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Conning The Con - Part 3 - Friends & Neighbors

When I owned a publishing company, my Director of Marketing at the time, Angela Nicloy, shared the term "co-opetition." As a company with an abundancy mindset, and while the world of independent publishers was exploding, we knew we had a decision to make. We could be afraid of the competition--threatened by it, really--or we could embrace it with the knowledge that a rising tide raises ALL ships.


We knew what we were about and what we had to offer. Other publishers maybe had a different set of packages or approaches. At the end of the day, we believed in telling stories and we were all in that world together. So, we decided to always play nice. When we weren't a fit, we didn't hesitate sending them to our "competition." We knew that, in turn, they would occasionally send a title our way. In this manner, we became "cooperative" partners. Who else could understand our world better than those who were in the business with us?

COOPETITION became our mantra.

By the way, I eventually sold that company to Angela's husband Mike, and herself. Today, Nico 11 Publishing & Design is as successful as ever - a Hybrid publisher with both traditional and independent publishing options and they represent incredible talents such as the great Dick Vitale.


Michael Nicloy was the designer of the cover for At Fault while also using elements from artists Cas Mayhall (@casmayhall on Instagram) and Sara Risley (@sararisleyart on Instagram). Mike and I still collaborate often and in total trust!


Throughout my career, I've consistently seen that those who work to lift others find success and those who squelch others' joys and accomplishments have found instead a glass ceiling.

At Con Nooga 2022, I already decided on DAY 1 that I knew what I was about. I also quickly learned this was a place to PLAY. So, it would seem the spirit of coopetition was to be alive and well in this space once more!


In that spirit, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my friends and neighbors from the great ConNooga space! I know that we have a lot of fan crossover because those who love this crazy speculative fiction world I work in tend to have tastes across many of the same interests. If you caught me at #connooga, maybe think about looking up one of these other great folks, too!


My Neighbors!

  • First, were my friends #pawstars (@pawstar_products on Instagram) who sold all matter of costuming supply. These guys, Matt and Fox, knew what they were doing. They ran such a tight ship! If I had any questions about how to set up a booth or anything else con-related, they were the experts! On a separate note, can you just check out Fox's hair?! Like, wow. I was feeling like I was having pretty good hair days at the Con. Fox, you put me to shame. my friend!

  • To my other side was the lovely team from Fantasy Mountain Board Gaming. They were newbies to the Con, like myself, so I was grateful for our mutual learning curves! What's more is that they had to listen to my BOOK TRAILER no less than 1200 times throughout the weekend and they didn't once complain! Check them out for all of your gaming needs when you're in Chattanooga!

The Authors & Illustrators!

  • Clockwise from top left: Iris Kain, author of the Blood Tribe Trilogy has books that send chills down your spine, but a smile that will warm it right back up!

  • WHAT? I got to meet the incredible illustrator of Erin Hunter's Warrior's Series, Mr. James L. Barry. He does even more than cats. Check out his Etsy Shop! So sweet!

  • Ellie Raine was so stinking' adorable and her booth was total vendor goals! Her purple pixie hair was perfect for the magical vibes coming from her space! Check out her Writer's Digest award-winning work at https://www.necroseam.com/

  • I have to finish on Gil Hough because he really helped me out. I'll tell you about that after I tell you that you should check out his work at: https://www.gilhough.com/

My thank you for Gil: So, I've been in this business of writing and publishing for twenty-ish years in some form or another. And, coming into this book's launch, I made a HUGE rookie mistake! I didn't develop my "elevator pitch!" I have an amazing BOOK TRAILER done by Relevant Scope Productions, and the written text for my book works, but I found myself at a loss for words all weekend long when people asked, "So, what's it about?" I realized that neither the visual of my trailer, nor the written word used on and for the book, worked as a spoken description and I more than once looked like an idiot while trying to . . . form the words . . . from the brain . . . to the mouth.


After I visited Gil on Saturday, he dropped by my booth the next day and asked the question I'd been babbling on all weekend long: "So, what's it about?" After fumbling on my words a bit, he spit them back at me in a far more precise manner.

A diverse cast of characters in two different timelines is managing human relationships and geopolitical divisions against the backdrop of an Earth that is slowly shrinking while its population is growing.

If you want to appreciate the story, enjoy these three snippets recently shared on my TikTok:

  1. For the love of books - Mik and Miriam; Romantic Love

  2. For the love of books - Tatsu and Uru; Brotherly Love

  3. For the love of books - Nina and Miriam; Love of Friends

When the convention weekend wrapped, I realized that it was not that ConNooga put a new idea in my head so much as it affirmed my former Director of Marketing's philosophy that COOPETITION is the far better way to approach business and the arts. As I writer, I'm in both of those worlds. While you may find it hard to believe, I'm completely sincere in saying that, as much as I want you pre-order At Fault, I'd like you to share that love with these other great creators.

A rising tide raises ALL ships!

Be Gloriously Human,

~JS

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