“True To Your Self” Publishing Books and Comics

As per request, and given that a whole lot of you who follow me on here have ventured into self=publishing yourselves, I thought I’d talk some more about the panel I attended on self-publishing at Grandcon, which I briefly alluded to here.

The panel wasn’t moderated by anyone; it was just two guys, Tim Kenyon and Mick McArt. Kenyon is a professor of writing and comic studies at Saginaw Valley State University, but he’s also published several novels through small presses; the main thing he was there to promote was the first volume in his original graphic novel series, Endtime (which I bought the last day of GrandCon but have not read yet). He talked about what that was like and on the whole had some interesting insights as to how working for yourself is a good motivator.

McArt is a writer of, mainly, his own Tales of Wordishure, a series of Christian-themed children’s fantasy books. He spoke at length about how he looked into vanity presses and about how they’re actually very helpful and slightly hurtful (he stressed that you should not allow them to do your PR; there are several websites out that do that for free or at least for cheaper) as well as the importance of maintaining an internet presence and what it’s like to go into self-publishing for yourself.Kenyon had a lot to say on that as well, relaying how he actually found a printer, after a long time of searching, right down the street from his house.

The two also took several questions from the audience about confidence-building, the importance of getting out and doing actual shows and signings (even craft shows), and the benefits of physical publishing and e-publishing your book together rather than just e-publishing (“There’s nothing more motivating than seeing all the books in boxes in my house, knowing I have to get rid of them all,” Kenyon said).

Since there was such a small audience, the panel felt very comfortable with everyone, including me, feeling like they had found the answers to questions they hadn’t even thought to ask. I can definitely say that it made me more confident about my own projects.

I would go on but I can’t recall any more memories of the panel, but here’s something that happened before it: I made my way to the room about 5 minutes before the panel began and the other one–a panel on worldbuilding featuring Tracy Hickman–let out. I actually found myself, thanks to the crowd of people outside, standing next to his wife, Laura as Tracy came out, a woman recognized them and they kindly agreed to take pictures with her husband. Nice little thing, that.

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