WHAT THE FUCK

Okay normally I post a hotel window view picture but HOW IS THIS A HALLWAY

Come see me at IndyPopCon this weekend!

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I’m going to be in Booth 1213 on the vendor floor at the Indianapolis Convention Center, sharing a booth with Michelle Wern, who may not be aware of just how much fun it is going to be to be crammed into an 8′ x 10′ booth with me and all of my con shit for three entire days.  It is eight o’clock in the morning and I am halfway through my morning coffee.  I have approximately six thousand and ten things to do (including mowing the goddamn yard and taking the dog to be boarded at the vet, which is eight thousand miles away) between now and my wife getting home from work at noon, so I probably ought to finish the coffee and stop mucking about on the Internet.

But mucking about on the Internet is fun, so here we are.  I didn’t do IndyPopCon last year, but it was a hell of a lot of fun in 2016 and I’m really looking forward to this show.  This will be the first con I’ve done twice, so we’ll see if anybody remembers me from last time.

Speaking of boarding the dog, I can see the toxic-ass fart she just dropped, so it’s definitely time to make her go away and I ought to start accomplishing things.  Photos to come!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Luther Siler at Starbase Indy!

IUnknown‘m elated to be able to announce this, as I had thought that I’d been locked out of attending, but my next convention appearance will be at Starbase Indy at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel over Thanksgiving weekend!  I’ll have all of my books with me, including Searching for Malumba, and I’ll have bookmarks available for giveaways again too.  Maybe even something else, if I come up with some great ideas between now and then.

I will definitely have a booth in the dealer area, and I’m going to look into whether I can manage to be on a panel or two while I’m there as well, since that was something I wasn’t able to do when I was at InConJunction back in July.  This will definitely be my last con of 2015, as I don’t even know of any taking place in December, but… man oh man, do I have some plans for 2016!  Plans I can’t even tell you about yet!  Woo!

More details to come later as things are firmed up.

#InConIndy shout-outs, and some random stuff

Th21017_851785958231182_1572197157379726322_nis will be the last post about the con, I think, unless I come up with a reason to write another one, and I’ll try not to.  I got very little writing done yesterday, and I need to get the juices flowing this morning so I may as well tell you about a couple of cool people.

Actually, let’s get the random stuff out of the way first: if you pay close attention, you’ve probably noticed the changes in the masthead over the last couple of days.  If not, reminders are always good.

  • First, because I massively overordered books for InConJunction, I’m selling autographed books directly from this website until my stock is depleted.  You can get either Skylights or Sanctum for $12 plus another $4 to cover shipping and the envelope, or both for $20 plus the same shipping cost.  Gratifyingly, I’ve already had a few orders.  The initial cost is cheaper than you can get them from anywhere else; that $4 may push you a little higher depending on shipping cost.  But: autograph!  Click here to order books.
  • Sending books to people meant that I needed a return address that wasn’t my home address, so I finally pulled the trigger on a PO box yesterday.  Which means that I can have a mailing list!  Do I know what I’m going to do with a mailing list?  No, I do not, which means that signing up for it will not generate very much email for you.  But sign up anyway.

So.  Right.  The con.

Let’s start with shout-outs.  I spent the convention sitting in between James Wylder and TammyJo Eckhart, who are both awesome people.  TammyJo was a veteran of the con, and had people coming over and saying hello all weekend.  James and I were both first-timers, although he was coming off of a tour of a bunch of different cons.  Both are writers.  James, who was cosplaying as Dr. Who for most of the con, has written a poem for every episode of Dr. Who that aired between 1963 and 2013.  You need to own this just so that you can say you own it.  TammyJo writes edgy fiction; her big seller over the weekend was an omnibus edition of her last three books, so the two of us both got the fun of explaining what “omnibus” meant all weekend.

Another shout-out:  cosplay is always a big feature of these cons, and one guy in particular stood out by bringing a bunch of different costumes and making sure to make the rounds in each of them.  This is the guy cosplaying the Hulk below, but his Baron Zemo costume was probably my favorite of the weekend, as I’ve always had a soft spot for Zemo for some reason.  His name is Marc Meeker; you can check out his Facebook page here.


I only really actually encountered two jerks all weekend, which given that I interacted with hundreds of people is pretty impressive.  The most breathtaking of the lot was a dude who told me that he “didn’t read books,” which by the way is fine, right before going to TammyJo’s booth four feet away and…buying a book.

