So, how was ComiCon, you ask? If humanly possible, I’m going back next year for the whole thing and I’m bringing my son and nephew and one or both of my bothers.
My wonderful publisher, Hachette Book Group (Grand Central Publishing) came up with a badge for me so I could attend Friday and sign the copies of My Forbidden Desire they were giving away. I flew down and back on Friday, which is doable because it’s only an hour flight from here.
Huge thank you to Nick Small of Hachette who came out to give me my badge, escort me to the booth and help get me set up and ready to sign. I’m also glad that was at 9:00 am before the con was officially open, because after that — madhouse.
The signing was FUN and my gosh the books were just gone as fast as I could sign them. Everyone was so nice and friendly. It didn’t hurt that a Twilight give away was about to start, too. Hachette Books, in case you didn’t know, also publishes Stephanie Meyer.
Now, who doesn’t love free books, right? But good golly, there were a lot of people who were excited to meet me (yes, me!) because they had read my books and loved them or who had orders from others to get my book. There were a number of people who read the back of the book and were pretty excited about reading it. PLUS! I remembered to bring bookmarks for My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire so everyone got bookmarks, too. The extras were gone pretty quickly, too. So, authors, if you sign at ComiCon, bring LOTS of bookmarks. If I’d brought a thousand of each, I think they would have disappeared. Frankly, I think if I’d brought thousands of each they’d have been picked up.
I love talking about books and Hachette had some of my favs out there, including Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper which I think is just a really excellent book so I couldn’t help pimping that a bit.
After the signing, I took a bit to breathe and then I wandered around the exhibit hall, which let me let you is a lot of walking. There’s a great mix of commercial/corporate stuff — glitz! Glamor! Big displays!! and small presses, artists, comics… just really astounding. I wish I knew more about the comics biz because there were artists there drawing stuff and selling their artwork and I’m a doofus over artwork.
Then I decided to attend a few panels only I didn’t have a schedule thingee and I’m ashamed to confess that I also didn’t know who anyone who anyone was, so I just picked a few. I hit paydirt on my first one. Artist David Yardin gave a great talk on creating a comic book cover. Here’s his portfolio
What I loved about his talk, aside from the gorgeous artwork, was his story about how he got into the business. It’s instructive to writers, too. He’s from Australia, which doesn’t have the professional Comics industry the US does but he knew his work was pretty close to professional level. He was getting great feedback but he knew he needed to get himself to the next level. What he did was search out advice and (hugely paraphrasing here, and making observations David did not) since professionals get excited about talented people and want to help them, David did find just such a professional. He worked on his craft with this man (whose name I know I should have recognized but didn’t, sorry). He studied hard. Really, really hard. And he internalized what he was being taught and applied that to his work. He said he spent hours and hours just drawing arms, for example.
What was clear is that David wasn’t just passionate. He wanted to learn. Or more appropriately, even though he knew he was good, he knew he needed to be even better. And he made it happen. That’s a lesson for writers too. Don’t just complain about how hard it is to get published. Study your craft intensely and always be working to get better.
After that session I got in this astoundingly long line for someone named R. Rodriguez who I figured must be a big deal on account of the long line. (Ducking!!) Yeah. Director Robert Rodriguez who started out with his hit El Mariachi which he made for $8,000 in two weeks because he had to give the camera back in two weeks. Then he went on to make movies you might have heard of, like Spy Kids and Grindhouse and lots of others. He was really funny and told a lot of amusing stories.
I popped in on a couple more sessions and wandered around a lot. I tried to find Marjorie M. Liu’s signing but my lack of a program guide and my general inability to tell right from left meant I wandered around aimlessly and with my luck probably passed her twice without seeing her.
There are lots of ComiCon attendees who dress up. I saw lots of Klingons, several Wonder Women, Spiderman, Jedi Knights, Storm Troopers and lots of others as well as costumes I was unable to identify. Some of the costumes, male and female, were uhm, ill advised, in my opinion but ultimately, it’s all about having fun and everyone was having fun.