Back from Balticon 47 – Part 3

by Doc Coleman on June 5, 2013 · 2 comments

in Balticon

In part 1, I talked about some of the wonderful people, both old friends and new friends, who make Balticon such an amazing event for me. In part 2, I went over a couple of the highlights of the first half of the weekend. Now, in Part 3, we’re going to look at the rest of the weekend.


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend. Not only was I participating on more panels on Sunday, most of the panels that I wanted to attend were on Sunday. So the day was jam packed.

The day started off with a panel I’ve wanted to see for a long time: The Business of Being an Author. Being an author is a very unusual business to be in. It doesn’t require any special training or certification, but many businesses are dependent upon the output of writers. You don’t have to be good to be successful, but if you’re not successful, people assume that you’re not good. It is a very strange business. But the strangest thing about it for a writer is the fact that we spend so much of our time working on our skills as if we were simply artists. The business of writing is very different from the business of art. As a writer, you have to know a lot more than just writing. You have to know about editing, publishing, and distribution. Yes, you can hire other people to do these functions for you, but if you don’t have a working understanding about each of these dimension of the business, it is only a matter of time before someone will try to rip you off. And if you don’t know how the business works, odds are they’ll succeed.

So, the Business of Being an Author, wasn’t a one hour crash course of everything you need to know about being an author, but was a set of reasonable  steps for an author to take to help protect himself and his business. I won’t try to list each of these recommendations here. I will be dropping the audio I recorded from the session into the Balticon Wrap Up feed later for those who are interested. For now, suffice it to say that it is important to separate your business and its assets from your personal property and assetts. The easiest way to do this is to set up a business account and set up a Limited Liability Company, or LLC for your business. Of course, the requirements to do that vary from state to state in the US, and even more from country to country throughout the world. And it won’t be free. You’ll have to budget some money for each year of operations to cover expenses of just having your business. Of course, if you ever get sued, that investment will really pay off.

After leaving the Business of Being an Author, I wandered over to meet my wife for Renée Chambliss’ presentation on Narrating Podcast Fiction. I have to admit that I missed a good bit of the presentation, but that was because I was being Audio/Visual support. Renee’s presentation involved a presentation with a number of embedded audio files, but she couldn’t get the audio from her computer picked up by the mic she had to play over the PA system. I ran back to my room and grabbed a bag full of cables that my wife had brought with us from home. Digging through the bag, I came up with the right cable to connect her computer up to the PA system. This also gave me the opportunity to find the right cable to connect the output of the PA system to the input of my H2.

And having found this cable, I was able to record the next panel in the room, Alex White and Stephen Grenade’s Disasterpiece Theatre. This was the first time I had a chance to be present for a recording of Disasterpiece Theatre, and it was a hilarious time. Although now I have a new fear of Sandra Bullock.

Following that, it was my turn to get behind the mic for Galley Table Live with our special guests Scott Sigler and Abigail Hilton. I thought that we were going to do a show on endings, but Jeff Hite pulled a fast one on me and mutinied his own panel, turning it into a story brainstorming session. The interesting part was the fact that before we got very far into the story, Scott started taking notes on his story. Then he and Abigail converged their story lines and they started conferring and taking notes together. As they left the panel, they were still talking ideas together. It won’t surprise me to see a new story from the two of them in the next year or two.

Right after Galley Table was a panel on NaNoWriMo with P.G. Holyfield, Allison Gamblin, Pamela Gay, Starla Huchton, Hugh O’Donnel and myself. This panel focused on National Novel Writing Month, why we do it, how we survive it, what tools we use, and what we get out of it. Each of us had a different take on NaNoWriMo, and used different techniques to get through the month.

After a scant break wherein I discovered that food service in the afternoon at Balticon hovered between slim and none, I found myself back in Derby for the live recording of this year’s Metamor City Audio Drama. This year’s story was co-written between Chris Lester and Mildred Cady. Two years ago, I got to play a minor part in the last Metamor City Audio Drama. This year I got to play two minor characters. Slowly I am working my way to taking over all the minor characters in the Metamor City universe! Cue evil laughter!

The show was actually a lot of fun, and came off pretty well, despite a couple of technical problems. Chris Lester really knows how to manage a good show. I look forward to being able to be part of Metamor City again in the future.

From there it was off to Chesapeake for WordPress 101 with Tim Dodge, Pamela Gay, Nutty Nuchtchas, Allison Gamblin, and myself. This was supposed to be a beginners guide to WordPress, but with experts on the panel like Allison Gamblin, Pam Gay, and Nutty, it was really hard for a duffer like me to get a word in edgewise. It really took the panel up to a new level, but we had a lot of difficulty keeping the panel from becoming too complex and technical for beginners. Still, there was a lot of good information there if you could keep up with the discussion.

After a short break and some scrambling to acquire dinner (why do these places close early when there is a convention in town?), I found myself back in Derby for Podcasters against Humanity, a rotating session of podcasters playing Cards against Humanity with Hugh O’Donnell acting as the moderator and the audience acting as the judge. I got pulled into the first round and had a hell of a good time. We also spawned an idea for next year, Stories against Humanity, where writers take the answers from each round and then try to write a story in the time left in the panel. We’ll see if it happens.

All Steampunked up for my reading. All Steampunked up for my reading.

After Podcasters against Humanity, most of the crowd was lured away by promises of room parties and other libations, but we managed to get a few to stay for Words of the Gun, a series of readings from the forthcoming Way of the Gun Anthology. Since Justin was called home due to an emergency, I was the only author in the anthology present for the reading. I read a statement from Scott Roche, the creator of the Anthology, and then Christiana Ellis lead off for us, reading a selection from Jared Alexrod’s “The Gun with the Glass Chamber”. Then Veronica Giguere favored us with a reading from Jake Bible’s “Geared for Evil”. Veronica did an excellent job with a cold reading of the story. Then I finished off with a reading from my story “The Shining Cog”. I think this was all around an excellent presentation of our stories, and I only have two regrets: We didn’t have a firm release date for the anthology, and we didn’t have a bigger audience.

After the reading, there was Cards against Humanity in the hall, then some wonderful long conversations while driving room parties into the wee hours of the early. It was an insane, overactive, underfed, amazing day. And it brought me a lot closer to some of my friends than I’ve been in a long time.

And it looks like we are in for a Part 4 in this series. I hope you’ll be back with us then.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brand Gamblin June 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hey, if you want any help with Wordpress, we can give specific tips and suggestions. That panel did get in deep quick.


2 Doc Coleman June 5, 2013 at 9:38 am

Actually, I have been talking with Allie about some problems that have cropped up since I tried a plug in she recommended. Unfortunately, the debugging requires disabling everything, then building it all back up again. That takes a lot of time over something relatively small. I expect I will do it eventually, just no time right now.

Ping me in email if you want more details.



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