The World Fantasy Convention is happening right now in Brighton, UK, and I am lucky enough to be there.
So here is a sampling of some of the interesting tidbits at the halfway point. I’m not vouching for any of this information. I haven’t researched it myself. I am merely repeating them for those unfortunate souls not able to be in Brighton this weekend.
1. The TV series Buffy broke new ground for YA books. When Buffy moved from a static episode model to having arcs that spanned multiple episodes or seasons and when that move was incredibly popular, it changed YA writing as well. Prior to that time, YA writers were discouraged from writing anything but standalone books. After Buffy‘s success with long running arcs, YA writers were encouraged to write series. Buffy convinced industry people that young readers would follow characters and plots across multiple books.
2. Centipede Press makes some beautiful books.
3. Favorite phrases from a Tor editor: “Discoverability Hell” and “Urban Attack Lawyers”. Not sure if the first is accurately attributed, but the second certainly is.
4. According to Gallup Poll data, the top reasons people buy a particular book are:
- 1.They liked another book by the author.
- A friend recommended it.
- The cover appealed to them.
Those three reasons account for the top 95% of responses.
5. Neil Gaiman’s first published book was a non-fiction account of Duran Duran’s first few years of fame.
6. Neil Gaiman’s first published short story was originally 8,000 words long. When the publisher said he would publish it if it were 4,000 words, Gaiman edited it down to 4,000 words.
7. According to Gaiman, he got the idea for the serial killers convention in Sandman #14 while in the crowded bar at a World Fantasy Con.
8. Canada is potentially a great place to start a small press.
9. Sir Terry Pratchett uses Dragon Dictate for all of his writing now. They uploaded the entire Discworld series into it so that it would better recognize the names. The program still struggles with his accent at times and they occasionally hove to sound out what the program typed out to figure out what Sir Terry meant. Example: “pie on ear”.
10. Sir Terry Pratchett has a chicken named Biggles. Biggles can fly, but doesn’t know how to land.
11. Fanzines were the blogging of the pre-internet era, complete with flame wars on the Letters pages.
12. Richard C. Matheson drew a cat under his autograph in my Programme* Guide at the Mass Signing tonight. After that, I convinced Pat Rothfuss, Mary Robinette Kowal, Joanne Harris, Lee Moyer, Robin Hobb, and Tad Williams to draw cats for me. I’m going to be the amusing story they tell at the next Con.
*It’s in the UK – that’s how it is spelled!