Neil Gaiman

2013 Rocked! (A review with photos)

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Ahhh, here we are. The end of 2013, and the (completely self-indulgent) reflecting back on the year.

In a word, 2013 rocked.

Some highlights:

January: A whirlwind trip to New York with my hubby. I visited my publisher, took in all the art my brain could hold, saw a couple of Broadway plays, ate delicious food and skated at Rockefeller Center. Awesome.

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February: Another whirlwind trip to Los Angeles to go to the Oscars with my friend Trish. And just a couple of months after the two of us went to the Emmys. We ate at The Ivy, did the celebrity cemetery thing, shopped and, you  know, went to the Oscars. Crazy!

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March: I experienced my first real deadline. It was…intense. Don’t get me wrong: working with my editor, Katherine Harrison, has been nothing but a joy. But I have definitely gained a new understanding and appreciation for the energy and discipline it takes to revise a novel, and to do so by a specified date. I work best under deadlines (I think), but man do I need a nap afterward.

April: A weekend trip to Sedona with friends, including a friend who traveled all the way from England! Sedona is beautiful and we had a weekend full of laughter and food and fun.

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May: Phoenix Comicon!! I made my first official author appearance, participating in a panel on publishing. It was so fun! And Phoenix Comicon is just awesome. If you ever get a chance to go, go! Every year gets better and this coming year is no exception.

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June: My Parking Lot Confessional cohorts Stephen and Amy and I met Neil Gaiman!!

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July: San Diego Comicon with my friend Trish. Our first time attending. It was mind-blowing. I don’t know that any future SDCC visits will be able to top it. But we’ll see what happens in 2014!

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August: I traveled to Los Angeles to hang out with friends at the LA SCBWI conference. Always a blast. Every kidlit writer should attend an SCBWI conference at least once. This year was particularly poignant, as I got to meet up with other Adams Lit clients. Yay!

September: My first experience with copyedits. Wow. I’d heard that copyedits were trying, but I had no idea. My hat is off to copyeditors everywhere. You have a unique gift. I have a new appreciation for sentence structure and grammar now. Going through copyedits took my writing to the next level, for sure. September definitely grew me as a writer.

October: A much-needed vacation, driving through Colorado during the changing of the leaves. Ahhh, this trip did my spirit good.

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November: This month was full of fun events. I met Dan Simmons, and Preston & Child at The Poisoned Pen. My family also celebrated the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, seeing The Day of the Doctor in 3D at the cinema. So cool!

December: Just before Christmas, I submitted the manuscript for my second book to my editor. Then I indulged in all kinds of Christmas celebration, including building a TARDIS with my husband. I don’t think the neighbors know what it is, but that’s OK. In our opinion, we definitely have the coolest Christmas decorations on the block.

tardis

And now, it’s the last day of 2013. Looking back, this year just blows my mind. I only hit the highlights here, but in between all of these events were a day-to-day life filled with all the things I love: my husband, my kids, my friends, my writing. Of course there were less-stellar times as well, but overall the good far outweighs the bad. I am grateful. I am blessed.

2014 should be an interesting year. In 2014, my first book, Now That You’re Here, will be published! Stay tuned for lots of news and fun and giveaways and events.

In the meantime, though, thank you for reading, thank you for putting up with this self-indulgence. Here’s a toast to 2013: a wonderful, whirlwind of a year! And here’s to 2014 and beyond. May we all experience joy and peace and love beyond measure.

Happy New Year!

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San Diego Comic-Com, Sunday

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Blissfully exhausted, Trish and I traipsed into Sunday, the final day of San Diego Comic-Con 2013.

We had chosen not to camp out in the Hall H line to see the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary panel. We’d heard there had been people lined up since early Saturday afternoon. Ugh! Had we decided line up, we wouldn’t have been able to attend the Nerdist Podcast with Matt Smith the night before. So we felt okay with our choice.

Still, there was a Doctor Who autograph lottery Sunday morning and we thought, Why not try? So we lined up at 6am for our shot. Made some friends with others in line and then when the time came, tried for a signing ticket.

The autograph lottery lines are a special kind of torture. Lining up for hours and then climbing numerous sets of stairs for a chance to stand in a smaller line where you get to reach into a bag in hopes of getting a ticket with a stamp on the back. It really is a gamble. Our first time through, we didn’t win. Our second time through, they were out of tickets. Sigh. Ah well. At least now we knew what the lottery was like. The experience made us all the more happier we’d been able to go the to Nerdist Poscast the night before. (Thanks, Star Dot Geek, for the ticket!)

We briefly considered bribing people for their bathroom passes in Hall H so we could slip into the Doctor Who panel, but instead we were distracted by John Barrowman. Had to stop for a hello and a photo. We also stopped by the Random House aisle, where I met some of the marketing team who will be working on the marketing plan for my books. SO exciting! They mentioned maybe me doing ARC signings at next year’s con. Here’s hoping!

