Tag Archives: Conventions

Writing Excuses 5.33: Alpha Readers

It’s time to talk about alpha readers, and we start with a caveat from Howard: “I don’t want to read your book.” Let’s face it, we here at Writing Excuses might be great alpha readers, but we’re not YOUR alpha readers. We can’t be your back-door to fame and fortune as a genre fiction writer. The good news? There are good alpha readers out there waiting for you. You just need to know how to find them.

We talk about conventions a bit, those places that are full of genre-fiction lovers who might be able to help. We talk about Brandon’s writing group (his alpha readers) and how his agent and editor are actually beta readers. This contrast illustrates the sort of things you should be looking for in an alpha reader. We talk about Howard’s alpha reader (Sandra) and how she has to look at a script with no pictures, no blocking, and no dialog tags and figure out whether or not it’s going to work. This illustrates how she’s a genius and Howard’s just a hack.

Brandon and Dan also cover what they do not want in alpha readers — poor delivery of criticism and proof-reading topping the list.

And then we finally get around to some tricks for building a solid stable of alpha readers. It’s not something you’re going to pull off overnight.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Dragon Factory: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 2 by Jonathan Mayberry, narrated by Ray Porter.

Writing Prompt: Any time you’ve caught cold you’re actually being possessed. Gesundheit.

Loud Howard: brought to you by a too-close microphone. Jordo did his best to fix this in post, but we don’t record on multiple channels so there’s only so much that can be done on our budget.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.
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*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

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Parsec Acceptance Speech 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, geeks, nerds, and enablers, and of course our listeners: THANK YOU!

Writing Excuses was named “Best Content Creation Podcast” by the Parsec Committee at the 2010 Parsec Awards at Dragon*Con. This is our second year in a row winning this particular award, and we’re both honored and humbled.

Not very much of that came out during this recording, in which we see why it’s probably a GOOD thing that we weren’t present to give an acceptance speech. Nevertheless, we’re very sorry to have missed the awards, and we have a plan for next year that does NOT include letting our respective publishers, agents, and handlers drag us off-site during something we really should be attending.

And speaking of attending… we will definitely be at WorldCon in Reno next August, and hope to also put in an appearance at Dragon*Con. By way of public service to our many Con-attending listeners, note that this Thursday, September 30th is the last day you can get your WorldCon membership for just $160. It goes up to $180 on October 1st.

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Writing Excuses 4.23: How to Break In to the Young Adult Market

Janci Patterson and Robison Wells join Brandon and Dan at CONduit in Salt Lake City. Both Janci and Rob have recently signed book deals, Robison with Harper Teen, and Janci with Henry Holt, and they tell us about those deals and how they got them.

Brandon puts both Janci and Rob on the spot, and asks them for advice on how to break in. This is cool, because it’s just about the most recent perspective on this advice you’re going to hear.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green

Writing Prompt: Two roommates… one sells a book and then vanishes. The second roommate decides to finish the book and pretend it was his.

Extra Special Thanks: Again,  this episode was made possible by our friends at Dungeon Crawlers Radio.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.

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Writing Excuses 4.20: Strategies for Getting Published

Your hosts here at Writing Excuses have tried to answer the “how to get published” question before. We’re going to try again.

In this episode we begin with a discussion of New Media. Welcome to the Age of the Internet, everybody! The Web is now “old media.” When we say “New Media” we’re talking about social media — Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, user-generated content, and countless blogging tools.  After a brief warning about embracing the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent, Brandon, Dan, and Howard provide some examples for how these tools can help you.

We talk a bit about some submission practices that you should not practice, most of which Stacy Whitman covered with us back in episodes 12 and 13 of  Season 1. Then we throw you some off-the-wall suggestions that might get you published. Some of these cost real money, and none of them come with guarantees that they’ll work. We restate our firm belief that the best strategies for getting published hinge upon writing excellently and networking with people who write.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Howard owes him a plug after last month’s epic faux-pas at Penguicon. After bringing it up in this context, Howard probably owes him ANOTHER one.

