Author Archives: Scott Eder

About Scott Eder

By day, Scott is a Champion of software quality, breaking code, and squashing bugs. By night, he’s a slinger of fantastical words, creator of places and people undreamt, and smith of heroic tales. Oh, and an adviser/coach/fanatic for competitive youth bowling. Ask him about it … he dares you. Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

Tampa Bay Comic Con

 

Tampa Bay Comic Con (TBCC) is a family-friendly convention held in the Tampa Convention Center the first weekend in August. If you like your Cons sweaty, this one’s the fandom sauna for you. All joking aside, TBCC is hot when you’re standing in line, but you get to cool off inside the Convention Center. It’s got a strong vendor presence and attracts top-notch celebrity guests (including best-selling authors like Kevin J. Anderson, Terry Brooks, and R.A. Salvatore). The panel schedule is crammed with celebrity appearances, fandom-specific topics, and even quite a few writing panels. Let’s talk about the whole panel thing in a little more detail.

I’ve hosted and participate on TBCC panels for several years. The process to get into TBCC programming hasn’t been very hard. They start taking panel submissions in the Fall and make decisions during the year to fill out their three-day schedule. The key is to have a compelling, popular topic, and a description that will grab an audience. Watch the website for details and submit early.

As I stated before, the Con is family-friendly with guest ages spanning eight months to eighty years. I’ve always found the crowd pleasant, if not a bit snarky (not that I bring that out in people. At all. Ever.) and welcoming. The vendors I’ve worked with, both at my own table in the Artist Alley and while volunteering in the WordFire Press booth have been easy to work with, always willing to watch your table when you need a bio break.

Parking can be a bit of an issue, but you’re all set if you get there early. As a vendor, you can enter the Vendor Room an hour before show opening, so grab some coffee, arrive early, and get a choice spot in the parking garage across the street or connive your way into the Marriott parking lot.

Book sales have been strong. I prefer to partner with a few other authors to have more titles on the table. The different, vibrant covers and multi-genre offerings draw more interest.

Overall, I love TBCC. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in my backyard, but it’s a solid, fun Con and I will continue going back as long as they’ll have me.

By the Numbers:

  • 2017 Attendance – Approx. 60k
  • 2018 Dates – Aug. 3-5

Cost:

  • 6’ Artist Alley Table – $250 + 3% Paypal fee (includes two entry badges)
  • 10’ x 10’ corner booth – $575 + 3% Paypal fee (includes badges, but not sure how many)
  • Parking (how much depends on where you find a spot)

And Now For Something Completely Differ—err—Related – Superstars Writing Seminar

I know it’s the month for being Con-Fabulous, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Superstars Writing Seminar (SSWS) now, before the submission window closes for the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship. Wow, lots of new things in that one sentence. Focus, Scott, focus. Okay. Let’s break it down.

Superstars Writing Seminar

SSWS is a drink-from-the-firehose master class on how to be a professional writer. First and foremost, it’s a business seminar taught by international best-selling authors like Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland, and Brandon Sanderson. You know, the people we want to be like someday. They bring along with them a supporting cast of heavy-hitting guest lecturers (agents, editors, publishers) to provide deeper insight into their areas of expertise. Again, this is a business seminar. The focus is on treating your writing as a business and providing guidance on how to make your dream a reality.

But there is so much more than the incredible information. The instructors and guest speakers are there with you the entire time. They don’t run off. They don’t avoid you. They hang out. They go to lunch, dinner, and even out for a beer later on. They answer questions and talk and laugh and drink and exist in the moment.

And at Superstars, those moments are intense and wonderful. The atmosphere is so charged with creative possibility and hope, it’s contagious. Attendees refer to themselves as a member of the Tribe—a supportive collective of like-minded creatives looking to build their writing careers—and leave with a soul full of energy and a brain crammed with exciting new thought patterns and opportunities.

Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship

If you’re new to Superstars and find the costs out of reach, there’s hope—the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship. Here are the deets from the Superstars website:

This seminar can be a life-changing experience, and our scholarship program makes it possible for writers to attend who would not be financially able otherwise.

We fund our scholarships through direct donations to the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund, as well as through the sale of anthologies. One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology galloped onto the scene in 2015. In 2016 we added A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology. Last year, the Dragon Writers Anthology joined the herd.

Based on the success of previous anthologies, WordFire Press has again teamed with editor extraordinaire Lisa Mangum from Shadow Mountain Publishing, the inimitable artist and author James A. Owen, and an eclectic menagerie of Superstars writers, to publish Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath (available in 2018). Proceeds from all four anthologies are applied to the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund. The number of scholarships awarded varies based on the quality of the applications and the amount of funds on hand. We hope to continue awarding multiple scholarships to deserving writers each year.

The scholarship covers the cost of the seminar, including the Advanced Writing Craft Day. The scholarship does not cover travel, accommodations, meals, VIP seating, the VIP Dinner, or any other add-ons that may be available.

Scholarships are intended for:

  • First-time Superstars attendees only (sorry alumni).
  • Serious writers who want to learn how to kick-start their careers or build upon their existing platforms.
  • Writers with financial challenges. If you can afford this seminar, skip the scholarship application and register now. It’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your career. If you can’t afford it but know deep down in your soul that you NEED it, read on.

You can download the scholarship application from the scholarship webpage, but you gotta hurry on this one. The application window closes on 9/10.

I can’t put into words how much this seminar has meant to me and changed the way I approach my writing career. I know it’s not a Con, but if you are budgeting for next year’s travel, please make Superstars one of your primary destinations. It’ll transform you.

