Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I attended LTUE, the local SF/F convention, a few weeks ago, and it was one of the better local cons I've been to in some time.  More and more, LTUE seems to be the quintessential SF/F con of the northern Utah area--which may not seem like much, but there are actually quite a few cons/conferences around here.

Here's a brief recap of the panels I attended:

  • Tolkien's The Hobbit:  The Book and the Films
  • First Time Novelists - an advice session from a few recently published authors
  • The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of Publishing (regarding self-publishing, small presses, and traditional large publishing houses) - one of the first of many panels I attended regarding the shifting world of publishing.
  • "Punk" Literature - an analysis of cyberpunk, steampunk, and other "-punk" genres
  • Collaboration - a discussion of the pros, cons, tips, and tricks behind co-authoring
  • Economics of Supervillainy
  • How to Market Your Book
  • Writing in Spite of Adversity - how to write despite the day-to-day struggles of life, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime traumatic events
  • Contracts - a discussion of contracts in the publishing industry, and certainly one of the most informative panels I attended.
  • Current Trends in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror
  • Five Things to Know Before Sending Out Your Novel
  • Crafting Mystery within Your Novel
  • Writers of the Future - a panel with David Farland, the coordinating judge of the contest (and the guy who read and sent me my critique for my recent semifinalist story), as well as Brad R. Torgersen and Eric James Stone, two past winners of the contest.  (I had a brief conversation with David Farland after the panel; he remembered my story, and encouraged me to keep submitting, which was pretty cool.)
  • How to Sell More eBooks through Amazon - another one of the most informative presentations of the con; this one was by Aaron Patterson, who had a lot of fascinating things to say about the industry.  Too much to talk about here, in fact; it'll have to be the subject of another post.
  • Publisher's Panel - a panel with editors from four local (and, generally, small) publishing houses: TM Publishing, JollyFish PressStoneHouse Ink, and Shadow Mountain, who discussed their changing business models and expectations that accompany the changing industry.
  • Write for the Market or Write What You Know?
  • What You Need to Know to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Making a Living as a Writer
  • The Structure of Epic Fantasy - a fascinating presentation by Tracy Hickman about the structure of The Lord of the Rings and how that structure is applicable to today's fantasy stories.
  • What I Wish I'd Known Before Publishing My First Novel
  • Being LDS and Writing Horror - another intriguing panel about the issues of writing Horror and belonging to a religion that has, historically, been very hostile to the genre.
  • Backstory
But, of course, the best part of the con was meeting up with old (and new) friends.  Steve Diamond, who now runs a very successful book review site and is working on a bunch of his own publications, from one of my first writing groups, was there.  So was Joe Vasicek, a vehement voice for self-publishing who has published a half-dozen or so of his own novels (and, incidentally, was also in that first writing group).  Other friends, from my MFA program and other writing groups, as well as tons of local authors, were there, too.  Overall, it was a great con.

Perhaps most interesting was the tone of LTUE this year; more than ever before, the focus was on the changing publishing industry and the increasing validity of small presses and self-publishing.  Again, this is a can of worms I'll have to open later, but figured I'd mention it.  Things really are changing, and it's interesting to see how some people are (and others are not) adapting.

Anyway, the point is this:  LTUE was awesome this year.

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