Tag Archives: C. Bryan Brown

News: Those changes…

Yeah, about those changes I mentioned a few weeks ago…

They are currently in full swing. If you’re reading this (HI MOM), you see it’s a redirect back to my old WordPress URL. It’s gonna be this way for a few weeks for a couple of reasons, such as NaNo and I’m a website/internet dumbass. It’ll take me a bit to figure shit out, but I’ve already started and I’m at least on my way.

And, with all that stuff, I won’t be updating here much as I’ll be busy, I have no pending publications, and overall, I’ve been slacking like a fat, lazy cat in the sun.   But, things will return to normal soon, I imagine. Either that or I’ll give up and go into politics.  Sounds fun.

 

Writing: Though it not be written down, yet forget not that I am an ass…

So, as some people know, I recently had a birthday. The number is only important to me and anyone waiting for me to die. Hopefully, that’s not many of you, but hey, a man never can tell. Sad face fact is that I’m worth a lot more dead than alive, and a far worse sad face fact is that’s probably true for most of you reading this. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the American dream at work.

I digress, however, from the point of this post, which, as you can surmise by the title, is that yes, I AM AN ASS. I realize that isn’t news (at least, not shocking news), but it’s still a truth that I must face each and every day. Sometimes more, depending on how many times I look in a mirror. But holy fuck, I’m digressing again.

On point, the talented and insanely fucking smart Jen Sylvia (seriously, people, follow her blog, her twitter, and her other blog, and her other twitter…) reviewed Necromancer over at Nerdspan earlier this year. She reblogged the review last week on her website (yeah, the one I just TOLD YOU TO FOLLOW) and, being wrapped up in my berfday preparations, I completely missed it then and just caught it tonight. Hence, though it not be written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.

And, Ms. Sylvia, I am looking forward to your interview, sober or drunk.

Opinion: Contamination Defcon 4 Report

contamination

Copyright to Dave Dyer, 2006

Another Contamination has come and gone.

It was my second convention in as many weeks and my third Contamination. I enjoy this convention, not just because it’s in my hometown of St. Louis, but mainly for that reason. It’s a much smaller convention than most of the ones I generally attend, and that has positive and negative components. The positive being a more intimate atmosphere with the other vendors and the celebrities. The negative being less foot traffic and fewer opportunities to sell.

Like most conventions, Contamination suffered from a few logistical issues, but none that seemed to greatly alter people’s expectation or experience. That’s to say it wasn’t a near clusterfuck like Fandomfest the weekend prior (you can read my blog post about Fandomfest here). The KISS cover band, Rocket Ride, and tiki party were easy to find, as was the dance party the following night. In all honesty, the biggest issue for me was no ATM in the hotel. Really sucks when you’re trying to get drinks from a cash bar and you have no cash. So, Holiday Inn South County, get a fucking ATM, eh?

The only thing I questioned was the size as compared to the two previous years. It seemed much, much smaller this year, despite the reports that it was the biggest one yet. It didn’t seem that way to me, but I don’t crunch the numbers for the con, so who knows?

losingtouchI was able to hang out with some family and and old friend from high school (more on that later, I hope). Nearly sold out of Necromancer again, but missed the mark by a single book. As usual, it’s nice to hang with Mr. Beebe of Post Mortem Press. I also got to hang out with Chris Larsen for the second time, which was also very cool. His book, Losing Touch, is getting great feedback. I know everyone’s read my book by now (right?!) so check out Losing Touch today.

All in all, if there’s a fifth Contamination, I intend to go.

Opinion: Fandomfest Report

I’m sitting here in my room at the Holiday Inn in St. Louis for Contamination (starting tomorrow) and last weekend, I was at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky. This post will deal with my thoughts on the Louisville convention, Fandomfest.

Many people have written up their own reviews and most of them have been negative. I cannot invalidate their complaints (I share some of them), but it wasn’t that bad for me.

fandomfest

The worst part, by far, was the walk from the hotel to the convention center. The reason that’s listed as a complaint is solely for the fact that it made going to my room for anything a pain in the ass. It’s not like my suave body couldn’t use the workout, but when I ran out of whiskey in my flask, it just wasn’t worth it to walk back and forth.

NecromancerMy only other complaint was the lack of attendance to the literary panels. I joined the track to put myself out in front of people, obviously in order to help promote Post Mortem Press and sell Necromancer. If you know me, then you know doing things like panels are way, way outside my comfort zone. In light of that acknowledgment, it should be known that I worried myself so much that I debated slinking away to hide. I’m proud to say I didn’t, but fuck, man, all that stress for nothing. It didn’t make me happy.

