Another year, another con (another rant as well, been a while ).
Dublin Comic Con 2016 wrapped today and it was another crazy experience.
This year the stalls sold out in record fashion. If you had a buddy you wanted to be placed near you could let the organisers know and they would accommodate you. Last year I talked about the stall buddy I had made and figured we would pair up this year. Sadly he didn't get a stall before they sold out, so that sorta messed up that plan. However being the smart guys that we are we split my stall instead.
STALL BUDDIES 2016!!!
Stall buddies just make the entire event so much easier. During the lulls in sales, or interest from con-goers, you can shoot the shit with your stall buddy. Always a great way to pass the time.
Interviews & Questions:
This year I had some strange visitors to the table. Last year people would drop up and chat to me about the books on offer. How I had come up with the idea? Where did I print the books? That sorta thing. These questions cropped up again this year, but then I had new questions. Questions from aspiring writers.
Asking me for tips on how to actually write a book. Wondering how I edited the books so that they were the best I could get them to be. Promoting them. It was a bit crazy if I am being totally honest. Six people came to me asking for tips on writing. Six years ago I would have been the one asking writers for tips. It's a funny old world.
Of course none of them bought a damn thing, but I suppose I am investing in their future
Myself and the stall buddy were also interview by a journalist for a UK based paper/magazine/website/something-or-other that I can't remember. Once that article appears I will post a link.
Saleswise things were slightly slower than last year. Last year I had sold out all but seven books by the end of the first day. On the second I had them all gone by lunch. This year sales didn't seem to happen as fast. Even interest in the books was a little less. Thankfully this didn't seem to be a problem just for me. Many other stall runners said that while the sales were solid, it wasn't as fast as previous years. Still I came out with a few pennies in my pocket and that was after making a silly convention purchase. In sales terms that the good crash landing scenario. Of course I sold nearly the same amount as last year (not far off it actually) but had triple the stock this year. So it all adds up really.
Hardly surprising for people that know me: I am my own worst critic when it comes to my hobbies. Dunno why, don't ask. Anyroad I never considered the books good enough to cause people to return a year later to purchase other ones. Turns out I was wrong. Three guys all came back to get the latest book. That's not bad for a little hobby writing.
I also had a lovely young guy come along to the table after he spotted my banner. He recognised the cover of the first book that was on the cover. His mother really enjoyed it, she had bought the book last year. But all he had left was five euro and he really wanted to get her the second book. So, being the nice idiot that I am, he was sold the book at less than the price.
Karma better come back to me in a big way for that
As Fate would have it Nugget was sick this weekend. Not bad, but enough that we were a bit concerned and figured she needed to visit a doctor. Of course we only have one car and two destinations that needed getting to. Luckily the brother-in-law was able to drive me into the con, leaving the ladyfriend with the car for doctor visiting.
But in all the re-planning I left a few bits in the car. Such as pens, tablecloth, lunch. That sort of thing. The ladyfriend, in her usual awesome way, brought Nugget to the doc, got her seen to and medicine, then drove into the con to drop off these bits for me. Not having a ticket she asked a nice Staffer to drop the stuff up to me. However through some confusion and the presence of Nugget to distract she was able to get into the convention without paying.
She's wily is the ladyfriend.
All in another good year for Filthy Henry books. Few new fans, few happy old fans. Sure what's not to love.
What a difference a year makes:
Last year the ladyfriend helped me setup the stall and was even snapped sitting behind it. At this stage she had Nugget in the oven.
Fast forward one year later and Nugget gets to attend the con in person
Can't read-but can hold like a pro.
I've just put the latest Filthy Henry novel, 'Accidental Legend', to bed. It is done. Finished. Completed. Ready for people to read or ignore as they see fit. What's funny, at least from my perspective, about this book is its origins.
Many moons ago, when I was still in school, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. To make money crafting stories similar to those that I read was a dream job. After all, how hard could it be? You just start typing and in a few short hours have a book appear. Right?
Obviously not right. There is all the stuff before you write that first one. Plotting, characters, subplots, genre. The list is long and if you just dive into it as a weekend project you get nowhere. Fast. Trust me I know. But I have talked about how I write in previous posts. This post is about something slightly different.
This post is about the ideas that I write.
Back in my teenage years I had decided to write a story that was a parody of an old Celtic legend. I called it "The Ogra Pig" for no real reason other than it loosely tied into the story (it had a pig made out of solid gold that was alive). I even gave the universe it would exist in a silly name, calling it 'Celtverse'. It took about fifteen false starts over six years before I finally sat down started to write the story properly. I spent time plotting it out, reworking it, wondering why I was bothering with it. Fast forward a few years and I met the lady friend. She encouraged me to actually finish the book and send it out into the wild to see what would happen. So I did. While I was waiting for the publishing contracts to flood through my door I started writing a second Celtverse novel, titled 'Filthy Henry'. It was about a character who worked as a detective in a world filled with magic while he had only his brains.
Neither story saw the light of day really. The responses for 'The Ogra Pig' were lukewarm at best and silent mostly. This made me not even bother with the second novel. It was consigned to the digital scrapheap.
Then a strange notion popped into my head. I figured Filthy Henry could actually be a main character on his own. I (with the godlike powers of an author) pulled him from one world and created a new one just for him. I gave him magic, made him be a detective, the whole nine yards. The end result being the very first Filthy Henry novel that people have been reading for two years now. This was quickly followed by the second one, The Impossible Victim.
But always, somewhere in the back of my mind, my little pig story wanted to be told. After all I had spent time plotting it out. I had it all there, in my crazy mind. Just like keeping all the drafts of a novel in my head at one time, this story was there as well.
So why abandon it?
I spent a month figuring out how I could tell the story again, with Filthy Henry in his current form involved. All the old Celtverse elements were removed, the pig sent off to the rasher factory in the sky, but the bulk of the story survived. The result being 'Accidental Legend'.
It's a funny old world inside my skull
Amazon.com link (Kindle only for the minute):
Accidental Legend Kindle
Accidental Legend Kindle
Accidental Legend Paperback
Draft Three has finally been put to bed. It was a bit of a slog to get through to be honest. Life has a wonderful habit of getting insanely busy at the times you could use for writing. Plus I had some interesting fun during the month with migraines and night terrors, basically writing off two days due to being tired.
But sure what can you do.
Having gone over the notes I managed to get through most of the changes that I felt the draft needed from its previous incarnation. As I work through each one I am keeping copies though, as I said before, to see just how much the story changes between each draft. Right now draft one has a completely different ending to draft three. Not so much that we are talking two completely different books, but it isn't hard to see how some writers go a bit loopy during the editing process.
I once read that Philip K. Dick was super paranoid that "The Man" was out to get him. Now, given his body of work, it wouldn't be hard to say he had to be the crazy side of genius to come up with his stories. But I can't imagine how he went through drafts, changing the plots along the way, of stories that are crazy, not to mention entertaining, to begin with.
Lesson learned, all the drafts are now safely backed up in my Dropbox. The notes for draft four are only four lines. This tortoise is racing along to the finish line at a gentle pace. All I need to do is make sure it's ready by the end of June and it's sorted for the Dublin Comic Convention.
Course I've two weddings in between now and then, but sure what could possibly go wrong...