Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ComicCon for writers

There's lots of classes for writers at ComicCon.  Some are awesome. Some are disappointing.  Some are thinly veiled kickstarter campaigns.  And there's a lot overlap, in both subject and schedule, so how do you choose?

Of course the most important things to check out are your favorite pop culture idols.  That's what this pilgrimage is all about.  And the masquerade.  You'll want to see it.  It's quite a show.  But if you have large patches of time, here are my recommendations based on past shows.

Things not to be missed at ComicCon if you are a writer.

Anything called something like "What's new at [publisher]" - These are raffles where they hand out copies of upcoming releases before you can buy them, but that's not why.  The audience is the best and most vocal focus group anywhere  See which titles get the loudest screams.  Find out what plot summery get people humming.  Learn what the people sitting next to you would give their first-born to win. 

Comic Book Law School - It's not just for comics.  I highly recommend this for all writers, but it's an absolute MUST if you are thinking of selfpublishing.  Real lawyers and law professors teach all about copyright law, merchandizing laws, intellectual property laws, contract negotiations, public domain, nastygram letters to cease and desist. etc...  Find out the difference between parody and satire.  (Hint one will get you sued.  The other will not.  Ok, that's only a hint at how important the correct answer is.)  Just because you have an airtight case doesn't mean you'll win, and if you don't have a case, you're in big trouble.  Think your book on Smashwords is too small to show up on the radar?  Think again.  They talk about publishers racking up $85,000 in court costs to recoup $5,000.  Why?  If they let one smallfry steal, they have to let everyone steal.  It's best to know the law so you can stay out of the courtroom altogether.

Classic festival of Animation - "Huh?" you say.  "What does that have to do with writing?"  Simple.  The crowd gets to vote on what they get to see.  Remember how agents are always telling us you need to grab the reader in the first five pages.  You'll see that in action here.   Nothing will get the audience booing faster than a slow setup.  Come here and study the stuff that gets them cheering.

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