 

To be clear, this wasn’t the fault of the lit track organizer, but rather the Fandomfest staff. Stephen Zimmer did a bang up job providing interesting and engaging panels, fun panels, and when you needed something from him, he provided it. But you can’t get traffic to your portion of the event if the main Fandomfest staff leave your panels off the main schedule, no one is going to show up.

Those two issues aside, I met some cool writers, a few new publishers, and assorted people who can do things I can’t. I also sold out of Necromancer, despite the low attendance to the literary panels. We’d probably have done better if the convention had been better organized. The majority of guests spent hours (and we’re talking in upwards of 6-7 hours here) and that stunted foot traffic in the vendor hall. Despite that, Post Mortem Press also did well. It’s not my business to ask other publishers how they did, so I didn’t, but I assume they did all right as well. I’ve read where some of the authors with their own tables didn’t fare as well, so who knows; generally, any convention is a craps shoot.

Will I go back to Fandomfest next year? That’ll depend on my publisher; I won’t go on my own, but if Post Mortem Press returns, I probably will as well. Let’s just hope Fandomfest pulls its head out of its ass before then and makes it so people want to go back.

The cosplay was outstanding; I wish I’d taken more pictures, but I don’t think of these things until much later (like right now… see how that works?) and the few celebs I ran across were all smiles and nods. Well, except maybe Butch Patrick who was walking the streets of Louisville with a box over his shoulder and a snarl on his face.

Go figure.

I See Authors… at Days of the Dead

Days of the Dead: Indianapolis is in the history books.

Each show has its merits and pitfalls and DotD was no different. I sold a few copies of Necromancer, signed them, and did the whole author thing. That’s always a joy. Saw Danny Trejo a few times as he wandered around, Lita Ford, Twiztid, Jake Busey, and Keith David. It’s important to note that it was Keith David and not David Keith.

dodauthorshotEven better, though, I was able to meet some more of my fellow Post Mortem Press authors this weekend. Chris Larsen, J. David Anderson, and Brian Dobbins helped the time fly at the table as we discussed the merits of “I am Legend” and PC vs Mac. You can find all of their books over at the Post Mortem Press online bookstore. Here’s a group shot of us, in case you’re one of those pictures or it didn’t happen people.

Best part, by far, was that I found a Pumpkinhead tee shirt that will fit my unusually large ass. Perhaps if Lance Henrickson ever does one of these conventions, I can get a picture or something.

Days of the Dead, Indianapolis

Saturday I’m traveling down to Indianapolis to sign books at the Days of the Dead convention. I’ve never been to this one, so I’m looking forward to it. If you’re in or around Indy, you should come on out and buy a few books at the Post Mortem Press table. I have it on good authority Post Mortem Press is going to have more than just a few authors present this weekend.

I also hear Days of the Dead is the official release of J. David Anderson’s “A Trail in Blood.” I’ll be picking up a copy this weekend and you should, too. Brian Dobbins is going to be there, no doubt signing his book Jasmine’s Tale: Darkness and Light.

And yes, of course I’ll sign copies of Necromancer for anyone who buys it. You just have to wait until Saturday since corporate ‘Merica insists I work tomorrow to round out my weekly schedule. If you can’t make Indy, though, pick up a copy of Necromancer anyway at Amazon! (just click on the cover!)

Writing/Opinion: Professionalism

I want to spend a minute today to talk about professionalism. If you know me, that probably sounds pretty funny, considering I don’t hesitate to drop the f-bomb into any conversation at a moment’s notice (in fact, there’s several in this blog post). I don’t stop to think about the words coming out of my mouth before I say them. Some people term that verbal diarrhea. And that’s all true; I freely admit to being one of the biggest dicks I know (I also freely admit to being one of the nicest people I know, but my hypocrisy knows no bounds). I’m opinionated and I pretty much disagree with 98% of the rejections I receive. Of course my fucking story was a perfect fit and I have no idea why it wasn’t chosen.

Despite my personality quirks described above, very few publishers or editors I’ve worked with know that about me. And until they read that line above, they probably thought their rejection letters were taken with a smile and a nod and possibly an “Oh, well. Better luck next time, Chris.”

Not so, not really, because if you’re a writer, rejection stings. Sure, eventually you get to that “better luck” point (sometimes it’s in 5 seconds, other times 5 years), but just like every other aspect of life, you’re judged mostly by your visible and public reactions to things. So you got a rejection letter. Not cool. Do you blast back at the editor/publisher with a “Hey, you’re a fucking tool!” or a “You’ll regret this because I’m the next Stephen King!” email? Or do you write back with something nicer, something like, “Would you mind telling me why my story didn’t make the cut?”

If you answered yes, keep reading.

