Tag Archives: conventions

Octocon – where you can find me

It’s Octocon time again folks and once again I’m going to among the speakers, this is my breakdown for the con.

Naval & Piratical Traditions in SF&F

Saturday 10:00 – 11:00, E. Wexford (Camden Court Hotel)

In space, no one can hear you shanty. Do you know your capstan from your yard arm? Why are the traditions of the beautiful briny sea so attractive that we are keeping them alive long after they have left common parlance?

 

Late Night Panel: Getting You Off (World)

Saturday 18:00 – 19:00, C. Gaiety (Camden Court Hotel)

Sex in zero gravity and other ways we can dissapoint each other in the future. We live in a world where virtual reality sex suits not only exist but are moving to mass production. Sex bots are currently only a hobby build but for how long? How soon till we’re cloning our preferred partners? Is tech going to end good old fashioned romps? Is it going to cause more problems than it solves?

 

Cover Story

Sunday 12:00 – 13:00, E. Wexford (Camden Court Hotel)

Books aren’t judged by their covers but they are often the first interaction a reader will have with a book. We talk about what makes good cover, how often writers get to have a say in their own covers and how important is the first and least accurate judgement of a reader.

 

Star Trek at 50

Sunday 14:00 – 15:00, A. Tivoli/Yeats (Camden Court Hotel)

It’s the best of humanity. It’s a moral compass. It’s a safe space. It’s a show with ray guns, It’s a show with talking. It’s that thing that’s always on. It’s that one with the hot person in the revealing outfit that makes you feel funny. It’s a common cultural currency for so many people, giving inspiration for artists and engineers alike to bring forth our modern world of touch screens and instant communication. Star Trek is one of our favorite corners of the landscape of fiction. Come celebrate it.

 

Space Opera!

Sunday 16:00 – 17:00, E. Wexford (Camden Court Hotel)

From an insult aimed at “hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn, spaceship yarns” to a widely-beloved science fiction subgenre, space operas have been on a heck of a ride. We discuss what makes this genre the staple of SF that it is.

 

octocon-2016

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Octocon 2015

Slightly late notice but…

Octocon-2015-A5I’ll be at Octocon next weekend and I have been invited onto panels discussing, Self Publishing Military Science Fiction and Time Travel. See you there!

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Home Again – Loncon

Home from Loncon 3 – the world science fiction convention and boy am I tired. First big con I’ve been to and a good time was had. The one interesting observation I have the energy to make is that there were a couple of panels on military matters and in both cases they were heavily over subscribed. A failure perhaps to appreciate that it is a popular area?

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Shamrokon – my Eurocon Schedule

New_Shamrokon_Web_0

As some of you know this year Dublin is hosting Eurocon, named Shamrokon it going to be held from the 22rd to 24th of August. I have been invited to join three of the panels which are as follows:

 

Made In Ireland: Come To Ireland, We Have Tax Breaks

Friday 16:00 – 17:00, C. Ground Floor 1 (Double Tree by Hilton Dublin Burlington Road)

Learn all about Ireland’s tax exemption on income from works of cultural merit, and how this affects this careers of Irish residents.

 

Self Publishing: Career Progression Post Publishing

Saturday 21:00 – 22:00, E. Room 1/2 (Double Tree by Hilton Dublin Burlington Road)

“Next Steps in Self Publishing”
You’ve written the novel, designed a fantastic cover, and deciphered Amazon and Smashword’s Byzantine upload and tax instructions. Now what? Our panelists will debate the merits of multiple covers, writing in multiple genres, signing with The Big Five, POD, and series vs standalone

 

Self-publishing: Getting Feedback

Sunday 15:00 – 16:00, C. Ground Floor 1 (Double Tree by Hilton Dublin Burlington Road)

The differences between editing, beta reading & copyediting. Do our creators prefer The Compliment Sandwich or the Red Pen of Doom?

 

 

This will be my first time on panels so if you are there, then please be gentle!

 

PS details might be subject to change.

 

On a related note I’m also attending Loncon the weekend before – but only as an attendee.

LONCON3_logo_270w

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I can’t eat publicity

Something topical culled from the internet.

There’s been a lot of talk online about authors being asked or expected to do events for free, or virtually for free. So I figured I’d stick my oar in on this.

When I started out as an illustrator, I took crap jobs for crap money, because I figured it was the price of getting established. And it was. There was no back-up or support for illustrators, particularly in Ireland. You were on your own. I sometimes took even crapper money for good jobs, just to get those jobs to have in the portfolio. I don’t do that any more, because I’ve been at this malarky for a long time now, and I expect to be treated like a professional.

But one of the most valuable lessons I learned was that I had to sell myself as a tradesman. If you wanted my work, you had to pay me an hourly rate. If you wanted ideas, I would charge you for the amount of time I figured I could put into coming up with that idea, and what it was worth to you.

As I did when I was an illustrator, I took on a lot of badly paid events, and free stuff and daft stuff, because I considered these the price of learning the ropes, getting established and getting publicity for my books. Most authors – particularly children’s authors – start off the same way

And while events are an essential part of getting publicity, if we were to do it for just the publicity, there would be almost no full-time writers, and therefore no one available to do these events, and certainly to do them to the standard that people can expect today.Let’s say you run a festival, and you want a writer to do it for free – for the publicity. Let’s say they’re a typical mid-level, full-time author, so you’re confident you can get an audience for them: maybe fifty people. You could maybe get more in than that, but you don’t want to hire a bigger hall, in case you can’t fill it. Let’s be really generous – to keep the numbers simple – and say that the author gets one euro for every book that sells for ten euros (they often don’t) as a result of that session. If every single person in that audience bought a book, that author would get fifty quid for travelling to your event, and performing for an hour with skills and experience that take years to develop. Does that sound reasonable to you?

All the various people and organizations who build their businesses around books expect to get paid for the work they do, but it’s astonishing that writers, and to a lesser extent, illustrators, whose work is the foundation of these businesses, are expected to give their time for free, in return for royalties they may eventually earn after every other person involved in the sales chain – most of whom are employed full-time – has been paid first.Do you work for a company or organization? Would you be willing to travel to another town or county to work for free, in the hope that you might get paid a little more somewhere down the line in return for this work . . .

And if you’re running a big, prestigious festival that can draw audiences because it has a powerful brand, and you think you can offer little or no fee on the basis that an author should be grateful they’ve been invited, then bear in mind we’re all talking to each other a lot more these days. Word gets around fast. And the problem with brands is that once a company’s brand becomes tainted, everything they do and everything they’re associated with becomes tainted too.

If you want people to bring their time and expertise to events you intend to hold, and you are counting on those people to attract audiences and make your events a success, you can’t expect them to come for free. We’re professionals. And professionals get paid.

The full post can be found here, I’ve met Oisin Mc Gann at a couple of the small conventions here in Dublin and he is an informative speaker.  Myself  I’ve never been asked to speak at event; since I am pretty small time and content to be an amateur writer this isn’t surprising. Still what I would take from Oisin is that a writer (or anyone creating with the aim to sell) has to grasp sooner or later is that it is a business. Sure not everything is about the pursuit of the mighty Dollar/Pound/Euro/Insert-Name- of-Reasonably-Hard-Currency-Here but unless independently wealthy, an average standard of living requires a certain amount of cold hard cash each year.

We can loop this back to what I said about linking to Amazon, that reaching out to a small geographically limited group is probably never going to pay its way even if the event is in the writers hometown and expenses are minimal. If further a-field then travel and accommodation are factored in so then the average writer will have to sell a significant number of books just to break-even on a single event. At the end of the day publicity might be nice but no one can pay next months credit card bill with it.

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