Creating a panel for Comic Con

In just a few short weeks I’ll be at the 2013 Chicago Comic Con.  It’s a week after the official book launch of D’mok Revival: Awakening.

My best friend Pat, and my sister Elizabeth will be with me the Con.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to share this Con experience with both of them. As you will read in the dedication and author’s note in my book first book, they were instrumental in their support and early critique of the story. Without the book wouldn’t be what it is, and frankly, without Pat, the book would be here at all.

I’m also lucky enough to have Brittney Brauer at the con.  She worked at Mira Smart Publishing to get my “Seed” copies printed.  She’s brilliant, and an expert in the publishing realm.  One of main attractions (beyond the book) to the D’mok Revival booth is the opportunity for other con goers to find out how to bring THEIR story to market.  Look, most Scifi lovers have a story.  Some have the passion and drive to bring it to bear just like I did.  I WANT TO HELP those people.  Lord knows I would have loved someone to help me blaze the trail and figure things out.  But that’s okay.  I can be that for other people now.  It’s kind of cool!

So, in addition to the booth, Brittney and I have pulled together a panel on how to Self-publish.  It’s an hour presentation, on Friday August 9th.

I thought I’d talk a little bit about my approach to creating the panel.

This panel isn’t about saying how awesome D’mok Revival is and how to be godly or anything crazy, it’s an opportunity for me to “think like a new author” and provide the information I was seeking oh so long ago.

First I start with a clear goal.  My goal for the panel is to talk about the overall process with the experts.  Then talk about what happened as D’mok Revival went through these stages, like a case study.

The most important thing to remember is: who is in the audience, what do they already know, what would help them the most, and in what way can they absorb it the best.

So I put on my thinking cap and thought about Authors.  They are typically good with the writing part. In fact, many don’t want advice on how to write.  They have their approach and you’re not going to change it.  So I’m steering CLEAR of that one.  Besides, there are so many writer’s conventions out there that will provide better insights into the art of writing.

Instead I think it would be more interesting to them to focus on “what comes next” after writing the manuscript.  To properly tune this presentation I first listed what are the things the audience wants to know (or should know):


1) Where to spend the money if you have it (editor, cover, book quality)

2) Where to find an editor

3) How to find and evaluate an artist for your cover and brand

4) The printing process (vetting options, pricing)

5) PR for your book (advanced review copies [ARCs], how to come up with messages, press releases, web sites, social media, blogging)

6) Contests, reviews and advertising

7) Distribution of books (ebook, physical book, Amazon, etc.)

8) The release process and beyond (how, where, when, interviews, tours)

9) Questions


This looks a little long, so I’ll dial it back to the essentials and just use a summary for the others.

Cost, Editing, visual design, printing, and distribution really needs to be the core.  I can always direct people to my blog, to email me with other specifics later.

I’m going to pull together a few PowerPoint slides to provide relevant visuals and hold engagement. As my friend and co-worker Brandon would say “don’t fill it with text.” It’s a VISUAL medium, not intended to be a small encyclopedia.

In addition to the PowerPoint, Brittney is brining a few other experts to be on the panel. That takes some of the pressure off, and makes it more interesting as one person isn’t droning on the whole time.  It also provides more legitimacy concerning answers.  They can also deep dive in their respective topics to depths further than I could. Bonus information for the panel viewers!

In the end, I want the audience to have the information needed to start planning their own approach.  Brittney and I will be available after the session, at the booth, and via email after the con to stay in touch and help people out.

So, that’s my approach to assembling the panel.