Post-WisCon: Recovery and Renewal

WisCon 34 is over, but I’m still hanging out in Madison. There’s a lot to be said for not going straight home and diving right back into regular life after a con.

I spent Monday afternoon lying around, alternating between a much-needed nap and reading a book by con guest of honor Nnedi Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker, which I highly recommend.) Not only was it better than the usual rushing around to get to the airport, but it was a lot more comfortable to lie on a bed and read than to be packed like a sardine in a plane. And since I got rested up, I’ve been able to build on the inspiration I got at WisCon and work on some stories.

I’ve also found some new restaurants in Madison and even gone walking along two different lakes. It’s nice to see more of the town than State Street, much as I enjoy strolling along it.

Among ourselves here on Book View Cafe, we’re discussing some of the things we found out talking to others doing epublishing at the con. I was on a panel with Jordan Castillo Price, who is doing both ebooks and print, concentrating on paranormal erotic romance, and bringing in good money. Anne Harris, writing as Jessica Freely, is also having success in that field.

While I’m not interested in writing erotica (except for the occasional hot sex scene in a fantasy or SF story), I am interested in learning from what they’ve been doing on the business side of things. Jordan, who started doing her own publishing after building a reputation in the field, discovered she could make a lot more money publishing her work on her own. Anne pointed out that she has a very good contract for hers and has done better than she did in more traditional publishing.

One thing that came up on the panel that Jordan and I did with LaShawn M. Wanak was the importance of building a reputation before striking out on your own. Self publishing may be a valid business choice these days, but just sticking something up on the web won’t do much for your career unless people have a reason to seek you out.

I also did my presentation on self defense and warriorship, and was pleased with how it went. I have it on video and plan to post a few clips from it. I got a good crowd (especially for 8:30 AM on a Sunday) and good questions, and have ideas about how to refine it.

Next year I want to do something that focuses more on stories about women warriors. I’ve reached a point where I want something a bit more complex than a kick-ass woman character, so now I need to think about which writers are writing the kind of challenging adventure stories I like to read.

As you can tell, I’m already thinking about next year in Madison, which says a lot about the pull of WisCon. Besides, Nisi Shawl and Elizabeth Moon will be the guests of honor. I’m already looking forward to their speeches.


Nancy Jane’s novella, Changeling, is now being serialized on Book View Cafe. You can start at Chapter 1 here; a new chapter will be posted every Sunday. An e-book edition of the whole book will soon be available for a modest price.

You can still find 51 flash fictions and a few other stories on Nancy Jane’s Bookshelf, and anthologies containing some of her stories are available through Powell’s.

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About Nancy Jane Moore

Nancy Jane Moore's science fiction novel, The Weave, is now available in print and ebook versions from Aqueduct Press. Some of her short stories are now appearing as reprints on Curious Fictions. She is a founding member of Book View Cafe. Her BVC ebooks can be found here. She also has short stories and essays in most of the BVC anthologies. In addition to writing fiction, Nancy Jane, who has a fourth degree black belt in Aikido, teaches empowerment self defense. She is at work on a self defense book that emphasizes non-fighting skills.


Post-WisCon: Recovery and Renewal — 4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the update, Nancy. What I find fascinating about this new business model we’re all seeking is that little of it differs from the traditional New York publisher model. For example, you mentioned that the key to successful self publishing is to first build a reputation. These days the key to getting picked up by a regular publisher is to build a platform before you even approach the publisher. “Platform” is one part fan community and one part reputation.

  2. I think the change has more to do with the many different options for building that reputation than it does with the underlying principle. I think you’re a great example of that, Diane.

    Let me explain here what Diane is doing. She has just started a blog called In Search of Goodness, where she is seeking “to understand and report all things moral as I seek to unravel the concept of goodness.” By doing both her research and contemplation in public, she’s building a platform that should give her scope for a book or other projects on the same subject. This project has been up and running for only three days and she’s already given me a lot to chew on.

  3. Alas, Athena, at this point it will have to be next time, when I might have a car available. Outside of finding some new restaurants and bars and making our annual pilgrimage to the Madison Goodwill (a very fine source of cool cheap clothes), we really have been writing since WisCon. Though in an effort to combine bars and writing, we took our laptops over to the Irish bar last night, and discovered that they have WiFi.