For those of you feeling discouraged, or lamenting that it didn't look like a Blue Wave, pause a moment. Breathe. We didn't win (or haven't yet concluded) the "sexy" races. O'Rourke/Cruz, Kemp/Abrams, DeSantis/Gillum... but so many good things happened last night. Look at these victories. Let this be confirmation that your work mattered, and your vote mattered. Your vote still matters. Change is happening. Keep up the amazing work, y'all.
The Nazis carrying torches and confederate flags don't speak for me. Nor do the politicians crying out for unity when they not only benefited from but directly incited division. We may share skin pigmentation or citizenship, but they do not speak for me. We are none of us equal until we are ALL equal. We are one race: human. Our diversity is a strength, a feature not a bug.
Let's get real here, gang, the world looks like shit. Girl has runs in her stockings, her makeup's a hot mess and that hair is fried. Between the terrorist attacks around the world, Brexit, the American election, the tensions between police and citizens.... just what? What is there left? Celebrity gossip? I just don't think this Swift girl is good for my Thomas, and that's all I can stand.
Good Monday morning, gang! Phoenix is underwater and my kiddo is home from school. So here I am on the internet. So last week I was supposed to be on the #Hashtag podcast with Mike Woods and Karina Cooper. Sadly, that didn't work out because technology. We will get the bugs worked out and do it again. However, when we said we'd be taking questions, a couple of you posted to my Facebook page with some of your queries. As these don't really refer to the topic we were going to use on the podcast, I figured I'd answer them here. Consider today an open Q&A period. My own Ask Me Anything without Reddit. Here we go... First question...
Lejon Johnson asks...What was the effort of bringing Book 2 to reality actually like, Kickstarter and all?
In terms of editing...very much the same as working with a publisher. (Of course, the same editor from WILD CARD worked with me on UNVEILED, so we knew one another's styles.)
Other than that... it's been kinda crazy. The Kickstarter itself was stressful and all-consuming. I felt constant pressure to generate content and keep upping the ante. Basically, I felt like a carnival barker busking for that entire month. The editing period felt nice because it was familiar. Then, huge rush here at the end of things. Putting together publicity, getting pre-sale reviews, doing all the logistical things that make a book A BOOK, planning the next steps to make sure the book has the best, widest distribution possible... yeah, it's a lot more than I realized went into things. I have a new respect for the process, feel pride in having done this....but also prefer the traditional method of having professionals do all this stuff so that I can do my thing: write.
In book 2, do you kick off from where you left off, or is there "breather" time between the first and second stories?
UNVEILED picks up about 8-9 months after the events of WILD CARD. Cat has had some time to get cozy in this new version of things, grow a little with her skill set, and basically feel comfortable. Hehehe. And so that's when I pull the rug out from under her.
We know book 3 is written, does anything have to change with that now that book 2 editing is done?
Nothing major. I went into editing UNVEILED knowing what needed to stay in order to protect events in UNINVITED (Book 3). Also, nothing major changed in the events of UNVEILED that would alter the future for Cat and company. So the narrative stayed in tact. I might be one of my faults, actually, that I am somewhat attached to my order of things and will do what I can to preserve the essentials.
Zach Reddy asks... What are the potential side effects of letting a gaggle of trickster gods run free in your head?
Honestly, it's not much different up there than it was before. (Not sure if I should take comfort in that or not.) However, I do caution those looking into working with them...you will start seeing their fingerprints in your life. You might also find yourself becoming a bit more sadistic in the humor you take at the expense of others when Karma spanks them. Also: Loki.
Regina asks... Q: Why don't you telepathically give me book updates instead of making me sign into an email that's supposed to be my primary one but I totally keep forgetting exists?
Allow me to respond in the language of my people:
Krista asks... Are you still dumping Jeff?
