World Fantasy Weekend 2018

I spent last weekend at the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore and had a great time even though I spent a large chunk of it behind my table in a very slow moving dealer’s room–no worries, I went in expecting it to be more marketing-oriented thing than sales. Staying in one place made it a lot easier for people to find me and I had a lot of enjoyable conversations with artists, authors, and readers.

Not all that long ago, the World Fantasy Awards changed the award from “the big ugly head” to a bronze award created by Vincent Villafranca. Vincent is an amazing artist and, in addition to the 2013 Hugo Award he made, I am proud to own a few of his smaller works. This year, the art show featured several of Vincent’s works, including various prototypes and molds used in the process of creating the award. It was fascinating to see and I’m so glad they did this. Far too often, what goes on behind-the-scenes in the creative process is ignored, so I applaud that they made this possible for all to enjoy. (There was a lot to enjoy in this year’s art show.)

Despite changing the award, the nominee pins remained the same–a smaller version of the head. This year’s convention team took it on themselves to work with Vincent and create a matching nominee pin that was the envy of many previous nominees, myself included. I have to praise their efforts to make this happen. I wish I had taken picture of one. Maybe a nominee (or winners, congratulations, by the way) will post a shot of theirs soon.

This year’s convention was also the first I’ve seen to feature a consignment table–likely influenced by SFWA’s efforts at Worldcon earlier this year. This allowed attending authors to bring some of their books and have them available for sale at the con. From what I could see, it appeared to be quite successful and helped out a lot of authors who wouldn’t have been well-represented by the regular book dealers. I know World Fantasy has some weird rules about the dealer’s room that might have prevented it, but this table should have been inside with the rest of us. If other’s follow Baltimore’s lead–and they should–that’s the one improvement they can make.

Conventions are volunteer-run events and as such, there will always be little glitches and mistakes. I know there were a few, but ultimately, I didn’t care. This convention was better than many “professionally-operated” events I’ve attended and people seemed to be having a genuinely good time. That’s the bar I set and adding the extras I’ve mentioned causes me to rate this year’s con quite highly.  Congratulations and thank you to everyone that worked on it!

Norwescon Writers Workshop

I’ve been invited to be “Honored Professional” at the 2019 Norwescon (SeaTac, WA) in April and will be participating in the Norwescon Writers Workshop as a guest moderator (one of five or six moderators who will be critiquing manuscripts for the workshop).

I’m looking forward to participating in my first Norwescon and working with the authors in the workshop. If you are interested in signing up for the workshop, details are available here.

Capclave 2018 Schedule

I’ll be at Capclave in Rockville, MD this weekend.My schedule as follows:

Friday 7:00 pm: SF and Fantasy in Translation 
Panelist:Neil Clarke, Inge Heyer (M), Alex Shvartsman
Panelists discuss what makes a good translation. How literal does it need to be? What culteral markers do and do not translate? How does the translator capture the author’s voice yet still keep the work comprehensible to an audience that doesn’t speak the original language and may not be familiar with the culture in which the author lives/lived.

Friday 8:00 pm: Anthology Builder 
Panelist:Neil Clarke, Alex Shvartsman, David Stokes, Michael A. Ventrella (M)
So you want to edit and publish an anthology. How do the stories get picked? How do you come up with a theme? What sells and what doesn’t? How do authors produce readable fiction in the straitjacket of an original themed anthology? How do you properly curate your anthology?

Friday 9:00 pm: Dealing With Rejection 
Panelist:Neil Clarke, Scott Edelman, Barbara Krasnoff (M), Michael A. Ventrella
Everyone in the field has to deal with rejection at some point. Panelists will talk about how they handle rejection, and in the case of editors, panelists will offer suggestions on how NOT to handle rejection

Friday 11:00 pm: How NOT to Get Published, a/k/a Late Night Tales From the Slush Pile Panelist:Neil Clarke, Wendy S. Delmater, Bjorn Hasseler, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella (M), Sean Wallace
Editors will discuss all the things authors shouldn’t do if they want to be published. For instance, submission guidelines exist for a reason. And no matter how brilliant your story is, threatening the editor will reduce the probability that it will be published to zero.

Saturday 10:00 am: Chinese Science Fiction Short Story: A Conversation between Xia Jia and Neil Clarke
Panelist:Neil Clarke (M), Xia Jia
There has be a steady translation of Chinese science fiction in recent years, but are you curious about the history of Chinese science fiction and its current status in China? Do you want to listen to the talk between one of the most prestigious Chinese science fiction author and the editor who has published dozens of Chinese science fiction stories translated into English? Come and enjoy the conversation between Neil Clarke (on site) and Xia Jia (remotely!)

Saturday 12:00 pm: Short Fiction Contracts Workshop
Coordinator:Michael Capobianco (M), Neil Clarke
Workshop on understanding publishing contracts for short fiction. What to look out for, what to negotiate. Limited to 10 people

Saturday 3:00 pm: Crowdfunding Dos and Don’ts
Panelist:Neil Clarke, Alex Shvartsman, Joe Stech
So you have a fabulous idea or product and a shortage of funds – what do you do. Panelists will discuss successful and unsuccessful crowd funding campaigns, either their own or those of other people. Topics include how to set reward levels, how to budget how much money you need and the merits of various crowd funding sites such as
Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Pozible.

