Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Week in Writing #240 - Report from the Front - WonderCon

Well, let's start with some news from the other writing I do, the sort of stuff that ends up on the bottom of this blog, you know, shake things up. To begin with, no new queries, though I did hear back from one of the agents I wrote about representing Broken People.

On Wednesday morning, at my day job, a response from one of the three agents I have queried popped up in my personal emails. If you're like me, the dream is to someday be able to walk away from your job because you've finally made that as a writer. Like a lot of you, I still think that starts with getting representation, so my day was looking up. Each email from an agent holds within it the potential of that dream. I think you can see where this is going. "Not for us, thanks," didn't kill that dream but did defer it for another time and another agent to help make it come true.

The point of this blog isn't to call people out, at least not by name, but to provide a public record of what I'm doing or, at least, trying to do with my writing every week. So I'm not going to call the agent out by name but rather to state how defeating such a summary rejection can be to me or to anyone. While one query letter may seem a lot like the next one, these terse rejections do hurt a little. Now, I'll admit I had little hope this particular agent would take me, I only queried her because I hadn't anyone in quite a while and I had the necessary information about her (yes, the agent is a woman) and her requirements weren't all that different from previous agents, okay two, that I had already sent out. But there was no salutation at the start, no sincerely at the end, just "Not for us, thanks." I mean, I get more friendly form emails from junk mail. You have every right to reject me or any writer, you just might want to up your game a little. You never know what might happen in the future.

I did reach out to the editor on Familiar Stranger twice this past week, once on the phone and once a PM on Facebook. And, wait for it, neither got a response. The thing with cell phone numbers, and why I don't always give them out (yes I still have a landline for that reason), is that you know the owner of the phone has to have it close by and probably, in fact, saw it ringing, saw my name attached to the number and didn't answer. A home number you can assume the person isn't home but a cell phone means they made a conscious decision not to pick up or listen to the voicemail you left. Ouch!

So, enough about rejection for a while (at least until the next one arrives).

Nothing new from the artists on Powers Squared this week, though that doesn't mean nothing happened with the comic book. In fact, some really big news for us. We're a little over a month away from our first comic book store appearance (and signing). I won't go into many details now but it's our local store on Free Comic Book Day, so it should provide us with some good local exposure.

That also means there is a lot of legwork we're going to have to do in April to prepare. Still, it is an exciting opportunity. And if you read this, and you live in the Los Angeles area, we would love to see you come by. In addition to selling copies of Powers Squared, we'll be signing issues if someone wants us to as well as hopefully adding to our mailing list. If you're reading this and want to be apart of the mailing list, please go to and join the mailing list. It's on the front page, you can't miss it. We would really appreciate the support.

Paul and I ended up spending most of this past Tuesday night watching what turned out to be a two-hour infomercial for about the need for a mailing list before starting something like a Kickstarter project. I'm thinking next month we'll start using some of this text, enhanced of course, as part of a weekly email to people on the list to let them know what's going on with the book. I'll still do this blog and Paul and I will still do the weekly vlog, we'll just be making sure more people know about A Week in Powers Squared and how to buy the comic and, hopefully, join in on the conversation.

Paul and David talk about WonderCon amongst other topics on this week's vlog.
Paul, Trevor and I did attend this past weekend's WonderCon in Anaheim. Usually, I'll do a report from the Front with notes from the various panels and people that we meet, etc. I'm not a really big one on taking photos of cosplayers, there are better people at that than I, so if you're looking for that than this is not the place.

For anyone who has never been, WonderCon is sort of a baby-sized version of San Diego Comic Con. It is in some ways a dry-run for that larger event. A lot of the reason for going is to learn and to network with people you've met at previous cons or have met through other walks of life. So it was more a learning experience than anything else. I did wear a Powers Squared t-shirt, but I also wore a jean jacket which covered up most of it.

We only attended a couple of panels: How to Get Press Coverage and Forging Careers in Fandom. We had attended the first one last year as well. Led by Rik Offenberg from First Comic News, the panel discusses what has worked for them in the past and how they encourage you to write press releases to send to media outlets, including theirs.

When sending a press release you should always have a pitch. Offenberg mentioned that he had received an email that morning asking him to cover his Kickstarter but gave no details beyond that. That's the kind of email that will get deleted along with the spam. It's always a good idea to follow the website and engage them on social media before sending them your press release.

Also, a good idea is to supply links and images that the writer can use to write their story; the idea is to make it as easy on them as possible. The suggestion was also made to have an A story and a B story in the release that both come together in the end.

Sitting there listening to them, I thought about what sort of press release we could write to publicize our book signing and who we could send it to.

They also talked about doing podcasts, which I took to mean other people's podcasts and conventions. The Long Beach Comic Con, which unfortunately has already happened, was mentioned. The idea is to start small and work your way up. The rule on Podcasts is to choose one with 30 or more episodes since a lot of people stop and start them. Thirty shows a certain commitment.

Forging Careers in Fandom wasn't really aimed at me, though it was an interesting panel to attend. They talked about their jobs which for the most part are freelance and don't always pay a living wage. The panelists did stress sticking with it as part of their success. They do a lot of jobs from event planning to Community Manager for Dungeons and Dragons to Disney Bounding, which is not the sort of work that I would see myself doing, though it does show that you can if you persist, you can find work doing something you enjoy.

To round off the week, no new reviews written but I did publish one on Saturday on Trophy Unlocked: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. We had seen the film in the theater and as I recall we really liked it. But does it hold up after 14 years? Find out and read the review.

So next week well be a shortened one. We're taking a family trip out of town for several days which I'm sure will keep me from doing much writing. I would hope that I could do some on the plane rides but last time we flew I couldn't even open the laptop on the tray, the seats were that close together. But I will, of course, report all here next Sunday. Keep writing until then.

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