2017 - 03/2017 Meeting

Page Created:  08/16/16.  Last Updated:  04/05/17.

Stephen S Power, Fantasy Author

Official Site:  http://stephenspower.com/

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Meeting Date:  March 11, 2017.
Meeting Site:  Bergen Highlands United Methodist Church.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Attendance:  19
Meeting Program:  Talk w/Q & A by Fantasy Author

Newsletter Account:

The following account is reprinted with permission from  THE STARSHIP EXPRESS  Copyright 2017  Philip J De Parto:

The March 11, 2017 General Meeting of the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County was held at the Bergen Highlands United Methodist Church in Upper Saddle River.  Considering everything that was working against us, the evening went better than we had any right to expect.

So what were we up against?  Well, for one thing, we lost our scheduled speaker a week before the meeting, which delayed or short-circuited much of our normal publicity.  The new HELIOSphere convention was held the same weekend in Tarrytown, so we lost some of our members to the con.  The heat was not working in our primary space, the Fellowship Hall, so we had to move into the heated classroom down the hall.  (This was a case of a light turnout actually working in our favor as it is in a much smaller space.)

Guest speaker Stephen Power arrived early and joined our authors at the pre meeting Writers Space Salon.  The conversation went in all kinds of wonderful directions including the merits of Submission Grinder vs Ralan.com.

Barry's Ice Nine discussion lived up to its name as it was held in an unheated room.  The group discussed ELEMENTARY, adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, and many movies and television series.

Writer / editor Stephen S Power was an enthusiastic speaker.  Our guest's day job is editing (non genre books) at Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin's Press.  Before that he worked a John Wiley & Sons and at Avon Books (where his duties included science fiction).

Simon & Schuster is the publisher of Mr Power's first book, THE DRAGON ROUND.  Our guest's short fiction has appeared at AMAZING STORIES, DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE and other markets.

Mr Power know that he wanted to be a writer at a young age, but he didn't know what he wanted to write.  He tried advertising and learned that he was not meant to do that. He tried script writing and had no success there.  He wrote poetry for three years with mixed results.  He finally decided to give publishing a go.

Our speaker wound up at Avon Books where he discovered Nancy Holder.  He was laid off when Hearst bought Avon.  He then went to Wiley and helped build their trade (non-textbook) line, only to get laid off when the company decided t refocus their brand event though his division was making good money.

Unemployment proved a blessing.  Mr Power received a generous severance package.  He also had a revelation.  He could not write a great book.  But that was okay.  Lots of other people had written great books.  All he needed to do was to rewrite one and add a dragon.  Everything gets better when you add a dragon.

THE DRAGON ROUND is The Count of Monte Cristo with a dragon.  It was planned as the first in a series of standalones depicting critical moments in the history of human / dragon relations.

The novel had originally been scheduled for release as an ebook only.  However, the editor of the S & S ebook imprint line left the company, so it was instead issued as a hardcover and ebook,  This proved fortunate as the electronic edition flatlined but the hardcover did well, selling enough copies to earn out his advance.

Stephen Power credited the cover artwork with the hardcover's success.  While the design is nothing special when shrunk down to Amazon-catalogue size, its use of a bright color palette jumps out in a full-sized book store display.

Questions about advances, royalties and ebook costs led to a talk-within-a-talk about the economics of the publishing industry.  Our speaker pulled from his experience as an editor to lay out the internal calculations which determine the size of the advance which will be offered to an author.  To be continued at the 2017 - 03/2017 Meeting at sfabc.org.