Tag Archives: Conventions

WXR16 Attendee Reports, AKA “The Testimonial Page”

We have returned from the 2016 Writing Excuses Retreat, and it’s difficult to quickly describe how the event went beyond simply saying “better than we had any reason to expect.” If you’re considering attending a future Writing Excuses Retreat, you probably want more information than that.

Also, due diligence dictates that you get your information from somebody other than us.

To that end, this post has links to the reports from our attendees. We’ve sorted them alphabetically by surname, and aren’t filtering out anything that happens to be critical of the event. We’ll link to everything we know about, and we’ll keep this page updated as new reports show up.

Attendee Reports

11.07: The Convention Survival Kit, with Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger joined us at WorldCon in Spokane, Washington, to talk about her Convention Survival Kit, which is full of things most of us wish we’d known to bring to conventions back when we first started attending them.

Pronunciation note: Brandon uses the soft “g” when saying Gail’s surname, but it’s actually Carriger with a hard “g.”

Liner note: Gail’s convention tips and packing list can be found here. The page is pretty comprehensive, and is worth bookmarking and committing to memory.


Someone has to make a pitch when they are very, very drunk.

Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott, narrated by Georgia Dolenz, and Prudence, by Gail Carriger, narrated by Moira Quirk

11.2: How To Get The Most Out Of A Conference, with Kathy Chung

Kathy Chung runs the Surrey International Writing Conference, which is a professional development event, rather than one of the fan-run conventions, which are primarily reader and/or consumer events. She also helped us put together the 2015 Out Of Excuses event, where we were fortunate to witness her expertise first-hand.

Naturally, we invited her to talk with us about conferences and conventions. She’s easy to talk to, and she knows more about them than we do.

We cover some of the key differences between conferences and conventions (especially from the writer’s point of view,) and, per the subject, how to get the most of them.


Homework: Research conventions and conferences in your area.

My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk, narrated by John Lee

Writing Excuses 10.51: Q&A on Showing Your Work, with Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older joins us for a Q&A on showing your work around. Here are the questions, which were submitted by attendees at the Out of Excuses workshop:

  • What’s the best way to meet editors and agents at conventions?
  • How do you write a good query letter?
  • What do you mention as credentials in your query letter?
  • You didn’t cover self publishing at all this month. Self publishing is legit, right?
  • Can you submit the same work to more than one agent or editor at a time?
  • Can you re-submit a revised work to an agent who previously rejected the piece?

Write a query letter for a book that you love, but did not write. Then write a query letter for your own work.

Mystic, by Jason Denzel, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

Writing Excuses 10.49: What Do I Do With This Thing Now?

We’re at the end of our Season Ten Master Class, and if you’ve been diligent about the homework, you may very well have a finished manuscript in your hands. What do you do with it?

Daniel José Older joins us for a bit of reminiscence. We talk about some of our first submissions, and what we did right, wrong, and weirdly. We cover our criteria for selecting publishers to whom we’d like to send our stuff, and we include the shiny intangibles in that list.


This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered in an abandoned missile silo by Alex Jackson.


Research the market for that thing you’ve written. Find things that are similar to what you wrote, and read up on who published them. Find out who the editors were. Then make a list of places where you’d like to submit your work.

Half-Resurrection Blues: Bone Street Rumba, Book 1, written and narrated by Daniel José Older.

Writing Excuses 10.37: Being a Good Panelist and a Great Moderator, with Susan J. Morris and Marc Tassin

This month’s wildcard episode comes to you from the 2015 GenCon Indy Writers’ Symposium, where Dan and Howard had the opportunity to interview Susan J. Morris and Marc Tassin. Susan is one of the finest moderators the symposium has ever seen, and Marc directs the event, building the schedule around good panelists and great moderators. Their advice is insightful, fresh, and spot-on. If you ever find yourself scheduled to speak on, or moderate, a panel, this episode is a great listen for beginning your preparation.


You’ve been invited to BobCon, and when you arrive at BobCon you realize WHY it’s called BobCon. How do you escape?

A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab, narrated by Steven Crossley