Considering the recent conversation that he and I had pertaining to the Whedon version of "Much Ado About Nothing" vs the Tennant/Tate version of same? Yes. His sad devotion to the former while not having seen the latter is disturbing, pitiful and just wrong. I'm sorry. The Tennant/Tate version is superior in every way. *It should be noted that the Jeff in question and I have been "breaking up" with each other for 10 years now. It's a long-running joke between friends. We've never dated.
Angela asks... Why haven't you finished the personal transporter yet?
Because pirates stole my applesauce.
Brian asks... Do you, in fact, want to build a snowman?
Yeah, actually. I do.
Seriously, though. What has been the most challenging part of the whole process for you?
Reminding myself that it is a process and still happening. Honestly, this is not what I wanted for the C# series. And yet, I can't say the series has failed because it's still happening. It's still moving forward and people want to read more. Reminding myself of that, keeping away from binary thinking of pass/fail and all that jazz has probably been the hardest part. I can work logistics like no one else. I can edit til my eyeballs bleed. I can pimp myself...but keeping my head straight is where the going gets tough.
Cheryl asks... How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Jeff asks... Are you dumped, super-dumped or totes-in-the-dumpey-dumped? Choose one.
Totes in the dumpey dump. Again, because you're a heretic. #Tennant/TateMuchAdoForevah!
So yeah... have a question? Hit me with it!
As Con season is upon us, I feel that there are some PSAs that need to be repeated. Obviously, the anti-harassment and anti-douchebaggery messages are at the top of my list. Keep your hands to yourself. Cosplay does not equal consent. Don't be a dick. But there's more to going to a convention than costumes and walking the exhibitor hall. There are chances to meet your favorite celebrities, authors and artists. While I have no idea what it's like to be a celebrity at a con, I do have some experience in the author area. I thought this might be a good time to give you a simple guide in how to approach and interact with your favorite authors in a Con environment.
It can be exciting as hell to see your favorite author in the wild. While at Phoenix Comic Con, I admit that I gasped and internally squeed all over myself whenever Jim Butcher walked by. (He's shorter than I expected. Sam Sykes probably stole his height, the salsa-slinging bastard.) But at no time did I just run up to him and start gushing about how he has influenced my own writing and how someday I really want to give him a run for his metaphorical money.
Nor should you.
If you're going to approach someone, particularly authors, you have to understand that we don't have much social interaction. Those of us with day jobs, this may be different, but I sit in front of a computer all day. I don't talk to anyone unless it is through text. I play with things that only I can see or hear. Basically I am one step shy of being committed to a strait jacket and padded cell. It's best to assume the same applies to your favorite author.
Approach cautiously and make your presence known. No, it's not funny to sneak up or glomp someone. If they're doing something else, give them their space and wait your turn. I know you're really excited. I know you might be pressed for time. While at PHX CC, I had 5 minutes before the doors opened and I had to get back to my booth. James O'Barr had been at his table for only a few moments and I hated to intrude upon him, but that was my only window to get The Crow signed. I apologized profusely and asked if he had a moment to sign a book for me before the crowd descended. He was very sweet and he did. (Bless you, Mr. O'Barr.)
But anyway, remember that your favorite author is a person, too, and that you should announce your presence before just diving in to any interaction.
It's Not You...
So you've gotten up to Author McAwesome's table, or have found yourself waiting on the same elevator. You've said hi and started a conversation, but they don't seem to be chatty. In fact, she seems like she is downright repelled by you. You're about ready to slink off into oblivion and burn all of your books, but I must stop you.
First of all, don't burn them, give them to me. Secondly, it might not be you.
Let me 'splain. I spoke with at least 50 authors at various stages in their careers during Con. From Patrick Rothfuss to Sgt. Tony (a guy who is working on his first novel), they were all there. People who haven't even put pen to paper, but have stories inside to tell. People who are working on their fifth novel and switching publishers. People who are considering self-publishing. One thing all of them had in common: limits. This is my first major con as a professional and I can tell you that it is nuts. It's not like being a volunteer or an attendee. Being behind the table was a wild, weird experience. My badge, I found, held magical properties getting me and anyone with me into damn near any door. And that's freaky.