Professionalism seems to be a lost art. And, by the way, professionalism is different than being polite; you can be polite and still be completely unprofessional. Professionalism goes beyond just saying please and thank you, as I’ll illustrate below.

I work in corporate America and it sucks. I’m not going to lie (nor am I going to say that’s a very professional thing to say, as it’s not) but it is a professional environment. There are standards that the company I work for must abide by and therefore, in my job capacity, there are standards that I must abide by. If I don’t abide by these markers set forth by my employer, what happens? My boss gets all pissy with me; I get reprimanded, possibly shit-canned. More than that, in my particular industry (which is heavily regulated), my employer can be fined and prohibited from doing business in certain geographic areas.

Now you’re probably wondering what all that has to do with being a writer. Well, consider those standards as a market’s submission guidelines. This means you better damn well read and follow them. Keep in mind, this is your reaction to those guidelines, not an action you’re taking (Your specific action in this scenario was writing your story, since you don’t have to send it anywhere). I read a lot of these blog posts where it’s “common courtesy” to follow a market’s guidelines. My response? FUCK THAT. It’s not a courtesy; it’s a requirement. By not following those guidelines, you’re being unprofessional. It’s not impolite to ignore a market’s request for 12 pt Courier, it’s fucking unprofessional. I don’t care if you hate Courier with a passion, if it leapt off the page and ate your mother’s face off, if the market wants Courier, it’s CTRL-A, change font, SAVE AS…

During my time editing Title Goes Here:, I’d have those people who wouldn’t read the guidelines and submit some of the most off the wall shit; they were rejected, without being read. And here’s a further little note: I kept a spreadsheet of submissions. Title, author name, and, if a piece was rejected, the reasons why. We weren’t a huge magazine, reading only about 700 subs a period, so I felt it was nice to remember people if they subbed again. But, I also knew if your first submission was some deformed version of our guidelines, too. You could be certain I was looking closely at your new baby, too.

Another thing: make sure your cover letter is in complete sentences, has proper capitalization and grammar, and addresses the things the market wants addressed. Usually that’s story title, word count, sometimes a brief list of publications, and a bio, in case you’re accepted.

Notice what information isn’t asked for up there?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Bueller?

Your name.

But that doesn’t mean don’t sign your email. You have no idea how many cover letters I’d get that looked like this (yes, this is an actual cover letter):

hi, here’s my story. let me know if its good enuff to be published. thanks.

Okay, I get it… we’re on the internet, dealing with something as impersonal as email, but that’s even more reason to make your communications professional. Hopefully, the above example illustrates the difference between polite and professional. I mean, they said hi and thanks, so really, that’s polite enough. But the professionalism is important here because what if the story is on the cusp and it needs some editing, which means working with that author to get the story where it needs to be. I couldn’t imagine any further email communication with this person. First impressions count.

And, lately, I have seen some markets now having “don’t forget to include your name” in their guidelines. This saddens me. It’s unreal that we’re so unprofessional that we need to tell people to sign their fucking name to a letter.

The other things that fall into that professionalism category are, like I stated above, not going back to the publisher/editor after being rejected, especially if your comeback is snark or ignorant in any way. You can be, and usually are, forgiven for asking for feedback, but don’t turn to being dick if A) you don’t like the feedback or B) you’re told no.

Reactions, people. It’s all about your reactions to these situations.

They also extend to personal meetings, though less so. Those personal interactions is where polite really comes into play. I’ve met editors who’ve rejected me, and it’s never, “Hey, you fucker, you rejected me…” it’s always “Hi, nice to finally meet you.” Shake hands, smile, and be personable since it’s unlikely you’re wearing a pinstriped suit, polo, or even khakis and a tie. Speak well, be as well groomed as possible (sometimes, in convention land, this isn’t as easy as it sounds), and try not to be drunk (again, a feat not as easy as it sounds).

Look at it this way: every time you submit a story to a market, you’re applying for a job. You want compensation for your work, which means you need to give that market not only a story worth publishing, but also an author worth representing. The writing “industry” isn’t huge and publishers/editors talk to each other. They listen, they hear your name, and you want them to hear your name in a positive light. You don’t want to be “that writer” who gets the thumbs down chat, the mockery, and placed on that “watch list” because you didn’t provide a professional package.

Think before you submit. Proofread. Remember those lessons from way back when about spelling, grammar, punctuation. Say please and thank you. Sign your name.

Bottom line is that to be taken seriously, then you have to be serious. That extends beyond putting your ass in a chair and writing as best you can. Every contact you have with an editor or publisher should be as clean as possible, professional, and top-notch.

Questions, comments, discussion are always welcome.