One of the things I have tried to take most to heart, as I have begun my fledgling career as a writer, is how little about the business I actually know. As I may have mentioned before, one of the several confluent occurrences that put me on this path was meeting and participating in a day long series of seminars with Michael Stackpole on how to build a novel, and manage a career. The prolonged exposure to such a successful person, doing the very thing I hope to, was transformative.

Stackpole stressed, however, that no author ever finished learning, and that if I wished to ever become successful, I would continue to seek out others who had done as he had, and listen to them. I met Lee Modesitt, Jr., and David Weber, both of whom added things to the very book I was writing at the time. I met many new authors in much the same circumstances as myself, but who had different perspectives on the writing and the business.

While I attended what conferences I could, there were others just a little bit out of reach, that nevertheless held the promise of yet more new wisdom and lessons I could take and use. And let me say this; as a new writer, you never know what mistakes you are making. The more you hear, the better off you are.

Jumping ahead in the story, Lena (my wife) employed her superior Google-Fu, and found the Superstars Writing Seminars. Now what made this find so special, was that this conference sold MP3s of their panel discussions online. I couldn’t get there in person, but I could order the MP3s, and listen to them at my leisure at home.

I bought the 2010 and 2011 conference files, and have listened to them both, as I am sure I will do again. The wealth of information for a new writer was simply staggering. What quickly became most clear to me was that here were people who not only saw a need to educate and moved to fill it, but who honestly and earnestly cared about the next generation of authors, and possessed a generosity of spirit that compelled them to share themselves with those authors.

Speakers include Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, Tracy Hickman, and Sherrylin Kenyon, among others. All prolific and successful novelists and writers, to an individual. The only downside to the MP3s against visiting in person, is not being able to meet with these people in person, which I would very much like to do eventually. I think I might have to take a few more of those illustration jobs after all.

In this blog I will be describing the experiences of being a new author. The first book, the decisions and searches that follow, the struggles, and obviously the inevitable and well-deserved victory. (Hah!) But if you ever want to see the view from the other side of the fence, Superstars is not a bad spot to gaze from.

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  1. Alan on July 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Coming from a marketing person, I think one mistake you made was leaving your old site.

    You had quite a bit of traffic there, and keeping those visitors interested would be useful when selling the book, as there will be a pile of people ready to buy it, whereas starting from scratch means that you are, well, starting from scratch.

    • Kevin on July 5, 2012 at 5:03 am

      You’re not wrong, and there are some days that I kick myself for it.

      However, in the long run, (and I’m really hoping for a long run) I don’t want to define these books by the comic. They are certainly similar in a lot of ways, but in my opinion the novel format is WAY better for the stories I really wanted to tell than the webcomic ever could be. Much of that centers around the comic being a D&D comic, which slashes an already niche fantasy market.

      Time will tell if I made a good decision, or not!

      • Alan on July 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        Do you have many people signed up to the newsletter? Can you draw them back?

        It might be worth using this blog to put up a few regular features / sketches / podcasts / other relevant to the books to start a regular readership again.

        At the moment, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had read the comic, I wouldn’t keep reading this blog.

        • Kevin on July 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

          All fine points, and better ideas. We do have some email addresses, though that is more Lena’s bailiwick, than mine.

          I am aware that there are a few hurdles, though I think that many of them spring from simply having switched formats. There will be some continuous themes here though, to hopefully pull in some new folks as well.