Now, I'm an extrovert 90% of the time. I'm gregarious, effusive and generally love to talk to people. (Remember that part where I said I sit in front of a computer all day? Yeah, I love having a chance to interact with other humans. I may also thirst for your flesh.) But even with my naturally "out there" tendencies, there is a line at which I say, "Back up, I need to retreat into a cool, dark corner."
Thing is, most of the writers I spoke with over Con weekend aren't as "out there" as me. They are introverts to the core. They are timid creatures shrouded with the bones of social interactions past hoping to fool you into believing they are an extrovert. Some of them made no pretense. They said outright that crowds make them freak out. Some of them mentioned during their panels that they aren't good at public speaking.
So when you meet your author at the elevator, that may be the first moment to herself she's had in 3 days. She may not have remembered to eat today. (That happens, especially at conventions.) Or, she may just have crippling social anxiety and this moment is the first time she's had to let down all her guards.
To that point, don't be surprised if said author vanishes rather quickly. The Drinks With Authors event at the Con was a particularly interesting social experience for me. When we arrived (most of an hour late), Patrick Rothfuss was outside the main room with others, having a quiet moment. I didn't see him come back in at all. Jim Butcher? He arrived and got mobbed. He couldn't move until he was pulled up to the front of the room to give away books. After that, I noticed he did a nice disappearing act. John Scalzi bamfed in and quickly back out again.
That's not assholism. That's not snubbing. That's self-defense. I know how crazy it was for me to be flitting about like a butterfly in that room. I was stopped here and there by people who wanted to talk, or what have you, but I'm no body compared to Jim or John or Pat. I know that I was dying of the heat and closeness in that room (me, the people-loving extrovert)... I can only imagine if someone who is more claustrophobic, or one with social anxiety, got dropped into a small, sweaty room with 200 people.
...Unless It IS You.
It's true that your favorite author might be brushing you off because of a busy schedule, sour stomach or any number of valid, personal reasons. But never forget that you might be pressing too hard. Check yourself. Are you invading personal space? What's your attitude expressing? What does your body language say? Have you just invited yourself into dinner where maybe you weren't wanted? Have you perhaps interrupted them while they are having a conversation, or spending time with their family? Before you decry your favorite author as an asshat in person, just remember that interactions have more than one person involved.
Also, They're Working. Yes, Cons are fun and such, but for the actors, authors and professionals on site, this is work. This is business. Last weekend, some 77,818 people gathered for Phoenix Comic Con and I feel like I talked to all of them. (Except Nathan Fillion.) I shredded my voice and slept most of Monday because the experience itself was exhausting. It's WORK.
Also, some of the authors--myself included--weren't just sitting on panels and manning a table and selling stock and meeting potential readers and networking with other authors or editors...we were also wrangling families. My daughter was on site Thursday, Friday and Sunday afternoon. Talk about "Take Your Kid To Work Day". Oy.
It's stressful to be both Mom and Jamie Wyman, Author, at the same time. Keep that in mind. Or... Then again, it is possible that some authors--like any other brand of human being--are just assholes. It happens. Try not to take it personally and move on with your life. (I know this can be easier said than done if, say, you've traveled to meet said author and tell them how their writing shaped your existence only to be handed a sales pitch or a withering glare.)
What I'm getting at here, gang, is that Cons are crazy and many authors are, by nature, introverts who spend most of their time in their own heads. Some authors I met last weekend were pretty frosty at first. That's their right, and it might be what they need to get through something so harrying as a convention. Don't press, don't push or try to "wear them down". (Seriously, please don't do this. Ever.) If that person thaws out, peachy. Grand. If not, it may not be a personal affront to you. While fun, cons can be exceedingly overwhelming and some authors turtle up when they feel uncomfortable. Their shells may be spiky due to past experiences or their general personality. And if there is an asshole in any given situation, make sure it's not you.