Monday, May 26, 2014

A Visit to WyrdCon

A few days ago I receive a slightly surreal call... there was going to be a panel on "ePublishing - Not For The Faint of Heart!" at Wyrd Con, and somebody had dropped out, and could I fill in at short notice... well, I've never done a panel at a convention before, and I was free on Sunday (today), so I said yes. It sounded like it might be fun...

For those who haven't heard of it, Wyrd Con is a storytelling convention for designers, writers, creators, producers, directors, technologists, inventors and explorers to experience a wide variety of narrative formats in a short period of time. Attendees of Wyrd Con gain an opportunity to improve their craft through education and experience while getting exposed to new methods of storytelling. It sounded like something I would enjoy, and besides, Jim Butcher - author of 15 Dresden Files novels - was going to be thre somewhere.

So, getting up way too early on a Sunday morning, my wife and I headed down to the Westin LAX Hotel, where the con was being held, and met up with Robert Seutter, aka True Thomas, and Angela Hunt of the Hunt Press for a coffee and briefing prior to our 9:00 AM start wit the panel.

I have to say that I enjoyed it as much as I thought I might. Robert and Angela were a joy to work with, and we had a decent audience who seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say.We talked about formatting for ebooks, marketing, the problems with the publishing industry, and why you might want to go to a publisher rather than self-publish, when the latter seems so easy to do these days. The panel ended, and Robert told us he had to dash to another panel with Todd McAffrey (who took over the Pern series of fantasy novels after his mother Ann's death) and Jim Butcher. Robert said if we had time to attend the panel, he would introduce us to Jim. As a huge fan of the Dresden Files novels, how could I say no?

So we sat through a very entertaining panel, where Jim, Todd and Robert waxed lyrical on the art of storytelling. True to his word, after the panel was over, Robert called Angela and I over, and introduced us to Jim Butcher. I have to say that in addition to being a fine author, Jim is a great human being, and I deeply regretted not bringing one of his books with me "just in case"... as it was, I got to shake his hand and tell him how much I enjoyed his writing. We were invited to join them for lunch, but declined, as I had to get back to attend to coven business. I've met a few celebrities over the years, and I think  - with the possible exception of Leonard Nimoy - this was the most star-struck I've ever been.

Todd McAffrey, Jim Butcher and Robert Seutter

In case anyone is interested, I recorded our ePublishing panel in audio format, and we also video-ed part of it, but the battery didn't last for the whole two hours.

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