So Nerdcon: Stories, October 9 and 10 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Will you be there? Because wow, oh, wow.
First it's hosted by Hank Green of Vlog Brothers and Nerdfighters fame. Second, it includes authors like Rainbow Rowell, Jacqueline Woodson, Maggie Stiefvater, Lev Grossman, M.T. Anderson, Holly Black and John Green.
Whew. I need to sit down after that.
Then there are performers, Harry and the Potters, for example, and storytellers who are also actors, rappers and comedians, plus lots more authors you don't want to miss.
Nerdcon Stories was created to bring book lovers and authors together to celebrate storytelling. It's another brilliant idea sprung from the Green brothers. John and Hank also started Vidcon in 2010, the first ever conference focused on internet video. It's now the largest event of its kind in the world.
This is the first year for Nerdcon Stories and according to the website, they're expecting around 3000 participants. Will you be one of them? Imagine twenty years from now, telling your children you were there. Of course, they'll be dedicated readers just like their parents, and they'll sit at your feet and ask, "What was it like?"
If you go, please, please come back and share your experience with the rest of us who are stuck at home with OCD dogs.
NOTE: Nerdcon Stories is not to be confused with Nerd Con in California. That one involves Cosplay, comics and video games. Nothing wrong with that, just a different crowd.
Rejection. I do not like that word. It's right up there with Voldemort and Scrooge. Okay, so it doesn't shoot killing spells at baby wizards or sneer at starving orphans, but it does break our hearts.
You spend hours perfecting your story or painting. Family and friends applaud your brilliance. Your teachers say it's ready to send out in the world. You submit it to a contest, publisher or art director and as you wait for their response, you try, yes you do, to keep hope from building in your heart. But it's there. That dream of hearing your work has been selected, it's won the prize.
When it doesn't, it's hard not to feel defeated.
Every time we submit our art to others for review, we face rejection. There can be only one winner. Maybe there are awards for second best and almost good enough. Everyone else is left wondering what the judges thought of their work. It's so easy to go straight from wondering if they liked it at all to thinking they hated it.
Don't give the Scroogey thoughts in your head a voice. They lead to a slippery slope of doubting your work and your ability. Writers and artists have a natural urge to create. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with ego armor. We have to build that bit by bit, and we have to strengthen it often. Like Harry, Ron and Hermione, practice your shielding spells.
Every book I write, is created with the hope that someday it will be published. That means submitting each and every one to the publishing world and facing rejection.
Here's the thing about publishers: they're people, just like you and me, with different tastes. Some will throw my books in slush piles without a second glance. Some will like them, but not enough. Hopefully, one will love them enough to publish. Unless you hide your art in a closet, it will be viewed and judged by people, and not everyone will love it. I think that's a good thing. I don't want to live in a Voldemort world where everyone likes only Voldemort books and art.
There's room in this world for all kinds of art. Yours will find the people who love it. Keep growing through critical feedback, embrace positive reviews and believe in your work. Don't let rejection defeat you.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist, and I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti at Open Book Literary.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor