Many fantasy and science fiction authors have expressed an interest in meeting together for either or convention or conference, and I’ve been putting some thought into this. First, let me address what I see as the difference between a convention and a conference.
Convention: A fan-focused event where there are panels, vendors, events, cosplay, and games. Some of this would involve content aimed at writers and their needs, but it would mostly be about fans gathering to enjoy their favorite speculative content together.
Conference: A creator-focused event where there are panels, breakout sessions, classes, and a sales area. All the content of this sort of thing would be geared toward the attendees’ growth as creative people.
What I envision is starting all this off with a (likely very small) conference, and if that grows enough, some day, the conference could grow into a convention. The conference would need to be volunteer led, and for the most part, volunteer taught, with the small exception of providing a stipend and reimbursed expenses to the keynoter. The key is, I want to keep the costs down! How many of us already don’t attend writer’s conferences because of the staggering out-of-pocket?
To be more specific, I think an all-day Friday and Saturday event is what I am going to begin designing for the late summer or early fall of 2013. One of the first questions I need to address is this: location. Should it be more of a retreat, where we utilize an out of the way setting, even perhaps a camp?
Or should it be more like a mini version of traditional conferences–at a hotel in a metropolitan area.
Both events would have similar content. A few classes/panels, some breakout time into little critique groups, some modest meals, a fun extra or two.
So here’s what I need from you, good readers…if you were inclined to attend a mini-conference, would you prefer:
Camp/retreat setting or metro hotel?
Late summer or early fall?
Would you be interested in volunteer teaching or hosting content of some sort?
Comment below with your answers, and I’ll be hugely grateful.
I’d prefer a camp location.
To be upfront, I don’t know if I can afford to go right now, but I really want to.
And sure, I’ll volunteer (assuming I can make it there). Not sure what I could do, but I’m up for almost anything.
I’m sure you’re not alone in the spirit being willing but the wallet being weak. 😉 We shall see what we can come up with to make it doable for as many people as we can.
I would almost prefer a camp setting–it seems like it would be easier to mill around after classes etc to meet each other and have fun together, maybe hang out in the evenings after supper.
Personally I would like early fall best, but that’s because of several factors, the biggest being that early fall would be an easier time for my husband to get off work for a few days, and that would be essential since I’d have a 5- or 6-month-old at that time next year. Plus I’d love to bring them both along and introduce them to all my nerd friends. 🙂
I would totally volunteer–just not to teach. 😉 I’m not a very good teacher and I’m behind quite a few of you in the learning curve anyway. I’d definitely be willing to help say, if we have a bookstore, or something like that. Basically anywhere behind the scenes where I wouldn’t be in the spotlight, I’d be willing to help. 🙂
I’d prefer a camp/retreat setting, but there are pros and cons to be looked at regarding them. What’s cheaper, easier to get to, and having the amenities that we need like wifi, etc.
I would love to do some kind of workshop, volunteer teaching thingy, but I’ve got build my credentials, which I’m looking into right now.
And yeah, I’ve got the money issues too. Ack! I was kidsitting to save up money for my writerly stuff and its gone every month, but God provides.
Why is Sunday left out? Maybe that’s how other conferences run, everybody packing up to leave. Or is it because its Sunday and church? Would you be doing some kind of fellowship/worship Sunday?
Are there ways we can fund-raise, do an anthology like Fantasy-Faction with artwork or something that we all could donate to to help raise money for the cost of such an event?
This may sound really funny coming from me, but how exactly did the ACFW get its stat? I know it was romance centered but was the original format a retreat, or was it always a conference? I’m personally all for keeping it low key and quirky, at least in the beginning. I personally learn more (typically) from round table discussion than being talked at in a large group. Some of that might have to do with simply being around for a while but I’d rather pow-wow than look at a hand out. Unless the person giving the handout is Jeff Gerke, in which case furious note-taking ensues.