Humans!  It is okay to not want to buy my books.  There are three hundred and fifty million Americans and I have sold, at last count, about 1200 books.  Mathematically speaking, that’s a rounding error, and no one wants to buy my books.  It is okay if you do not want to buy books from me, even if I’m standing there asking you to!  I won’t mind!  I’ll just move on to the next customer, since you’ve made it clear I’m wasting my time.  There’s no reason to lie about it, especially a really transparently obvious lie that you prove is a lie three minutes and four feet away.  I see you, dude.  You’re right there.  Jackass.

A second dude, also talking with TammyJo, had a plastic grocery/Meijer bag with him that he was carrying purchases and swag in.  While he was talking to her, he set his bag down on a stack of my books.  This triggered an immediate and perhaps unwarranted burst of rage.  Dude.  Get your shit off my shit.  Even if there wasn’t a copious amount of empty floor space at your feet where you could put your bag down, there’s empty table space right there.  

I probably shoulda knocked his bag onto the floor, but I was trying to not get arrested at my first con.


Two other interactions are worth mentioning.  One guy who had been sort of floating around being awkward for a few minutes toward the end of the first day ended his interactions with us by 1) telling me he’d be back for Sanctum and 2) pointing at the Skylights banner over my shoulder and saying “I’ve read that one already.  It’s good!”

To which my immediate and automatic reaction was You’re lying.  Which, okay, I know I just said that mathematically speaking no one has read my books, but someone has, right? I don’t know all of those people.  He could have read Skylights.  I don’t know!

I didn’t say anything, because he was already leaving, but it was kinda weird.

A second dude got really excited when he saw Sanctum on the table, telling me a little bit too loudly that he “really liked that” and was “excited that they were bringing it back.”  I corrected him, pointing out that it was my series and that it certainly wasn’t “back,” then spent a few seconds frantically trying to figure out if I’d just mentioned Firefly to him or not and deciding I hadn’t, and then trying to decide if I was being rude and deciding that I wasn’t.  I thought I had him convinced that he was thinking about something else, and he bought a copy of Sanctum anyway, then walked off again talking like he thought it was part of a preexisting, cancelled series.

Part of me feels like I ought to have stopped him until I was certain he knew what he was buying.  I didn’t; it was the first copy of Sanctum I had sold and at the time I was far from certain that there were going to be more.  The rest were less… fraught.


I have my eye on Starbase Indy, which takes place the Friday to Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I’ve got an email in to see if they still have vendor tables since I may be a bit late in getting registered as a dealer.  I’ll keep y’all updated, of course.

#InConIndy breakdown: the longer version

CJJ_tcPWgAAwwaK.jpg-largeThis is likely– nay, guaranteed– to be long and rambly because i’m gonna try and stuff everything into one post, rather than spreading them out forever.  I may do a separate post for shout-outs and links because some folk really do deserve some recognition and I haven’t unpacked my business cards, but I’m gonna try to make that it.

I have just started four different sentences with the words “Let’s start with” and then deleted them.

Hmm.

Let’s start with the picture, actually.  The dude in the Hulk costume is deceptively huge– notice where his feet are.  His center of balance is well behind mine and he’s leaning forward and he’s still taller than me.  I have no idea what this guy actually looks like, and this is the least impressive of the four or five costumes he made appearances in during the con, but I could not pass up a chance to get a picture with the Hulk and expect my son to still love me.  I’ll link him up later– his Baron Zemo and colonial Captain America costumes are probably my favorites.

Biggest regret of the convention: I should have gotten a picture with Timothy Zahn.  I had a couple of brief conversations with him on Sunday, and he actually came over to to the booth of the guy next to me– turns out Zahn is a huge Dr. Who fan, and the guy was cosplaying one of the Doctors, and Zahn wanted to show him a Dr. Who shirt he had.

Yeah.  That happened.  (Five years from now, I’ll have found a way to make this into “Timothy Zahn came to my table,” but for now I’ll tell the truth.)  A vaguely reassuring fact: dude was sweating and hauling his books just like all the rest of us, and I kept myself sane during the zero-sale first day of the convention by noticing that he looked bored every time I left and went to the bathroom.

