HalCon Review – Author Panels

On Saturday November 5th, I attended HalCon, the biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada. There were many wonderful demonstrations, vendors and author displays. There was also author signings, autograph sessions and endless streams of characters.

Shortly after I arrived, I sought out the room for the Editing and Formatting panel session. The speakers for the event included

The description of the session stated: To Oxford Comma, Or Not.  This and other questions about editing formatting will be answered.  If you’ve ever wondered about cutting parts, proper structure or when not using proper grammar is okay, then this may be the panel for you. Continue reading

Scattered Stones Cover Release and Proof Order

The novel I conceived in the second half of 2009 is now in the birthing canal.

Yesterday I placed an order for a proof copy of Scattered Stones. After I hit the CONFIRM button, I sat back and thought about the journey to give me a better perspective of what I had done.

In May 2010, I had written the last 60,000 words in a rush to reach the end. Then the manuscript went through multiple edits, being read and sporadically edited by beta readers. I edited and revised when I found time, often between stints of working outside the home. For six months in 2014, I barely had a chance to look at it because I worked six to seven days a week, putting in ten-hour days at a garden centre. This sort of schedule doesn’t leave much time to eat, sleep and say hello to the kids, let alone hours bellied-up to a computer to edit a novel.

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Writing a Book Acknowledgement

Scattered Stones Diane Lynn McGyverThere are many sections to a book. The two important parts that need the most attention are the story and the cover (in that order). For the past several months, I have focussed on these two things; without a doubt, I want them to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.

As launch day approaches for Scattered Stones, book 2 in The Castle Keepers series, I need to start playing with the other parts that go into a printed novel, the little details that occupy the spaces between the front cover and the story, and the back cover and the story. Playing is the exact word I want to use.

This time around, I want to be less formal and allow a slither of my silly side to lighten and brighten these little details. I love fun, funny and silly. And I love putting a twist into things that readers don’t expect. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I have never written an acknowledgement for any of my books, but I’ve seen many books that include them. In essence, it is a few words to thank the people who provided a helping hand to bring the book to life. This might be direct or indirect help.

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Marketing: Results from Paid Promotion of 99 cent-eBook

Lessons in Self-publishingFor one week, my epic fantasy eBook Shadows in the Stone was reduced from $3.99 to $0.99. To help promote it, I added the book to Betty Book Freak’s mailing list. I didn’t put it on any other site because I wanted to gauge the results of the paid ad.

Readers of this blog will remember I’m working on my marketing skills, running experiments and testing promotional ideas. The two posts I previously wrote about on this subject are:

Marketing Results

Like all marketing campaigns, many things influence results—day of the week, day of the year, number of subscribers to mailing lists, full moons, a horrible book, a terrible blurb, Trump stealing the spotlight, ghastly book covers, vacations, hens laying…you get the picture—so what did or didn’t work one time might be completely opposite the next time.

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Simple Tips to Make Your Book Description Standout on Amazon

Lessons in Self-publishingConfession: When I uploaded my first book to Kindle many moons ago, dozens of things ran through my mind…

  • Is anyone going to read it?
  • Is anyone going to like it?
  • Will the interior formatting pass Kindle’s inspection?
  • Will the cover be the right size and quality?
  • Did I miss something that will make it not appear on the website?
  • Is the ISBN correct?
  • Am I spelling my name right? (Yes, I worried about this too)
  • Am I choosing the right key words?
  • Is my description good enough?
  • Are there spelling mistakes in the description?
  • Will the power go out before I complete the publishing? (Okay, that’s my worry today because of the blizzard outside.)

Publishing for the first time can be overwhelming. The goal is get the book uploaded and to not get bogged down by unimportant details. Worrying about all these things I listed gave me no mindset to focus on individual aspects of the eBook publishing process.

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2015 HalCon Review

As I mentioned in my previous blog HalCon History, I attended HalCon for the first time on the weekend. Although the event runs three days, I could attend only one, so I chose Saturday. This is typically their busiest day.

We showed up early (8:30 am) on the advice of my nephew who had attended past HalCon weekends. Since we hadn’t attended on Friday, we had to register and trade our ticket for a bracelet. For anyone going for the first time, this might be a little confusing. I mean, when you attend a concert at the Metro Centre, the attendant at the door scans your ticket and you’re in.

At HalCon, you first have to register, which means show your ticket to the clerk along with a piece of ID, preferably with a picture. She matches up the name on the ticket with your ID, and you get your bracelet. Since the doors didn’t officially open until 9:30, we had to then go in another line, one that would get us officially in.

This line didn’t take long, and shortly after 9:30, we were walking into the vendor area where many things related to fantasy, science fiction and games could be found. It took a few minutes to get our bearings, but eventually the two people I came with, went off to seek the things that interested them, and I went to a presentation I thought was interesting.

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HalCon History

Dubbed the “biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada”, HalCon doesn’t disappoint in size or in science fiction and fantasy. Thankfully, it takes place less than an hour’s drive from home in downtown Halifax.

HalCon began in 2010, and since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, they had so many people arrive on Saturday, the fire marshal closed the doors and wouldn’t let anyone else in until someone left. This is a problem most events would love to have.

From HalCon’s About page, we learn Nova Scotia has a history of conventions. They existed from the 1970s to the 1990s but eventually disappeared. In 2008, the idea to revive such an event took root. Two years of planning and fundraising created the first HalCon which took place at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. It turned out to be such a success, that it moved to the World Trade & Conventional Centre in 2011.

What started out as a 1,500-fan attendance in 2010, transformed into 6,400 attendees in 2014. This year, it included floor space at the World Trade & Conventional Centre and the attached Scotia Centre (the Mero Centre for the locals who have known it as that for decades).

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