Next we went upstairs and enjoyed the X-Men comics panel (one of the panelists was Paul Cornell!!) and Ben 10 panel, before scoring perfect seats for the Spotlight on Neil Gaiman panel.

I feel quite spoiled, getting to see Neil Gaiman twice in less than a month. And this time it was hosted by Jonathan Ross!

The panel was brilliant. Very relaxed and fun. Neil and Jonathan talked about everything from Neil’s hair to movie plans that Neil isn’t allowed to say anything about. One of the best panels we saw during the entire con.

After, we rushed over to the Sails Pavilion in hopes of catching the tail ends of a couple of author autograph sessions. SM Wheeler signed the ARC of Sea Change I’d won during the Tor panel at Phoenix Comicon. Very cool. And then we ran over to Patrick Rothfuss’ table.

They’d capped the line and wouldn’t let me in. I was sad. Very sad. I watched him signing books, and thought very sad thoughts. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Trish convinced the young guy guarding the line to let me in! Yay, Trish!! Thank you!!

I had a really wonderful chat with Patrick. He is a very kind and generous soul. I am so grateful for the chance to connect with him. Really meaningful moment. Thank you, Patrick.

We left the Sails Pavilion in a total Con fog, our geeky hearts full of joy. It had started raining, but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all. We boarded the trolley for Old Town and took a final pic of the Convention Center in all its glory.

We decided to have one last adventure to cap off the weekend, and did a ghost walk of Old Town San Diego. What a blast! We got to see the sights at night and learn the history of our hotel and surrounding area.

The morning after our first real night at the Cosmopolitan (Friday night), Trish and I had commented how noisy the night had been, how we’d heard footsteps outside our door. We didn’t think anything of it, though, until our ghost tour guide asked us if we’d heard them. We said yes and that we’d assumed it was our neighbors (though we always got home very late, around 2am) and the hotel was quiet. The guide said next time we heard the footsteps to look outside our door, there’d be no one there. Eeeeek.

Monday morning, we enjoyed scones on our porch outside our room, got in a taxi for the airport and said goodbye to another amazing adventurous weekend.

Thank you, San Diego Comic-Con for an incredible time. We’ll see you again next year!

Neil Gaiman on Being an Artist

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In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Neil Gaiman’s advice to graduating students on living the life of an artist. Brilliant. Honest. Not to be missed.

SCBWI NY: Viral Marketing & Social Media

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One of the best sessions I attended at the SCBWI 2010 Winter Conference was Viral Marketing & Social Media, presented by Jenn Bailey.

Definition of viral: an online marketing strategy that encourages people to pass along a message.

Jenn broke down how to set the groundwork for a viral campaign into six easy steps, using Paul Revere (“The British are coming!”) as an example.

Here’s the recap:

1. Pass on the message

  • Build a community using social media networks
  • Share your message when people are listening
  • Target the people who will help get the message out
  • Be a constant advocate
  • Be many things to many people; think of how your other passions can build community
  • Ask people to help you

2. Create a call to action

  • Keep your message simple
  • Relinquish control
  • Let the community spread the word as they will; it’s OK, as long as they’re traveling down the same road as you

3. Plant your message in fertile soil

  • Make sure your message gets to the right connection
  • Ask for help from those who have the right connections
  • Make it easy for others to help you

4. Encourage conversation and sharing

  • When someone helps you, thank them and encourage them
  • Be smart about utilizing links and embedded information
  • Have passion for what you do
  • Listen to your community to hear the next step/suggestion

5. Reward

  • Sometimes saying thank you can be reward enough; doesn’t have to be a product
  • Make those who help you feel good
  • Let the community see the effect of what they did

6. Give them a sequel

  • Do the campaign again
  • Pick up those you missed the first time

Jenn pointed out specific “Paul Reveres” of today and explained why their online campaigns went viral.

  1. Cynthia Liu – The Auction
  2. Neil Gaiman – The Party
  3. John Green – The Movement
  4. Tammi Sauer – The Launch

She then listed reasons why campaigns sometimes flop:

  • Not listening to community
  • Not engaging in conversation
  • Not making it easy to be involved
  • Other big events happening at the same time as your campaign

Finally, she gave advice on how to use social media.

1. Have patience

  • Building your social media reputation takes time
  • Play nice, help others

2. Be a friend to get a friend

3. Know your audience

  • You have to know what to say to get others to help you
  • Smell like cookies all day long and people will want to be around you

4. Beware of TMI

5. Be yourself, everyone else is taken

  • If you’re not being you, people will know
  • People will know if you’re just using them

6. Listen to your “Jedi Council”

  • Have friends who will tell you when you’ve got it all wrong
  • Don’t listen to the entourage, but the people who will tell you when you suck

7. It’s called ‘social’ for a reason

  • It’s supposed to be fun
  • It’s supposed to be about interacting