Saturday 7:30 pm: Mass autographing (Ends at: 8:55 pm) Eisenhower

Sunday 11:00 am: Small Press Publishing 2019
Panelist:Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Neil Clarke, Ian Randal Strock, Sean Wallace, Steven H. Wilson (M)
Capclave is lucky to have a number of small press publishers as program participants. The folks from Prime Books, Wyrm Publishing, and others talk about their upcoming projects .

2018 Worldcon Schedule

Worldcon is this week in San Jose. I’ll be arriving sometime late Wednesday evening and returning home on Tuesday.

I have the following panels:

  • Thursday, August 16 – 4:00pm – Chinese SF/F and its Fandom (212C)
  • Friday, August 17 – 11:00am – Translation & Communication of Chinese Science Fiction (210F)
  • Saturday, August 18 – 12:00pm – Kaffeeklatsch: Neil Clarke (211B1)
  • Saturday, August 18 – 4:00pm – Autographs

I’m not on any of the editing, anthologies, or short fiction panels, so if you want to hear (or talk to me) about that stuff, sign up for the Kaffeeklatsch or catch me between panels, meetings, and award ceremonies. (This is not a complaint. It’s just how things fell this year.)  I go to these things to meet people, so feel free to introduce yourself or just say hi. If it’s Friday, break the ice by saying “Happy Birthday!”

I will also be attending the following award ceremonies:

  • Friday, August 17 – 5:00pm – Chesley Awards (Callahan’s Place). I’m a nominee for Best Art Director
  • Sunday, August 19 – 8:00pm – Hugo Awards (Grand Ballroom). I’m a nominee for Best Editor (Short Form)

I do not have a table in the dealer’s room, but the SFWA table will have a few copies of both Clarkesworld Year Nine volumes and some of the other dealers will have my Night Shade  Books anthologies.

2018 Readercon Schedule

I’ll be attending Readercon in Quincy, MA this weekend. Light schedule this time:

Friday 6:00PM – Scouting Global Speculative Stories
Liz Gorinsky (M), Neil Clarke, Mimi Mondal, Anatoly Belilovsky, Alex Shvartsman, Francesco Verso

Magazine and book editors will discuss how they scout and promote authors from outside the U.S. and U.K., sharing their expertise and best practices. How can writers and editors make the best use of resources such as Lavie Tidhar’s WorldSF Blog and Rachel Cordasco’s SF in Translation site? What would make it easier to find, publish, and publicize world speculative fiction?

Sunday 10AM – Kaffeeklatsch

I’ll also be in the Dealer’s Room at the Clarkesworld table during the open hours I’m not otherwise scheduled for.

2018 Balticon Schedule

I’m a Special Guest at Balticon this year!

My schedule is:

Friday, May 25

4pm – Freelancing in the Publishing Industry
Christina M. Frey, Neil Clarke, John Edward Lawson
How can one survive on their own in the wild, ever-changing world of genre publishing? Hear some stories and advice from people who have!

Saturday, May 26

11am – Kaffeeklatsch: Neil Clarke

12pm –  Dangerous Voices Variety Hour

2pm – Recognizing Predatory Business Practices
D.H. Aire (moderator), James R. Stratton, Neil Clarke, Rosemary Claire Smith, Lawrence Watt-Evans
How to look for signs that you might not be dealing with a legitimate company – including common tactics such as pay-to-play, signing over derivative works, and others.

3pm – Making a Good Book Cover
J. R. Blackwell, Starla Huchton, Neil Clarke, Jabari Weathers
What makes a cover eye-catching? How might different audiences interpret the same imagery? Our panelists will go through the design process.

Sunday, May 27

12pm – Are Advances in Technology Making Spec Fiction Harder To Pull Off?
Carl Cipra (moderator), Larry Niven, Sarah Pinsker, Neil Clarke, Nicky Drayden, Catherine Asaro
Is it possible for writers to keep up with the rapid pace of technological development? Can we we “future-proof” the challenges our characters face so there won’t be an “app for that” by the time the book comes out?

1pm – Autographs: Neil Clarke and Ted Weber

3pm – Ask Me Anything: Editors & Publishers
Walt Boyes (moderator), Scott H. Andrews, Neil Clarke, Ian Randal Strock, Jeff Young
A panel of professional editors and publishers answer questions from the audience.

4pm – Kickstarter, Patreon, and Crowdfunding Your Novel
Tee Morris, Philippa Ballantine, Michael R. Underwood, Neil Clarke, Lawrence Watt-Evans
In the traditional model, an author is paid per book sold. How has crowdfunding changed the way writers work and publish?

9pm – Tales From the Slush Pile
Joshua Bilmes, Neil Clarke, John Edward Lawson
Editors share tales of some of the gems they’ve received, and give advice on how to avoid becoming fodder for future panels like this.

Monday, May 28

11am – Pitches We’re Sick Of (and Ones We Want to See)
Sarah Avery (moderator), Joshua Bilmes, Neil Clarke
Agents and editors discuss trends in submissions.

12pm – Writing for Themed Anthologies
Jean Marie Ward, Alex Shvartsman, T. Eric Bakutis, Neil Clarke
Anthologies offer an excellent opportunity for writers to get their work out to new readers. Writers and editors discuss where to look for submission opportunities, how to write to a theme, and tips on catching an editor’s eye (for the right reasons).