired and Shagged Out following a Prolonged Con, so I didn’t have the heart to bother him. I then capped everything off by spending WAY too much money on dice sets, but it’s a local business so I feel perfectly justified. 🙂

Heard At The Con:

  • Small Child at catching sight of a yellow Camaro: “BUMBLEBEE!!” *facepalm*
  • Other Small Child to Younger Sister: “It was on the NEWS.The news doesn’t lie.” ROFL

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