Hello friends of Faith and Speculative Fiction…
Some of you may remember my crazy ramblings earlier in 2012 about a convention just for people of faith who write, read, and watch speculative fiction. Well, now that I’m almost through the release of my novel, I’m ramping up to start really working on this again.
I envision The Faith and Fantasy Alliance growing into a group that sponsors events specifically geared toward weird folks like us…those who don’t quite fit in any of the established niches. There’s a call for us to develop our own corner to serve the needs specific to people who write or enjoy material on the edges (or completely off) the map (to borrow a concept from the incomparable Jeff Gerke.)
So here’s where I am with this concept since last we talked. I see the Faith and Fantasy Alliance as having two goals:
- To provide people of faith who create speculative art (books, movies, illustration, etc.) a way to meet, exchange ideas, and grow their professional pursuits
- To organize multiple artists’ efforts to go into established venues (such as sci-fi and fantasy cons and homeschool conventions) to jointly sell their works. Why jointly? Because it makes no sense for an author who is trying to develop a following to go sit with his one or two books at a table at a convention. This has little to no hope of being cost effective. An umbrella organization, however, has better potential to make the endeavor feasible for anyone who wants to be involved.
Lets start with the first point there (a way to meet and exchange ideas) and put some legs on it. I will address this primarily from a writer’s standpoint, since that is the first type of speculative art I want to address.
I foresee a two day event…perhaps an all day Friday/Saturday symposium where authors and publishers gather. The first time out, we might get a dozen people to attend, but I would love to see it grow from there. What would we do for two days?
Start the event off with a keynote speaker by someone who knows what it means to write the weird stuff we write and the challenges that come with it.
Conduct round table discussions on topics like:
- Social Media–does it actually sell books? What has been worth the time it took, and what seems fruitless?
- How to plan an effective release
- Continuing a series…the hurdles and the joys
- What will the next big subgenre be? (AKA-if you’re writing vampires or werewolves, you might be behind the wave.)
- Other ideas folks who would want to facilitate a round table would suggest
Pitch our Work???
This is a big if. But I would love it if a few acquisitions editors would be willing to look at manuscripts over the weekend. Of course, it would only mean having a dozen appointments for those editors, but I would really like for that opportunity to exist. Maybe not the first time out, but if this grows, it’s a definite goal. Can you imagine going to an event knowing that EVERYONE who is looking at manuscripts would be willing to look at what you write?
Workshop our Writing
Perhaps there could be a three hour session one of the days where we break into groups of four to six members, do readings of our openings to our current work in progress, and participate in group critique. I’m not saying this is exactly how a group crit would have to look, but it’s a possible framework.
Have some kind of fun, costumes allowed, soiree on Saturday night.
All this being said, I would want to keep the costs down on this concept as much as humanly possible. I love an awesome meal as much as the next person, but I would prefer the meals at the event are potentially boxed lunches or something similar that only cost the participants $6-7 a meal. Maybe the Saturday night event would be a little shcmancier, but honestly, I’d rather this whole thing be relatively down to earth for most of the time. The bloated, lets-all-act-like-we-actually-make-money-at-this atmosphere of many conferences quite frankly feels a little ridiculous to me.
So that’s the current state of my thoughts on the symposium side of this concept. It really is at the point of starting to recruit facilitators, choose a venue, and pick a date, which I am foreseeing happening in late 2013. Once I finish my release stuff over the next two weeks, expect my attack on all this to take off.
Next time I post here, I’ll be talking about the second goal of the FaFA: getting out there and selling books. This is something I hope to pilot in the spring. Stay tuned!