Monday, March 26, 2007

Swancon SF Convention - coming up

The latest (last?) Swancon progress report is online, including the current version of the program.

Some time back Russell Farr asked me whether I'd be interested in doing a panel on professional promotion. Now, I don't do a lot of panels at cons, mainly because you could pick almost any topic and there'll be someone at the con with more knowledge and/or experience of that topic than myself. Or at least, someone more willing to talk about it. (I don't mind public speaking - I regularly talk about writing, my books and myself to gatherings of schoolkids, and if you ever want to find a tough audience ...)

Anyway, I said yes, and I was pleased to see the panel listed in the program.

Time: Friday 3pm
About: Professional Promotion
Panelists: Russell Farr, Matthew Reilly, Angela Challis and myself.

By the way, "Professional promotion" is the kind where you don't need a thick skin and lots of very forgiving friends.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

9 comments:

Gillian Polack said...

I hope this means you're going to come to the East Coast and do the same for our conventions. It would be good to see you at Conflux. Me? Resort to heavy hints? Never! Think of it, so many of us know you and so few of us have ever actually met you...

Simon Haynes said...

I did Continuum in Melbourne when we first launched ASIM - you mean once a decade isn't good enough?

Midwestern Writer Wannabe said...

Thankfully, no one really wants to attend panels about the sub-amateur promotion that I usually end up doing... :-)

Simon Haynes said...

It'd be fun to do a panel on 'my most embarassing promo efforts' Mind you, it'd be hard to top the person who went around a nursing home with a box of their books, trying to flog them to the bedridden residents whilst supposedly visiting a relative. (I don't know who that was - read about it on the AW forum.)

Joshua Palmatier said...

So . . . is this panel more about how to BEHAVE professionally while promoting, or is it more along the lines of what marketing things you can do (like magnets, postcards, radio spots, etc) to promote your books? Or both? It's easy to be an ass while on the promotional kick. I've been on many panels where I just wanted to hit someone to get them to shut up about their book and get to the topic of the panel. So I can totally see an entire panel just on professional behavior.

And where do you stand on promoting your things on panels? Is it OK to start the panel with your intro, hold up your book, mention a few key facts about it (perhaps that relate to why you're on that particular panel), and then move on? Or do you prefer that everyone just say their name and move on? Should authors bring their books to display at panels or is that too much?

I always feel awkward about introing myself and plugging my books on panels. I mean, part of the reason I'm there is so that people see me and my books, so I feel I should do it, but I sometimes feel like I should just stick to the panel topic only and not even mention my books, even in the intro.

Simon Haynes said...

So . . . is this panel more about how to BEHAVE professionally while promoting, or is it more along the lines of what marketing things you can do

Yes. (ie. all of the above.)

Re: mentioning my stuff:
I do stealth panels - after the intro I'm there to discuss the topic, not my writing or my books. Those people sitting in the audience didn't pay to attend a 45-minute live commercial.

Re: books on the table:
I think the current one is fine to wave about but once you get a stack happening you're just showing off.

As we're doing a panel on promotion I'd expect the audience to consist of people who want to promote something of their own. They'll want to hear what works and what doesn't, with perhaps an anecdote or two about our silly mistakes.

(I never put my own work down, though. That's easy to do when you're trying to win the audience over - e.g, making yourself out to be an idiot so they laugh is one thing, but calling your first book a hastily-written piece of junk you had to knock out to fulfill a contract is something else entirely. Joke about something like that, then watch 90% of them leave at the end firmly believing it.)

Zonk said...

Gratz!

I don't do any panels at cons, because a)I haven't been published, b)no one know who the heck I am, and c) just about everyone has more knowledge and/or experience than I do, lol.

At least it shows the conveners of the conference think you have something worth contributing. I just attended my first con, and the freelancers and authors were at least as helpful as the editors and agents I met.

As Holly Lisle says, forget the 'experts', and listen to what the pros have to say.

Hope it goes well!

Brian said...

"Now, I don't do a lot of panels at cons, mainly because you could pick almost any topic and there'll be someone at the con with more knowledge and/or experience of that topic than myself."

I was a guest at Silicon last year and had a great time. I like conventions even though I feel guilty that I work so slowly.

Dr Ian Hocking said...

Hi Simon - Hope the con + panel went well. I'm still recovering from mine (must have been a rum bacon butty). Nice to meet up with Mr Jarrold. What a lovely bloke.

Cheers
Ian