September is Con-Fabulous!

Welcome to September on The Fictorians! This month is all about Cons, or Conventions to you non-Con-goers who don’t spreckidy the same lingidy as us cool kids. I love Cons. I love the noise. I love the topics. I love the vendors and celebrity guests and…I love the smell of Fandom in the morning, but not in the afternoon. As an author, I love working a table or booth and talking to people and books and writing and publishing and whatever. Bonus if they happen to be wearing a Queensryche t-shirt because then we talk about music too. For me, though, it’s not all about the sale. Sure, selling books is important. We writers need to cover the expense of the Con plus travel and hopefully walk away with a little extra.  

But beyond the sale, I want to connect with readers and I believe many other Con-attending/working writers will agree with me.  

As we near the end of the Con season, I thought it would helpful to run down some of the events we’ve attended this year to assist in planning for next year. The more information you have about an event, especially a new one you’re considering, the better.  

Now, we’re not just going to say, “Hey this Con was cool. You should go.” Oh no. I mean, we might use those words, but we’ll back them up with super neato factoids from a writer’s perspective. Cost and attendance are easy to look up on the Con’s website. What you won’t get from the site is the writer’s perspective on how the con “went”. How were sales? Were the attendees into books/reading? What was the atmosphere – cool and laid back, edgy, frenzied? How was the Con run? Was the Con staff friendly and supportive? Can Indy writers get on or host panels? Does the Con even allow panels on writing topics? You know, the good stuff…the stuff not typically covered in the marketing white-papers. We’re shooting for info that can help the writer decide if she wants to attend next year.  

Here’s an example. I found a new Con, SwampCon, that I thought of attending and asked a fellow writer about it since I’ve seen him post about it in the past. He said it was a nice Con, great people, but writing wasn’t a high priority topic. And, here’s the kicker, because SwampCon is hosted in Gainesville on the University of Florida campus, the campus bookstore is not too keen on anyone but them selling books. I know I said I wanted to connect with readers, but I at least want the chance to sell books. Glad I know and can take that into serious consideration for next year. 

As the month progresses, I hope you’ll walk away with some interesting new destinations for next year. In addition to the Cons, I believe you’ll find a few posts discussing major writing seminars and events that have proved amazing, transformational even, and should be seriously considered in your travel plans.  

Got it? Good. See you around the Blog this month.  

Have fun, 

Scott 

Momentum Leads to Success

Momentum lead to success. Errr, no, wait. Success enhances momentum. No, ugh. Momentum feeds—hmmm… 

Yeah. That’s it. Momentum can lead to success and success builds momentum. Now that I’ve got that straight in my head, I can talk to you about it. Hi there. As we go through this together, know that I’m talking to myself about building momentum as much as I’m talking to you.  

Momentum is great when we have it. The words pour out and page after page zips by beneath our fingertips. We finish projects and move on to the next. Each completion feeds our passion, goads us on, pushes us farther. And when that sale happens, holy monkey, it’s like we hit the after-burners. Zoom!  

At some point, the glow from the sale begins to fade and though we are still moving forward, our pace slows. Words come harder. It takes longer to finish, if we finish at all. We hit that uphill slog in the manuscript and feel our momentum grinding to a halt like that old, wood-paneled Buick station wagon stalled in the intersection during rush hour.  

Have you been there? Drivers navigating around you and showing their appreciation for your delay with a single-finger salute while you desperately crank the key, hoping for a spark to catch. Sometimes it does and, by some automotive miracle, after the tenth crank as the battery is slowly whirring down – ignition! The words come, slowly at first, but they come and we’re on the move again without too much drag on our momentum.  

Other times, though, you turn that key, breath held, teeth clenched, and pray to the Buick pantheon for a miracle. Clickclickclick. <insert bad word here>. Dead. Deep breaths. Count to ten. Okay. Gotta get moving again. The ultimate destination of Atlanta sinks beneath the immediate need to get the car to the service station across the intersection. 

It’s that change in perspective that’s the key. While we need to keep our ultimate goal in mind, when our momentum slows or stops, we need to set our immediate sights on short-term wins to get moving again. In our unfortunate case here, we need to get out and push this beast out of the traffic flow. Now, a big-ass station wagon doesn’t just move with a body lean. It’s going to take some serious effort to get this thing moving. Feet set, right hand on the steering wheel, left braced against the doorframe, you push. The car leans forward then settles back. Rest for a second. Ready? Eyes on the service station, muscles straining, feet pumping like they did when attacking the sled in high school football practice, the car leans further. Harder. Pushpushpush. The wheel turns. Success! Don’t let up. Pushpushpush. Cross over one lane. Success! The car is rolling freely now. Pushpushpush. Another lane. Steer into the station’s driveway. One final push to get over the storm drain. Pushpushpush. And…success! Now on to the next challenge.  

Writing works the same way. We need to plant out butts in the chair and write. It’s going to be hard at first, but stick with it. As we move forward, we need to define our successes in terms that will lift us up and keep us moving forward. As the successes pile up and our progress mounts, we close in on our bigger goals. And when we hit those bigger goals, boom, after-burners. 

If your goal is to write a novel. Don’t focus on that one thing, break the effort down into achievable milestones (the first page, the first chapter, the first act, the second act, etc.) and acknowledge the completion of each one. Let that accomplishment propel you toward the next one.  

Even backed by a tsunami of momentum, we still have to put our butts in chairs and write. So do it and and use your words to propel your success.