A moment for data: Zero sales on Friday, although I did give two of my books to a book blogger.  Seven sales on Saturday, nine on Sunday, confirming my theory that people were sitting on their wallets on Friday.  I haven’t counted my remaining bookmarks yet, but I’ll guess I gave out at least fifty of those.  Now, interestingly, online sales spiked a bit.  If I include online sales, I sold eight books Friday, nineteen on Saturday, and sixteen on Sunday.  Those are all good days, and 19 and 16 are spectacular for me.  I’m attributing those directly to the bookmarks, especially since one of the Amazon sales came when I was asleep, which never happens– I’m guessing someone got back to their hotel room and went through the stuff they’d picked up during the day.  So it’ll be interesting to see how much of a “tail” the con seems to have.  Also, I’ve picked up four Facebook likes since the con started, after several weeks without any.  That’s either bookmark people or, more likely, the product of networking.  For comparison purposes, I’ve moved more books in the first six days of July than I did in all of January or March.

One way or another: I will be back at this con next year, unless something prevents me from doing so.  Attendance was lower than usual because the Fourth was on Saturday, which is the biggest day of the con, and all the vendors felt like they’d gotten shellacked a bit.  I’m far from alone there.  I’ll give it at least one more year (the 4th is on Monday next year) to see how sales go on a regular year.

I will also be spending some time this week figuring out what the next con is.  It’s probably too late to do another one this summer, so I’ll be looking around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We’ll see what happens.

So.  Things I learned.  Authors, pay attention to this part, because cons are good and fun and you should do them but it’s best to learn from what other people have screwed up.  There will also be some other mini-observations sprinkled in here because shut up it’s my blog and I don’t have to be organized:

  • Dreece told me after the first day to make sure to put one copy of each book face-down on the table so that people could read the back without picking a book up.  This was absolutely the right move and I will never not do it again.
  • I need something to catch people’s attention a bit better and bring them my way.  My banner really helped, but one thing I definitely picked up on is that my neighbor was getting a lot of attention simply by being dressed as Dr. Who– and he knows that he’s pulling people who are interested in his work by dressing like that.  Problem is, nothing about Skylights or Benevolence Archives leads itself to cosplay even if I was into that.  More thought needed here.
  • Not one person “got” Prostetnic Publications.  Which was deeply disappointing.
  • Plan for next year: Make sure there are emails ready to be forwarded on my iPad that have .pdf, .mobi and .epub versions of all my books attached to them.  Sell those emails for $4.  Now, granted, I had the bookmarks, and I made sure to point out to the ebook people how to get digital versions of my books, and furthermore I think it worked to some extent.  But being able to respond “Okay, I can do that” to the people who don’t do print books anymore for whatever reason seems like a good and necessary thing.
  • Speaking of the bookmarks: I said this already, but: yeah, that was a good decision.  Something to hand everyone who comes by is a good thing.
  • I need a horizontal banner for the front of my table.  Probably a PP banner to keep it simple, but it looked bare compared to the folks near me.
  • Engage engage engage.  I tried my damnedest to keep my phone out of my hand and to avoid even checking sales on my iPad, because if I’m looking down I’m not seeing people walking past me.  There was a guy around the corner who spent most of the con with his head down drawing and he missed tons of people who glanced at his stuff and then walked away.  If I can make it through six hours of my first con selling nothing and still have a smile on my face at the end of the day anyone should be able to do it.
  • Now, regarding my announcement yesterday:  I’ve already mused about how I don’t quite know how to sell The Sanctum of the Sphere to people.  And at this con, I had bookmarks with the cover of BA vol. 1 on them.  People were reaching for that, then looking around and wondering where that book was, because the cover was so striking.  And I’d have to explain.  I can elevator-pitch Skylights lot faster and more effectively than I can Sanctum.  So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to go ahead and do a print edition of BA 1, but I’m also going to keep the print edition of vol. 2 an omnibus.  That way it’s the best of both worlds.  If you’ve read the ebooks and you want both, you can buy Sanctum.  If you want a low-cost entry point into the series and you’re standing in front of me, I’ll price BA 1 as low as I can to give folks an easy hook.  If I can get you to spend $4 on a novella on day one of the con, maybe you’ll come back on day 3 and spend $12 on something else, y’know?  So that’s happening.  Soon.

Okay.  Maybe one more post later today, because I have a handful of stories that don’t quite fit into this post.  But this is a good start.  We’ll see if I get fiction written today.  🙂