Anyway, I woke up early and read my lj trying desperate to catch up with the bloggers of blogathon2004. I didn't even get halfway through the night before it was time to go. Hoppie planned a route that minimized the Mass Pike connection while maximizing speed.
9:19 AM 68539 Leaving house to papers/ATM etc.
9:42 68547 3N@129
9:44 68548 495S
10:06 68573 290W
10:26 68593 90W (MassPike)
10:42 68606 84W
10:49 68614 CT border
11:15 68647 291W
11:20 68649 218W
11:27 68652 rt. 189S
11:35 68656 University
So we took a nice tour of the campus when we got there because hoppie refused to believe that the numbers on the map corresponded to the parking lots, he thought they corresponded to the Quads, but when we got to the quads, we quickly realized that was incorrect. It's a nice campus. Very attractive. We parked in parking lot B and found our way quickly into the Student Union. We signed in and bought a set of Tshirts (one for each of us). While hoppie was finishing his registration, one of the women at the booth next to the registration desk talked me into buying some of her anime fanart, and that was cool. And then went off to try to find the thing that apparently ended at 12 instead of starting at 12. That was a little disappointing, but we headed back to the student union after stopping for a moment at one of the gaming rooms to watch some "Dance Dance Revolution". Once in the student union, we headed for the exhibition floor. We saw the Sluggy Freelance booth, but didn't see Pete at it. I also didn't see the shot glasses, but I imagine those sold out quickly. We cycled back around to find this Tshirt hoppie had seen the first time through. It was Icabod Crane's headstone. So we bought that and asked about the Scary Go Round booth and they told us that most of the artists were at the front near the registration desk where they'd been moved from a windowless, airless death trap that they'd apparently been stacked like cordwood in before they summoned their last bit of breath for a revolt. We thanked them kindly and headed towards the registration desk. I notice I have two bruises on my arm and I think they showed up around this time because leaving the room by the proper exit (which was into a back corridor that dumped out into the cafeteria) I scraped my arm on something.
So we started at the back of the room and worked out way down the aisle and then we saw him. Sitting with R. Stevens of Diesel Sweeties was John Allison. I was very dorky and fangirlly. I brought out my Scare-o-delaria, and RS was amused "She brought her own book."
"No, it's already signed. I'm just bringing it as proof of ID." I opened it to Amy (this icon is based on that picture of Amy) and John smiled and said, "Ah, Marci!" (which was awesomely pleasing.)
I knew what I wanted for my book, but I'd forgotten what Wayne had said he wanted. Before and after our drawings, John was doodling on a piece of paper, but I couldn't quite see what he was doodling. I could tell they were a group of people, but not who. I wondered dimly if he was drawing random people in the crowd as a way to remember them later, but I couldn't quite work up the nerve to ask. Which is ridiculous, because he was very sweet, laughed easily. RS was unquestionably the more comfortable of the two in crowds because he was jocular, amusing, and utterly delightful. I must start reading his comic. Hoppie bought a shirt from him, the "Recycle: Play old Video Games" shirt So having totally frightened JA into thinking he has a stalker, we sat outside in the sun for a few minutes while I gloated over Blame the Sky and we planned our next move. We decided to go the seminar "How to Get Published." We arrived a little early to this tucked away room and weren't sure we were in the right place, but then a couple of other people showed up, and then David Conlin McLeod, one of the authors leading the panel showed up. He has two books that are self published through Traffordand one that's coming soon with a more traditional publisher. I took three pages of notes, which I will include behind a cut tag, but first I wanted to introduce the other two people leading the panel.
Lianne Sentar, a very young Anime/Manga freelancer who works for, among others, Sleepisfortheweek.org. She got her start in fanfiction and then moved into authoring Sailor Moon novels (3-8, for the curious) and some young adult novels.
And the guy who showed up between these two, Leigh Grossman is a professor at UConn., a former editor for Avon Publishing (yes, the romance people! Nifty!) and other stuff.
As I mentioned, we were in the room with David for a bit before the other showed up and we talked about his publishing experiences. For instance for his first book cost 1000$ w/ he made back in one month on 80 copies sold.
His suggestion for when you don't have an idea: start w/ what if?
Leigh came at this point and we started talking about his work on a Powerpuff Girls book: cartoon network wanted fights, and Scholastic didn't even want the word fight so they ended up chasing up MojoJojo around with a flower he was allergic too.
Lianne came in and we discussed subtext. Leave your fans some room to expand. Writers tend to be readers too, so they will include hints of things they want to see, like homosexuality, but can't include for various reasons. She gave the example of a friend of hers who writes for Smallville and is a slash fiction writer herself so she often gives little hints.
Then they did formal introductions which I'll reproduce even though I've already done them before the cut tag.
Laine - freelance writer, scripts, Anime magazine
Lee Grossman (books, publishing house, RPG coming out in Sept.) 7 published books, teaches at UConn, been an editor
Dave McLead (Dancing the the Moon, and Two Past Twiglight and The Audition) His publisher is doing the editing. Publish America is doing the third book, Trafford did the first two.
Book signings aren't that hard to book, but you have to do it yourself and work with bookstores.
