Two weekends ago I attended Tokyo in Tulsa to promote my novel, The Astonishing Bobcat: Hero Worship! It was a busy three days–my first con appearance–and I was happy to meet many people and talk about the book with them.
I’ve been writing for nearly 20 years now, but promoting a book is something entirely different, so this was a brand new experience for me. I was excited to see so much interest and excitement about my work. I left the con feeling energized and excited about reaching out to new readers and continuing the Bobcat series as a whole!
However, the con wasn’t all about handing out promo material and making pitches. I was able to get away from the table long enough to attend some panels on writing and publishing.
These presentations were hosted by RPG writer Stephen Radney-McFarland, anime ADR director, voice actor and adaptive screenwriter Terri Doty, publisher Carlos Moreno of Falkor Publishing, and Falkor’s newest published author, Steven Mix, writer of the zombie apocalypse novel Goodbye from the Edge of Never (buy it here!). There were laughs, excitement, insight into all kinds of facets of writing across multiple industries. All in all, it was a great time.
But between working the Bobcat booth with my wife/manager Okcate, our cover artist Tallulah and my brother Jacob, and listening to what Stephen, Steven, Terri and Carlos had to say, I came to a realization about writing, and it’s one that I’m not sure most people get.
When we hear the word “writer,” most of us probably have the same image; some lone, iconoclastic figure, sitting at a desk, scribbling away with a pen or tapping at a typewriter or a word processor. We picture Edgar Allen Poe or Stephen King pouring their tortured souls out onto the page all by themselves, or J.D. Salinger alone in his house, writing reams for himself and nobody else.
Whoever pops into your head, they probably have one thing in common; much like every hard-boiled detective ever written, they work alone. The writer as a popular figure is envisioned as somebody who shapes people and worlds in isolation on their own, with nobody to help them.
And at Tokyo in Tulsa, I learned that image could not be more wrong.
Now, I’ve worked with my team for some time now, but TnT taught me just how many people it takes, putting in hours of time and effort, to see a story through to publication. No book you have ever read made it straight into your hands directly from only the writer. It went through editors, likely several of them, poring over the text, looking for problems with grammar, syntax and (if the writer/publisher are doing their jobs right) continuity and story.
The layout, design, and cover art were provided by people who specialize in making books look just right. Promoters and advertisers tirelessly worked their butts off to help the author get the word out, and make you, the reader, aware that there was a book available for purchase in the first place.
While a writer may create the content, he relies on other people to mold it, to refine it to its purest form, and to dress it up and make it presentable for the general public. In other words, a writer needs a team to help make his work the best it can be. And perhaps more importantly, he needs readers to appreciate it.
So, thank you to Okcate, Tallulah and Jacob for all your help at the convention, and everything else you’ve done to make The Astonishing Bobcat: Hero Worship into something worth reading. And thank you to everybody who stopped by our booth to talk us; I hope you enjoy the book.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get back to work. After all, I have a team I don’t want to let down.