Note: This post will be in three parts, as I have a lot to say, but am also strapped for time with self-imposed deadlines. If I don’t get my thoughts down now, they will not be put down.
This was my second year at Superstars Writing Seminars, held in Colorado Springs. I have been to many second years, second meetings, second loves, second parties and campouts and on and on. Most times the second of an event is a disappointment as compared to the first. Not saying that seconds are bad. Most times they are very good, just not as good as the first. The first builds expectations that are seldom ever matched. I go into the second hoping it will be as good as the first, that experiences that were great will repeat, as if I’m putting a well-loved movie in the blu-ray to watch once again. But with real life it never happens. Almost.
It did happen with Superstars 2015, my return after the 2014 session. It was a return to old friends in a comfortable location. Not only the old, but the new, people I hadn’t met before and was very happy to acquaint myself with. The Antlers Hilton felt like a well prowled lair, comfortable, spacious and, most important of all, known. It was an uncrowded venue, with the exception of Friday night, and this year, at least for this camper, even that night of the Army Ball was much better.
Superstars is headlined by Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, his lovely wife and business/writing partner. The regular cast of characters were also present. Best sellers David Wolverton (David Farland) and Eric Flint, and the totally amazing James Artemis Owen, who is not only a bestselling writer, but also an amazing illustrator. Lisa Mangum, an editor at Wordfire Press, and Mark Leslie Lefebvre of Kobo were there in supporting roles. New cast included Toni Weisskopf, the publisher of Baen books; New York Times Bestseller Jody Lynn Nye; the well-known writing team of Kristin Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, and Todd McCaffrey, son of Anne and a bestseller in his own right. I met Jody at the Dragon Con Writers Workshop, which she runs, in 2013, and saw her again at Liberty and Dragon Cons in 2014. I met Todd at the same workshop, where he was a guest speaker, and had seen him several times since. Toni, who I would dearly love to be my publisher, was someone I wanted to meet, though I talked to her briefly at Dragon Con 2014. And I am attending Dean and Kristin’s Anthology Workshop at the beginning of March, and it was nice to meet my instructors before actually flying out to work with what would otherwise have been strangers.
The workshop ran from Thursday morning through Saturday evening, with three sessions in the morning, an hour and a half lunch, and four in the afternoon, with a question and answer period with all the instructors/presenters at the end of each day. There was only a single track of sessions in the morning, and, something new this year, a double track in the afternoon, giving a choice of what the attendee wanted to learn. Like all such multiple tracks, just like at major cons, there were times I wanted to split myself in two so I could attend both (there might be a story in there somewhere).
On Friday evening, while the Army Ball was going on in the hotel (which entailed a mass of men and women in uniform clogging up the lobby) there was a VIP dinner in the nearby Phantom Canyon, just like last year. Last year I sat with Eric Flint, for a most enjoyable and instructive evening, which including some free signed books. This year I requested and got placed at the table with Toni Weisskopf, and again the free books were given. I wanted to get my face and name in front of the publisher of Baen books, which mission was accomplished. Whether anything comes of it remains to be seen, but it was fun talking with someone who is such a big part of modern science fiction, as well as being a historian of the older days of the field.
This year also featured professional photographer Lauren Lang, who was providing free author shots. Unfortunately, I had purchased professional pictures in September, so really didn’t have the need for more, but, having seen some of her other shots, the lady was very good. There was a presentation on ebooks from Mark Leslie Lefebvre, and one on Wattpad by Ashleigh Gardner. I intend to do some stuff with Wattpad as soon as I get enough time to breath, so the presentation was useful to me.
Lunch each day was spent with a random and different group of people, and was always a lot of fun. I had my moment of fame, same as last year, with the In The Indie Trenches panel, which I shared with Peter J. Wacks, Rhiannon Paille and Quincy Allen. Even the presentations that were again presented from last year were great. Kevin gave his Popcorn Theory of Publishing, and James again gave his Drawing the Dragons inspirational talk, which was still amazing the second time around.
All in all it was a great conference, well worth the time, money and travel. There was networking to be had, and I came away not only with more knowledge, but also some opportunities that presented themselves during the networking time. Never one to pass up opportunities, now it’s up to me to make the most of them. I would recommend this conference to anyone who wants to take the next step in their publishing career, as the wisdom of this group is phenomenal.
Part 2 of this blog will concern the interactions with professionals I engaged in and observed, and how much that added to the conference for this attendee. Part three will be about some of the other attendees, and how engaging in this process had led to some success in their writing careers.