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Once More, GenCon

I wrote last year about the GenCon Writer's Symposium -- the enjoyment of reconnecting with a couple folks, the exasperation over the comments and panels on self-publishing. It looks as if the latter problem will be solved by reducing any direct mention of self-publishing to two single-presenter hours.

One presentation is called, "Self or Traditional: Pros and Cons of Each." The other is, "Self-Publishing: Why It Works, Why It" (I'm assuming the cut-off word on the schedule is "Doesn't).

Yes, in the year that even SFWA -- derided as so out-of-touch -- at last opened its membership to income-earning self-published writers, the Writer's Symposium believes the most pressing questions writers have about self-publishing is whether it's good or bad.

There are no "Business of Self-Publishing" panels. Nothing on what tasks are involved in producing print and ebooks. Nothing on connecting with editing, art, and design professionals. Nothing at all on avoiding the numerous businesses out there intending to fleece writers. Yes, there are a couple general panels that could be of use to self-publishers. However, last year's seemingly cross-applicable panels -- such as the panel on seeking professional reviews -- included direct "don't bother if you're self-published" references, so... yeah. Not hopeful about that.

My experience last year wasn't unique. Deborah Jay talks here about the Loncon panel on indie-publishing that didn't include a single person currently self-publishing.

I'll still be going to GenCon for at least one full day. There are folks I want to meet -- Cat Rambo! Lauren Roy! In person! -- and people I want to see again. A few of the craft panels look interesting. And my son might give the cosplay competition a try again this year. But as someone who knows so many writers seeking information on self-publishing, I'm disappointed at the lost opportunity to include them.

So... Here's the thing. If you're planning to attend GenCon and want to talk about self-publishing rather than debate its worth, let me know. I'm no huge smashing figure of great renown, but I can share resources, talk about scams and pitfalls, and discuss the business side of things.

I don't care if it's one person or a group of people. We'll have a roundtable discussion and exchange of information and experience, and it will be a good thing.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 13th, 2015 01:45 pm (UTC)
It's great that you've a district like that! I found brick walls for many years, and our current district is rather nasty about the whole thing. We did explore working with the district just north of us (we're right on the border), and they were welcoming and supportive of what you describe, but we were deep in the groove of doing our own thing by then.

And I'll never forget being laughed at the one time I seriously pursued enrolling Dev in middle school. I did more traveling for business at the time and took Dev with me (it's how he saw D.C., central California, Hawaii, and more), which would result in him missing 7-10 school days. That was, apparently, the most ridiculous and academically abusive notion the school had ever heard. How could a child be expected to learn if he missed TEN DAYS OF VALUABLE INSTRUCTION???

Me, I'm fairly certain he learned more from a week immersed in Smithsonian sites, museums, memorials, and discussions of history, politics, and international relations than he would have in a classroom of a rural farming town. But that's just me. :)
May. 14th, 2015 02:41 pm (UTC)
Cat Rambo
Come up to the Nebulas. We've got a day of programming devoted to self-publishing.
May. 14th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Cat Rambo
Cat, I so wish I could make it to the Nebulas! But it's on the fairly pricey side for me, and falls on the same weekend I need to wrap up a manuscript. (Though GenCon's registration is almost the same price, it's in my backyard, so to speak, so I don't need to pay $100-$200+ a night for hotel! :)

Besides, I'm not really looking to attend panels on the basics of self-publishing myself. Been there, done that, and now help others to do it. :) I'm wanting those panels to exist at cons -- especially events and workshops that want to be seen as educating writers on the business of writing.

Treating self-publishing as if it's still some exotic, edgy, and new-spangled thing puts non-inclusive cons behind the curve, alas. I almost expect the next panel to be, "The Future Is Here: What Is the 'Electronic Book' (aka 'ebook') and Does It Count as a Real Book?" ;-)

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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