I discussed the pop culture fun of the Comic Con Fan Experience in Salt Lake City on April 19, 2013 in my previous post but I want to talk about my favorite highlights of the artists and authors who were there. It was an amazing opportunity to get to speak to them one on one. They did not charge to sign books or speak with them which I found great. There was a huge showing from new authors and artists that didn’t have many people at their booths, and well-known authors had significant lines. For the newbies, keep at it and don’t despair, your line will grow!
Brandon Sanderson: Mr. Sanderson did a reading and discussion regarding some work he is currently doing with three other authors. They are short stories in the Cosmere Universe. The plan is to compile these short stories into a book. It was interesting to watch Mr. Sanderson read his own work. I know there are a lot of fans of Michael Kramer, who narrates the ‘Wheel of Time’ series as well as ‘Warbreaker,’ ‘Way of Kings,’ etc. I have found I can not listen to his narration of Sanderson’s work. I started wishing he would narrate his books himself and it was enlightening to hear his work in his own voice.
Directly after Sanderson finished, fans left the ballroom to line up at his booth to get their copies of his books signed. The line was large and Sanderson wasn’t due to start signing until 2 hours later. For those who have never been to a Sanderson signing I want to explain how he handles it. Sanderson talks to his fans. He does not rush them. It means you are waiting for a few hours but its worth it to get your specific questions answered in a one on one experience. Fans close to the front of the line are quiet and listening carefully to the interactions Sanderson has to collect any special tidbits you wouldn’t want to miss.
One of the unique and intelligent techniques Sanderson has used to build and retain his following is he gives away free material. If you go on his website you can access a chapter or two of his books for free. You can also get short stories and deleted scenes that he hasn’t published. He’s not afraid that allowing access to this work will hurt his sales, and its brilliant marketing, his fans love it. All this information ties into his books. For people who aren’t as passionate you might not know there is always a character from a previous book in one of the new ones, even the ones that don’t look like they tie together. They are always different characters but if you pay attention closely you will see various characters reappear. Sanderson has created a universe not a world. If you go on brandonsanderson.com you can explore this for yourself. You can also purchase jewelry decals, and shirts at the online store.
With the Stormlight archive – ‘Way of Kings’ and ‘Words of Radiance’ there is extra information, similar to Easter Eggs, and you can join the 17th Shard Official Fan Forum. Sanderson is also hiding in bookstores and airports, as he travels, ‘Szeth Shardhunt Cards’ that unlocks hidden content on Sanderson’s site. These are rare and if you find one don’t throw it away thinking its simple marketing; it’s special! Sanderson is known to give out a few of these to hardcore fans – but you have to earn them.
Fan Experience Fun: Sanderson loves the game Magic. Some fans know this and will buy booster packs and if it’s a good or rare card he will have the fan sign it. There was a gentleman at the Con who previously had given him a booster pack in Las Vegas and when Sanderson opened it they saw it was a rare Planeswalker card. Sanderson stated that he has this at his home in a glass cube. The man brought another unopened booster pack and Sanderson wanted to see if “Vin’s luck” held. When it was opened it was another rare Planeswalker card. Two for two. Below is a picture of the fun. This fan will henceforth will be known as “The Planeswalker Guy” If you follow Sanderson’s twitter you can see it. As you can guess, this lucky fan earned one of the ‘Szeth Shardhunt Cards.’
Interesting Tidbit: ‘Warbreaker’ was an unofficial prequel to ‘Way of Kings’. He ended up taking pieces from the draft and putting it in ‘Warbreaker,” and Vasher was originally going to be Calladin swordmaster.
I have not read ‘Words of Radiance’ mainly because I barely got done grieving the end of the ‘Wheel of Time’ series. I recognize this is ridiculous but because I was sticking my fingers in my ears to avoid hearing to many spoilers I can’t give you any more information.
Artist: Lance Oscarson is an artist and his work is a steam punk style. They are 3-D paper designs that have been painted to look like metal. He also had 3-D light switch plates designed like a bee and an owl. I have a picture below but it does not do it justice. There is a lot more detail than can be seen. He had several pieces on display that were not for sale because they were on loan from their owners. In one situation, there is a 3-D framed piece of a clockwork turtle with a key in its center. A woman kept returning persistently pushing to purchase it despite being told it wasn’t for sale. Lance Oscarson eventually called the owner to see if they would be willing to sell. I don’t know if she succeeded in obtaining it, but she certainly wanted it. His prices were very reasonable but she I think would have paid about any price. Their was a fantastic photo of a scorpion piece that will be on display at the Springville gallery in Utah if you are interested in seeing some of his work.