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When you're planning on spending the entire day running from discussion panels to talks by television stars, only to be interrupted by the never-ending wait in the autograph line, you need to start the day with a good meal. And end it, also. Fortunately for the attendees of Shore Leave 37, the Hunt Valley Inn provided the fuel for such endeavors in the form of an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are rumors that management is now reconsidering the wisdom of that choice. It was $24 for dinner and somewhat less for breakfast, and there is little doubt I received my money's worth. I only ate two meals per day and I believe I've gained about five pounds over the course of the weekend. Never were less than three plates used, and on at least on happy occasion, a fourth was required.
I started out with a spinach and mushroom omelet (with cheese in the middle, because just like Wallace, I like cheese, and it was made to order right in front of you), sausages, and fruit. You can't see it here, but I had coffee, water, and orange juice to drink. I only ordered the coffee the rest appeared as if by magic...
|Breakfast, first course...|
I believe there is a possibility that I used a second plate to get the potatoes and some more fruit. There was probably something else on the plate, too, but I can't remember. Maybe it was bacon.
Then I was forced to eat dessert...
|Dessert at breakfast|
Yes, forced, I tell you! With more coffee, of course.
Once this celebration of gluttony concluded, I waddled out into the vendor's area to see what was for sale. Here's an example:
|Lady Heathers Fashions at Shore Leave|
This is Lady Heathers Fashions, with all sorts of stuff for cosplay. They also do custom leatherwork.
Around this time, I got a John Barrowman autograph for my brother.
At noon, I participated in the "Details of Publishing: The Good, the Bad, the Indies" workshop. The point of this was to give ideas on how to get published, with the upsides and downsides to each method. The panelists included Donna Frelick, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Marco Palmieri of TOR Books. Here's a few pointers that came out of this:
- Try to get reviews for your book to increase sales
- A Bookbub ad will get you sales, but they don't take everything
- Get a good cover. Look at covers you like and find out who made them. Don't be afraid to redo the cover if it doesn't work.
- Try small presses if the big ones aren't buying, and don't be afraid to try both
- Get an editor, and at least 3-4 beta readers
- Try sending stories to contests, if unpublished
- Build a query synopsis - 1 to 2 sentences with plot and ending. You can check Queryshark for help. And query only one book at a time, don't bombard them with a whole series even if you have that in mind, No more than about 200-250 words.
- Check out W. B. Thomas' Guide to Query Letters.
Marco Palmieri of TOR books made these points:
- Do your research
- Brevity is your friend (1 page query - no more)
- Check spelling
- Check out the Manuscript Wishlist (#MSWL)
- Write an elevator pitch
Other places to check for help in getting published:
- Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds blog
- SFWA now accepts indie works (within parameters) for membership
I got out in time to see the last part of John Barrowman's Saturday talk. This is John clowning around on stage with a boy from the audience.
|John Barrowman at Shoreleave 2015|
After that, I caught the last part of Roger Cross speaking. I took several picture of him, but not one came out sharp.
BTW, there isn't any "travel time" built into the schedule, so just as one event ends the next is starting. That's a bit irritating as the events aren't right next to each other, and with all of the people crammed into the halls it takes time to get from one area to another.
At 3:00 PM, I attended the Writer Beware! workshop hosted by Richard White, Kathleen David, Glenn Hauman. This discussed the problems of writers being taken advantage of and is based on the website of the same name. Points I got out of this panel include:
- The complaint database at Writer Beware is confidential.
- An agent requires no certification. If an agent says they are certified, distrust them.
- Some valid agents will charge a fee (usually they will read the entire manuscript if they do).
- The biggest problem is amateur agents.
- The best situation is to find an agent moving away from an established company.
- Use AgentQuery to check for agents - who, what agency, sales.
- Use AbsoluteWrite - has index (blue=active agent, green=not active)
- Smaller presses should specialize - they shouldn't try to cover every genre.
After the workshop, I made my way into the main auditorium (the Hunt Room and the Valley Room joined together) to see the folks from Defiance (Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran).
|Jesse Rath, Jaime Murray, and Tony Curran from Defiance|
Here are close-up pics (about the best I could do without a tripod).
|Jesse Rath at Shore Leave 2015|
|Jaime Murray at Shore Leave 2015|
|Tony Curran at Shore Leave 2015|
Somewhere in here, I got to talk to and shake hands with David Nykl.
After that, I got into the autograph line with my group. I got an autograph from Tony Curran on a picture from the Dr. Who series where he played Vincent Van Gogh.
Then it was time for dinner. Think of dinner as breakfast except there was roast beef, fish stuffed with crab meat, and delights of that sort. And, of course, dessert! I've become quite good at waddling.
Once we attended to some personal business, we stopped by the dance area to meet friends. BTW, they were playing ABBA when we arrived, then went straight to some sort of rap music. Ecclectic tastes, here...
They're partying here at Shore Leave! pic.twitter.com/fS7ZfYJy6k— K R Smith (@WOKRSmith) August 9, 2015
With the day coming to an end, we relaxed with an adult beverage (only one), then went back to our rooms and turned in.
P.S. There's more to come. I'll try to get it posted when I can.
A note about the Farpoint convention coming up in 2016:
Farpoint is trying to raise money to enable them to bring more actors and actresses from popular shows to their convention. This can be expensive. If you are interested, please listen to the message from Tim Russ (Star Trek Voyager) below, then check out their kickstarter page for more info.
Click HERE to go to the Farpoint Kickstarter.
Looking for a summer beach read? Here's a new romance/suspense novella from Terri Deno (Kindle format):
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