NYCC Panel Recap: Women In Geek Media – The Sequel

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I’m finally back from, or should I say survived, New York Comic Con 2015. As usual I had a fantastic time. This was my 3rd time attending and I probably enjoyed this year the most compared to the first two. One of the best things about attending New York Comic Con, or any convention really, is attending panels. Everyone knows that the panels for movies or television shows, where the stars and writers of them make appearances, are always the most sought out, and hardest, to attend. However, there are so many others where you can learn from as fans. A great example is a panel I attended this year titled Women in Geek Media – The Sequel. Even though the title has “women” in it, don’t think men can’t benefit from what was being discussed. The panelist of women presenting during this panel all brought their own experiences in dealing with geek media. The tips and advice given were perfect and definitely needed if you want to get into geek media whether as a passion or living. Even if it’s not an interest for you to get into,  I guarantee you that just learning about it could change how you seek out other geek media.


The following 6 amazing women were the panelist for this discussion. Read about who they are, their experience, and advice in the field of geek media. Each woman is presented in alphabetical order:

Deb Aoki –  Writer, Publisher’s Weekly. Twitter: @debaoki

Deb has loved reading manga her whole life. She used her journalism background  in helping with her writing of the subject. With her love and passion of manga, she prefers to cover more manga content and interviews with manga artists compared to trying to get insight from mainstream comics. Probably most known for being the ‘Manga Chick’ (seriously, manga reps contact her to do manga interviews mostly because she is the only one who would covers it) she says that there is plenty of room in the sand box for more manga bloggers. So “come one and write about manga!”

Things Learned:

  • Getting to know people and people will tell you stuff.
  • Plant more seeds. Some won’t grow but at least you planted some.
  • When on Twitter, don’t ask questions to her while she is live tweeting. Afterwards is fine but during she is working!
  • You’re going to upset people in geek media.
  • When ask to recommend an artist for a comic, would not recommend certain people because of how they complain about work on social media.

Jamie Broadnax –  Founder & Creator, Twitter: @JamieBroadnax

Jamie has loved writing and didn’t see anything about geeks of colored. She tried searching with the phrase “black girl nerds” but didn’t find anything. This is when she took it upon herself to make a blog herself. The topics would range from television shows to social issues. She likes talking to new people and learning new things. Pod-casting was new to her but she put herself out there to do it. Even now she is still learning about geek culture like new fandoms & sub-cultures and using her knowledge to build her skills along the way. Jamie references the book Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes when trying to step out more. The results of her saying yes have gotten her the chance to interview famous names and creators.

Things Learned:

  • If you can’t find what you’re looking for, do it yourself.
  • Be unapologetic when you post.
  • Say yes when doing something you’ve never done or don’t think you can do.
  • “Nerds are angry”
  • Write your frustration post instead of an angry tweet. It opens a dialogue.
  • Don’t seek out what other sites are doing.

Catrina Dennis -Senior Editor, Twitter: @ohcatrina

Catrina comes from a family of writers. When she was younger she wrote fanfiction with her father. When she went to college she took up the major of Journalism. Catrina gives credit to conventions for her career. She networked and put herself out there with her online portfolio. Recommends New York Comic Con as the best place (especially compared to San Diego Comic Con) to meet with writer, creators. networks because they have time. Since in geek media your opinions could get you angry feed back, based on what you write about and your stance on it, you should be getting people mad.

Things Learned:

  • Conventions are the best place to network with creators, writers, and networks.
  • Don’t have to be like the writers at Variety
  • Be yourself. Comics wants something you have in your mind.
  • You’re going to get people mad based off what you write.

Alisha Grauso (Moderator) – Editor in Chief, Twitter: @AlishaGrauso

Alisha talked about how geek media can be overwhelming especially if you don’t know what to look for. Rookie mistakes she has seen include people not refining their voices, mimicking others, not taking risks or honing themselves. She can tell when individual writers work by their uniqueness. When getting applications, she sees no expertise or personalities shown in their writing. 9 out of 10 of the applicants get rejected because of this. Alisha goes on to say that it’s getting harder now to establish yourself. When wanting to join comic companies, you have to ask yourself “What are the needs from the comic companies you want to get into?” When making a living in geek media or as a hobby, social media you need tough skin. It shouldn’t stop you from writing. If what you write about will get people mad but it’s well written, don’t care what people think and put it out there. Alisha learned from Gamer Gate about hate, personally, on social media. You should always take criticism well. If plenty of people are commenting about a certain thing, take it as a positive to change/fix it. Don’t get mad and listen to the advice. An important note Alisha pointed out is that some people forget how to be professional. She mentions how some journalist would sometimes sling mud at each other.

Things Learned:

  • Refine your voice and be unique.
  • Show your love through your writing if you love it.
  • Don’t think your story is too weird because someone might want that.
  • Have tough skin.
  • Take criticism well.

Jody Houser – Comic Book Writer. Twitter: @Jody_Houser

Jody has been a super hero fan even before starting to write. Whens she was 7 she started writing fanfiction and by age 8 she knew she wanted to do it professionally. It was only 10 years ago when she started doing web comics. Even with all of this she didn’t feel that connection of do writing. Jody had done some writing for anthology books with authors who later had projects coming out and became successful. Editors paid attention to her work after showing samples of her work that she had done with them. She mentions that there are 3 things you could be in comics: pleasant, talented, and timely. If you have 2 of the 3, you could have a career.  If you do read comments, make notes of where you read it and what was said. These will help in knowing who to listen to and sites where it’s safe to read or engage with commentators.

Things Learned:

  • Network at conventions.
  • Stay active on social media.
  • Support other writers coming up with you.
  • Write to editors and send links to your portfolio.
  • Be assertive without being mean.

Sam Maggs -Author, The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy. Twitter: @SamMaggs

Sam has her masters degree in English. She feels the harder you work, the luckier you get. Started writing about geek culture for free in Toronto. This was how she was discovered by The Mary Sue and her literary agent. Since she only knew about writing on girls in geek culture, she decided to write on that topic and Fangirls Guide was brought to life. When writing Fangirls Guide, she interviewed a lot of people because she could only give experience from her own perspective. She also mentions how others have told her that they could have written Fangirls Guide but what set her apart from them was that they didn’t. When bringing up the topic of people wanting to create their own new sites, she explains that websites like Comic Book Resources and Nerdist have hundreds of writers (paid) to do articles full time and anyone trying start their own news site can’t compete with that. They have access to things you don’t. You will be one of a billion people posting the same thing at the same time. Websites need people with their own voices. The answer to the question of how to become a writer is to write. There is a market for this (with an example being the attendance size of the panel). Sam gives credit to Twitter for where she is today. When it comes to comments on your published work, read the comments in terms of criticism i.e. trolls vs actual opinion. Prepare for negativity from social media. If you want to block someone, block them. If you want to write back to them, write back. Safe communities do exist.

Things Learned:

  • Keep putting yourself out there. It’s important to find your voice in criticism and creation.
  • Just do it! It’s a mistake to be scared.
  • Be unapologetic wherever you post (articles, posts, social media).
  • Connect with creators on Twitter. They are nice.
  • Diverse voices means diverse stories.
  • Find a website you admire/respect that you could add something too as a contributor.
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The Author

Sabrina Brown

Sabrina Brown

Contributing Editor