Writing Prompt: For some reason, 1000 years in the future the most cost-effective publishing involves writing on human skin…

Blame for That Horrible Mental Picture of Howard Dressed as an Elf Sans Pants: Brandon Sanderson owns that blame, down to the last mote of scowling-with-eyes-averted disapproval.

Why Mayan Calendars Predict The End of The World in 2012: seventeen minutes in…

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.

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Writing Excuses 4.7: Q&A with James Dashner

Recorded live at LTUE 2010, here’s a high-energy Q&A session with the Writing Excuses crew and our special guest James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner. We cover outlining vs. discovery writing, the return to the hairy palate, education for writers, killing people, whether or not we want a bagel, pragmatic approaches, authors who don’t inspire us (and by “us” we mean “James Dashner”), and cooking up complex plots.

Note: Brandon says “Episode 6” but he was totally wrong. This is 4.7, for real.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: James pitches one of his favorites to usFalse Memory by Dean Koontz

Writing Prompt: You’re flying in an airplane when a wing falls off… but the plane keeps going.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.

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Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 17: Characters & Worldbuilding Q&A with Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary is back! We still had a Mary Robinette Kowal episode from WorldCon 67, and now you have it too! We take questions from the audience, and then answer them. Here are the questions:

  • What do you do if your characters revolt and start to take over the story?
  • When you became a writer what most surprised you with its difficulty?
  • How do you build the history for the worlds your books are set in?

Three huge questions, TWELVE answers. Enjoy!

Oh… and your writing prompt: write about The Predestined Monkey.

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Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 10: The Dos and Don’ts of Attending Cons

Last week we discussed what kinds of events that you, the aspiring author, should be attending. This week we cover what you should and shouldn’t be doing there. And we start with some don’ts.

The word of the day? “Booth Barnacle.”

If last week’s ‘cast was a little long-winded, this one is downright rambling, coming in at a hefty nineteen minutes and thirty-eight seconds. Oh, the anecdotes! If you thought we were name-dropping last week (Phil Foglio, Kevin J. Anderson, and Lawrence Schoen) this week we throw around names like Larry Niven, Steve Jackson, John Ringo, and Tom Doherty. We sure hope you can learn from our meandering, celebrity-brushing reminiscences.

And speaking of celebrity-brushing, brush up against us this week in Montreal at the World Science Fiction Convention! The Writing Excuses Panel is on Friday from 2:00pm to 3:30pm in P-513C, and will feature all three of your Writing Excuses hosts with as-yet-unnannounced special guests from the world of publishing, editing, and of course authoring genre fiction.

And again, on the topic of celebrity-brushing and networking in general: one piece of linkage you introverts (and you untrained extroverts) absolutely MUST have – “Networking 201: How to Work a Room,” by Diana Rowland.

The long-awaited writing prompt (last week we just gave you the first half) is… a man arrives at a convention with something important in his pocket. It is an entire universe… and it has not been peace-bonded.

This week’s episode of Writing Excuses is brought to you by the bad accents of Dan and Howard as they pitch Dungeon Crawlers Radio.

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Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 9: Conventions You Should Be Attending

As genre-fiction writers we attend a lot of conventions. As aspiring genre-fiction writers you probably want to be attending conventions. But which ones should you spend time and money on, and what should you plan to do while you’re there?

We start by categorizing conventions – literary conventions, anime conventions, media conventions, conferences and trade-shows. Comic-Con, which just wrapped up today, is a media con. WorldCon is a literary con.  Clarion is a conference. BEA and E3 are expos.

As authors and aspiring authors we want to focus on the conventions where we can rub shoulders with editors and agents. So have a listen and find out where you should be, and why…

We’ll cover what you should be doing at conventions in next week’s ‘cast. And here’s hoping we’ll see you at WorldCon!

This episode of Writing Excuses is brought to you by Dungeon Crawlers Radio, those nice guys who interviewed Howard at ConDuit, and then bailed Writing Excuses out when our recording equipment didn’t make it to the show.

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