Borders, for instance, has someone who's very difficult to book through. If the books are returnable and they think you can bring in anyone, they'll do it.
As an author, you need to be able to draw people over to the table. Take books and sell them out of the car. Go to bookstores and tell them you're an author and offer to sign their stock of your books.
About half of booksignings no one shows up for.
Leslie was talking about two of his books, Guide to the all the Museums of NE which you would think would attract people who want to get out of the house, but no one came, but the book on the Red Sox people showed up for.
If there are people there, other people will come over.
You want to be right by the front, and try to tie in to something (like Red Sox/Father's day; Vampire movie/Vampire book)
Picking a Publisher
Do the research. Look into what they want and make sure you know what you're getting.
itimized list of what you're getting.
If they ask you for money, it's not legit. Reading fees are bogus. Money flows to the writer.
How do you get Started Freelancing
Lianne talked about how she started doing fanfiction and saw an advertising thing, and she wrote to them and told she was worried they'd do it wrong. They asked for a resume and hired her.
Try to be a good writer and have writing samples. Be assertive and aggresive. If you have a good track record, they'll be interested. Be easy to work with and get your work done on time and good quality and they're likely to hire you again.
Leslie currently has 10 people freelancing from him. Hit deadlnes, take direction, have experience or not have experience that will throw you off.
General Tips and Notes
Write what people want to read, don't try to dazzle, try to relate.
There's a lot of crossover between fandom and pro.
Many people can write the first 3 chapters of a really good book, but few can finish it.
First book is just practice. If you sell it, it's a bonus.
publishing contacts are not enforceable. You can't force someone to deliver a book.
Writer's voice is not necessarily the same as the narrator's voice.
How do you Find a Publisher?
Authors tend to help each other out. Breakout age is very young now.
Vanity houses: motivational speakers, do they tend to self-publish? Often they are not. Joanna Lunz (?) has a series of healthy exchange cookbooks. Nothing should take longer to cook than it does to eat. Everything is prepared. She goes on QVC and sells herself, so they publish her.
Good writing is what sells. Keep manuscript format. Your odds of selling are good, although not necessarily making a living at it. There are good reasons why quality books don't get published/or bad books do get printed.
Publishers will match whatever need they have and need.
Ideas are less important than people think.
Use the format the publisher wants. Make sure the publisher knows how to support what you write. Pick a publisher who is strong in your genre. Avon for instance is a great place for romances and mysteries. It's a horrible place for SciFi and alternate history. They do publish scifi, but they do it very badly.
Always submit in proper manuscript format: Read the guidelines on the publisher's website.
Most manuscripts are rejected by the first page for not being written well or presented properly.
Double spaced courier 12pt (text font: garamond, bookman, times) You can request a submission format from the publisher as well.
Find out who you're submitting to and address the manuscript to them.
SSN (if they buy it, they need it)
[Upper right hand corner:] wordcount (approx)
About halfway down the page: title and name you're writing uder.
Then start the novel underneath the title/author
On all subsequent pages: upper right hand corner: Name/Title/page number
Don't put it in fancy paper, or put live things in the box, or perfume the paper.
Writer's Market is a good place to start, but it's inaccurate and outdated.
Go go niche market guides, alot of free on internet. Scavenger's Guide, etc. Go to the bookstore and see what they have. Have some books from your genre publisher read so you can refer to. A publisher wants to know that you can finish a book. They want to know that you're editable.
Learning how to work with editors: It took a few stories before you realize you must cater your audience. Don't be self-indulgent. Compromise and get used to an audience.
Some authors get caught in a character, or refuse to be edited when they need it. like Silence of the lambs author Tom Harris, Anne Rice.
When you finish a project, put it away and continue on. You can't worry about the books that have finished. You can revisit them and fix them with the experience you have now.
A Wrinkle in Time was rejected repeatedly, and she kept working on it, Moby Dick suffered similarly.
Editing and Continuity
Use symbolic logic as a writing/editing tool. Reduce the sentences to elements and it will help you eliminate things that don't fit or aren't necessary.
It's common to think that you're written more than you actually have. There was a conversation (for example) that happened in your head and didn't get transmitted. Two problems: did you get all the information and connections out? did you put too much into it and confuse them.
Ask questions of your prereaders to make sure they're getting it.
Be honest and be natural. Write you think and speak naturally. All a sentence has to be a noun and a verb. Don't underestimate the intelligence of your readers. Let them visualize things their way.
In the writing process, use flowcharts, character sheets, whatever you need to help you build the book and make it clear in your mind. The story can be clean, even if the notes and backstories aren't.
Brief synopsises can help you reorient in your book.
Be careful on backstory. One pitfall that fantasy writers have is that you have to do a tremendous amount of research and to show the audience how much work you've done. The reader wants to see the story. The details here and there will prove that you've done your research, but telling them about your research, no one cares.
80% of editing is female for most stuff except for manga/anima and they're trying to work in women.
How big is a "Book"
Books sell better at differet lengths. Romances well well at 300-400 pages. Less than that and people don't feel like they got their money's worth, and longer, it's too expensive to print.
