Category Archives: Appearances

LibertyCon 32 After Action Report

Morgon and I spent last weekend at LibertyCon 32 in Chattanooga, Tennesse. LibertyCon is an interesting convention. It’s quite different from any other con I’ve personally ever been to. The founder wanted to keep the small, personal, intimate con feel, so it’s limited by its charter to no more than 750 attendees. This year, it sold out in about four hours.

Photo courtesy of William Joseph Roberts

According to oral history given by John Ringo over the weekend (more details in a bit), the con started out very small, but in its early days it was primarily a bunch of writers and people trying to break into the business hanging out together. Over time, most of those newer people ended up getting published, and the con grew. By Ringo’s count, the con today seems to be about 1/3 published authors, about 1/3 authors who will be published, and about 1/3 readers.

Based on my experiences at the con, that seems about right.

If you’re looking to actually meet your favorite author, and not just sit in a huge panel with 300 other people listening to him, LibertyCon is the place to do it. If you’re a new author looking to make connections in the industry, LibertyCon’s the place for that, too. On the other hand, if you’re an author looking to connect with huge numbers of fans and sell lots of books, it’s not really the place. You’ll sell, for sure – we ran into one fan who’d bought over 50 books at the con – but not like you will at a more reader-focused con.

We go mostly for the networking. As the operators of a small publishing house, we do quite a lot of that there.

I moderated two panels this year. The first was a panel on newsletter marketing aimed at authors. We had solid attendance and rapt attention from the authors. I think it went very well, although we ran out of time. It’s a huge topic, and we only had an hour. But, there you go.

I also moderated the “What’s New at Silver Empire” panel (embedded video below). The short answer: a lot!

Posted by Silver Empire on Friday, June 28, 2019

I also sat on a panel for first time LibertyCon panelists moderated by the John Ringo. I’ve seen Ringo in panels before, and I won’t lie. The man can be a bit intimidating. But he was extremely gracious to the very large number of authors on the panel, and very courteous. I’d also like to give him a tip of the hat for the way he handled the very small number of authors who kept rambling on, not thinking about the other authors on the panel. He was very firm at moving things along, but also gentle about it and somehow managed to not be rude. Very impressive. This is also the panel where he gave his brief oral history of LibertyCon.

Beyond the panels, we sold some books and did some signings. But most of all we caught up with several Silver Empire authors.

Dan Humphreys just finished Come, Seeling Night. He’s currently at work on an anthology of stories set in his Z-Day universe. We don’t publish the existing books in that trilogy, but we will be publishing that anthology. I highly recommend checking that series out. Dan scored a Dragon Award nomination for the first book, and it’s legit. I don’t even like zombie books, but I loved that one (see my review here).

Jon Del Arroz has just finished his Saga of the Nano Templar series, which we’ll be launching later this summer. Wait until you see the covers for those – they’re phenomenally good. This space opera / milSF series is really going to be something.

Declan Finn’s Saint Tommy, NYPD series is almost wrapped up. We’ve got one more book to get out. Kickstarter backers: expect to get the rest of the print books to you in one fell swoop after book 6 is done, so stay tuned. In bigger news: audiobooks for that series are coming! You’ve been asking, we listened. If you want in on that series, now’s a great time. We’ve dropped the price on book 1, Hell Spawn, to $0.99.

We’ve already got drafts on the first three books of Declan’s epic space opera, and we’ll be looking to launch those next after Saint Tommy wraps up.

Other than that, we had a great time hanging out with our friends. This is the only weekend of the year right now that we see many of these guys, and it’s great to catch up.

Until next year!

[Cross posted to the Silver Empire blog.]

Catfish Literary Festival – After Action Report

Silver Empire authors S.D. McPhail (left) and Russell Newquist (right) at the second annual Catfish Literary Fiestival.
Silver Empire authors S.D. McPhail (left) and Russell Newquist (right) at the second annual Catfish Literary Fiestival.

Yesterday my friend S.D. McPhail and I set up shop at the second annual Catfish Literary Festival at the Athens-Limestone Public Library. We got lucky – they gave us the table right by the door! We had a good number of people come by. We sold a few autographed books and gave away a few, including five pre-release advance review copies of Susan’s upcoming novel, Treasures of Dodrazeb: The Origin Key with a special collectible cover.

Susan and I also had a chance to sit on a science fiction and fantasy panel. We got to discuss some of our writing processes, influences, and thoughts on the genre. We also got put on the spot trying to convince one audience member who had never read any science fiction. I thought my case was strong, but I have to confess that Susan got in the better answer!

I also managed to entrench my foot firmly in my mouth with the leadership at my church not once but twice yesterday. First, I completely failed to recognize Deacon Dan’s wife, even after she recognized me! I’m quite sure it’ll take me a decade or more to live that one down. Second, when Deacon Dan opened up a copy of Between the Wall and the Fire, literally the first page he turned to happened to be at the beginning of my story “Knight of the Changeling.” That would have been fine, except that I had chosen to name the deacon character after one of the deacons at our church. One that wasn’t named “Dan.”

I have now promised Deacon Dan that he will be written into a future story, so keep an eye out for him in future installments of The Tales of Peter Bishop!

I also got a chance to catch up with a few other authors that I met last year at the Rocket City Lit Fest, including Ashley Chappell and C.L. Bevill. It was great to see them again.

Finally, I had a great time chatting with everyone who came by our booth. We look forward to seeing all of you again next year!

Catfish Literary Festival

catfishfest2I will be appearing at the second annual Catfish Literary Festival on June 4th at the Athens-Limestone County Public Library in Athens, Alabama. Silver Empire will have a booth at the event and author S.D. McPhail, author of the Treasures of Dodrazeb series, will be joining me for book signings. The Catfish Festival will be your first chance to get copies of our upcoming anthology, Between the Wall and the Fire, and we’ll have a limited number of advance review copies of Ms. McPhail’s upcoming novel, The Origin Key. Ms. McPhail will also be joining me for the fantasy/sci-fi panel at 12:20. Come on out and see us!