You may not know this but I’ve been traveling a lot, so much that I’ve only spent three Saturdays at home in the past six weeks. Part of this was because of my epic plan to chase my dream and be the kind of author I want to be. The other part had to do with boring things like booking Ron Perlman for Central Canada Comic Con, meeting Ian McDiarmid, Zachary Quinto and Shawn Ashmore and talking to people about Polar Bears. (Yeah I guess it’s not that boring after all.)
So . . . Brandon Mull knows who I am. I think we should start there because of all the cool things that happened to me in August that was the one thing that gave me goosebumps . . . in a good way. It was a very seamless meeting, I walked into panel room #1 at Salt Lake Comic Con on Friday (I was almost late due to the crowd) and there was a bunch of guys all chatting with each other. I recognized Brandon right away but the others introduced themselves to me (I can’t remember who they were now, sorry, at the time I was like OMG it’s Brandon Mull like a silly twelve year old fangirl.) BUT and this is where it gets cool because I’m all fangirling and Brandon turns to me and says, “You’re Rhiannon, right?” Right . . . and I was also the only other girl on the panel so essentially by process of deduction I must be Rhiannon. And then he leans in and says, “You can read minds right?”
In my head: HOLY CRAP HE KNOWS WHO I AM.
Out loud: “*laughs* Yeah I can.”
In my head: You can stop fangirling now, also check out how the room is full to capacity, find your brain and your tongue and say something smart.
I didn’t say anything smart.
That was by far the coolest moment at SLCC (Salt Lake Comic Con) until Saturday when I was on another panel with Brandon Mull, Brody Ashton, Larry Correia, and Obert Skye. I ended up moderating purely because I wrote notes the night before and nobody else did. I backed that up with something like, “I wanted to be more prepared today so I did the homework.”
Anyway, I’m taking questions from the audience because there were a lot of them and one woman asks us what we think of Self Publishing v.s. Traditional Publishing, to which the panel groans and I say into the mic, “That panel is at 4pm, I don’t think we have time to discuss it here.”
Brandon pops up and he’s like, “But I do have something to say about that and that is, unless you’re prepared for all it entails, it will be really hard.” (I’m not quoting directly, but you can probably find the panel online somewhere, they were filming it.) Larry Correia starts to say something like, “I don’t think anyone on the panel is self published, I began that way but as soon as I got that contract I was in.”
And I piped up, “Uhh, actually I’m self published.” To which the panelists were like, “Oh . . .” and Brandon piped up and said something else I didn’t quite hear about how you really need to know what you’re doing to be self published or you will fail. And I said, “I love you Brandon, but I didn’t fail.”
Another “Oh” moment for the rest of the panel, and then I announced that my book Surrender has hit 30,000 copies sold. That resulted in a round of applause from the again, full to capacity room.
I have say that it was great that nobody thought I was self published. Getting respect from so many authors I basically fangirl on has been one of my dreams I’ve been chasing for awhile. So I can put this in the checked box of things-I-wish-would-happen-to-me-because-I’m-an-author list and continue on to more awesome things that happened.
I got more fans. The SLCC fans were awesome when they were at my table. They took pictures of my banner and salivated over the books, the art, and the props. Too many of them picked up my props and tried to make off with them. Three of those fan peoples thought Shezeel’s wand was a unicorn horn (it’s a wand) and whenever they did that I cringed and said in a high pitched squirrely voice, “please don’t touch the props!” Which only resulted in sheepish looks, red faces, muttered apologies and NO SALES.
You can’t sell books if you’re yelling at people.
But you can sell books if you’re cute, you let people read the back of the book, and you have epic deals. I think I sold more books because mine aren’t available at Barnes & Noble, a question I was asked a lot. I was also asked if they were online, of course they’re online, go get them.
The coolest fangirls of the whole weekend however, well actually there were a lot of you, Keela, Jessi, and Chantelle you all come to mind. Keela and Jessi because you posted on my wall on facebook and Chantelle and Jessi because you bought the first book on Thursday, and loved it so much you had to have the other books and came back on Saturday to get them.
Seriously, that’s never happened before.
Kevin J Anderson hugged me, which is completely off topic but when I arrived, he came by my booth and hugged me. He’s very cool, I hope we have more time to catch up sometime. Also his wife Rebecca Moesta commented on a facebook post asking if I would be there. I think it’s cool they know who I am, and follow me the way I follow them.
And this has nothing to do with SLCC but at Wizard World Chicago I had a couple of fans come up and one of them mentioned that her class is reading Last City on Earth (another check mark on the list) and then the guy began talking about feorns like he knew what they were and I stopped him to tell him that I am the only person who writes about feorns, I know because I checked. He seemed a bit flushed, wondering where he had read about feorns and then he says, “Wait, what book is this?” so I handed him the book and he read the back and was like, “Holy crap I’ve read this book!” And then we talked about the alternate cover . . . so he was a really EARLY fan boy for my stuff, and I think it’s awesome that a complete stranger came up to me and was like, “I’ve already read your book!” (another check on the list.)
I’ve come to learn a few things since being at Wizard World Chicago and Salt Lake Comic Con:
1) Being a Guest is always better than just having a table.
2) If you have a panel, don’t wing it.
3) People don’t buy books if you yell at them, if the ATMs are down, or if there’s a bunch of people trying to take photos of a Wookie in the aisle.
4) Random people will hand you cameras and ask you to take pics of themselves with pretty chicks in costumes if you’re not paying attention.
5) If you’re staying with someone, find out how far they are from the airport before you book a 7am flight.
6) There’s a difference between being good enough for everyone else and being good enough for yourself.
After Salt Lake Comic Con, I am now good enough for myself.
I wish you all knew how incredibly difficult that was.
Tamora Pierce, I have finally found the success and cool fans you hoped I would find last year when we met at Convergence. Thanks for writing those words in my copy of Alanna, my oldest daughter is reading it now.
To everyone else who has liked me on facebook, downloaded my book, messaged me, put something on my wall or just generally been there for me throughout this journey, I <3 you all.
I made it!