Large fantasies sell better. (For instance: Robert Jordan who's gone on longer than he needed to.)
How long is a book?
more than 20,000 words is a novel.
more than 3,000 is a novella.
how long the novel is more a factor of you than the story.
Beginning/Middle/End = novels length, then it's a novel.
You can follow the guidelines. Don't limit the process of writing (don't limit your characters for example) for outside factors. Write to the length is needed to be.
Ghostwriting/BookDoctoring and other things that trap you into a miserable existance writing stuff that isn't yours but requires all your creative energy
Eugenia Reilly wrote the Fabio novels. She got the dedication. And she got more money than she was, but then she got the publisher to publish her works.
70,000$ as book is midlist. But then you find you can make 100K as a ghostwriter, but then no one is reading your books.
Tie-ins should be a means to an end, don't get trapped into it, but it pays well, and provides experience.
Ghostwriting and bookdoctoring: If you've written a book and you want an editor who will work with you and write it, they will book doctor it.
Tom Clancy goes to bars with navy people, and hires people to do research, and he gets most of the basic details right and establishes his credibility. Be sure enough of your facts to bring the reader in rather than chase them away thinking you're an idiot.
You don't have to do a query letter, but some publishers want them. Be short, to the point. Tell them exactly what it is, what genre. One sentence about what it's bout. A couple on who you are and what you've done with it. Include an SASE with the manuscript.
Query letter helps entice them. Dave started with: I'm David McLead. I have two published books already. Then a paragraph or less teaser to get them interested.
Include contact information..
If you have special skills that relate to the manuscript (it's about kittens performing brain surgery and you're a brain surgeon, say so.
Say in the letter that you've completed the book if you have.
Right, so after that we picked up the end of the trivia contest and waited for Michael Coleman and Michael Sinterniklaas to being their seminar on Voice-over acting. I have notes on that too, but first. The trivia contest was hysterical. There were 4 teams of 2 and one guy who seemed to be alone, and the prizes ended up being distributed amoung the audience. It was a crazy scene.
Right then, onto Anime Voice-Acting
Only one page of notes.
Michael Coleman is a voice actor in Canada working for the Ocean Group. He works (or has worked) on Hamtaro, DragonballZ, X-men Evolution, and Mary-Kate+Ashley, among others.
Michael Sinterniklaas is working or has worked on The Shaman king, Pokeman, Is Leonardo on the New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Case Closed, and also runs recording studio.
What do you need to be a voice actor?
traditionally you should be an actor first. Then you need:
- vocal quality
Voice of Goku practiced doing his own soundtracks w/ TV
train your voice: resonate different sounds from parts of your mouth, how to use the microphone, be comfortable & use demo CD.
Tell us more about this demo CD of which you speak...
But people don’t do well w/web links, so do send a CD.
Make your CD look professional
demos should be short 2-3 min. Leave the good stuff on the floor, send better stuff.
Do original voices. Character demos.
show acting ability
show emotional range
use own voice
front load the demo w/ your best stuff
have specific copy to work from: find scripts that match the voices
go in knowing what you’ll do.
Do peaks & valleys, yell if you must
record & listen to yourself
be original & compelling
What should I know about being an actor?
actors have 3 choices: good, bad & risks choices
Do I need to move to where the jobs are?
New York, LA, Texas, Vancouver is where the work is.
Paid by the hour in US/3 hours or 3 characters flat rate
Canada is per line
1 show can be up to 30min. Just do their own lines.
For lead roles no more than 4 hours per session, usually, for example: X-Men Evolution is 4 hours to record.
How do I get in the door?
don’t stalk but be creative.
Typically a resume & cover letter (maybe photo/or not) (with your demo CD)
structure your resume to include like director’s name & theatre; don’t say "High School Production"
What's a day like
2-4 hours of work in a day is common but you can end up in multiple sessions in a day
What can I expect during tryouts
go in w/ an idea of what the character is, but many directors will tell you what they are looking for.
They’ll test your willingness & ability to chanqe
In Canada, voice actors must have agent.
Woof, so that probably would have more notes, except that because Michael had to head back to Canada, it ended on time. Then hoppie and I headed home. We'd not had anything to eat and it was now, 4ish, so it was well past time for me to eat, since, as everyone knows, I come over all headachy without food. Unfortunately, I get really indecisive. I'd just about convinced myself that we'd settle for McDonalds, when we with the CN/MA border and Traveler's Restaurant (Books and Food!) Well, that was an easy choice. We had some lunch (Fish and sweet potato "chips" for me, and black gold steak for hoppie) and browsed a bit. I picked up an 8 romance books for 3$ bundle, and Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man. Hoppie picked up a mystery and an action novel, I think. I also picked up a cookbook, but I can't remember what it's called.
Then we headed back to his parents.
4:38 68658 leaving pk.lot
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4:55 68670 84E
5:20 68699 Lunch (exit 74 Traveler Book Restaurant)
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6:20 68701 MA
6:27 68709 90E (MassPike)
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7:19 68764 passing rt 3
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7:43 68789 arrived
9:59 Leaving Hopkins' home
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10:35 68820 home
And that was our Sunday. Any questions?