Tidbits from Balticon

This weekend I went to a science fiction convention in Baltimore, Maryland, called Balticon.  Every con has its own personality, and Balticon is more for the small press publishers.  These were some of the tidbits I picked up.

Social Media is Indirect Marketing

One of the points a panel brought up was that social media is indirect marketing.  That is, posting tweets or blogs doesn’t make a reader jump over to buy a book.  More likely, the repetition of the name is what will make the sale.  You’ll go to a con, see an anthology, recognize an author name, and that’ll trigger the consideration for buying.

All this lead to the comment that not to spend 55% of your time on social media, and instead focus on getting more stories out there.

A pink power strip with a pink plug
A shameless plug (sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 🙂 )  Photo is from Clipart.com

For Pantsers: Don’t Rely on Memory.  Keep a Story Bible

Yup.  I’m guilty of this.  I can see the problem because eventually I will forget things, especially if I’m not in the story for a while.  But simply filling up a notebook with random information about characters is not going to work for me.  So I’m thinking of doing it more visually, like the one below.

A family tree showing my main character and his parents, his mother's siblings, and his mother's parents.

A family tree for the main character.  Four additional characters on this appear in the book.  I did this using PowerPoint (I’m a PowerPoint speed demon.  Most of the time was looking up several of the character names).

Birds are dinosaurs!

Cool fact from Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. from the University of Maryland, who specializes in dinosaurs.  Scientists have learned a lot from recent discoveries of fossils in China.  Dinosaurs may not have looked like reptiles, but more like birds, complete with feathers.  The bones don’t give us a good idea of what an animal looks like.  If you want to see some surprising examples off modern examples like cats and elephants, check out the book All Yesterdays.

Sea gull on a fishing pier
Did you know you’re a dinosaur?  This is a seabird from Virginia Beach.  Yes!  Beach pictures are coming!

Was it a good con?  Hmmm, well, I’ve been to better and to worse.  The science sessions, at least when they got a good presenter, were exceptional.   The writing ones were things I’d already heard before.  It looks like the con committee lost control of the scheduling.  There were a lot of workshops that were the same thing, only slightly different, and with one panel, it was done twice.

I did have an opportunity to meet fellow WANAer and HTYRNer Rabia Gale, who wrote up her own review of the convention.

Anyone else check out Balticon?

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