It’s hard to be the newbie at a conference. It seems everyone already knows everyone, you’re not sure what to do, and that guy is staring at you! Never fear, my friends, the Realmies have your back. I have a few people who’d like to share some advice . . .
Advice for Realm Makers Attendees
Expect to be welcomed and meet new faces. You will leave with a 100 new friends. Don’t be afraid to connect- most writers are introverts but want to meet others, don’t be shy. Even if one of your favorite authors is there. No one is unapproachable over this weekend. Expect to have a lot to process over the following week, and connect, connect, connect… –JJ Johnson, Author
Expect to start out feeling on the outside. It will seem that everybody knows everyone else, but we all want to know you! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, and hop in on conversations. Even if you’re just listening and have nothing to add. Immerse yourself in the collective. -Josh Smith, Author
You’ll be expected to recite your full synopsis upon entering, and there will be a critique gauntlet to get through for each meal. Actually, you’ll be amazed at how it feels to find a tribe that gets your unique geeky tastes and your faith at the same time. Take chances, say “yes” to get out of your comfort zone, and remember that Ben cheats in the Nerf war. –Jason Joyner, author
They may feel a little overwhelmed at first – there’s a lot to take in. They may also feel a little jealous. That’s normal. Or maybe they feel they should stop writing because they aren’t as “good” as someone else. It’s taken me some effort to remember I’m not a horrible writer – I’m just different – and that’s okay. They can also expect to feel they found their tribe. They will not only learn from the workshops, but they’ll be encouraged to keep going. What amazes me about Realmies is how we support each other, even if we don’t write the same genre. I write high fantasy, but I’m so excited for others when their sci-fi, steampunk, dystopian, or horror books come out, and I do what I can to help promote them. -Pam Halter, Author
Expect to be overwhelmed by awesomeness. Don’t let yourself be overcome by the sheer volume of awesome people and awesome resources. Take a step back, pick one or two main points to remember, and don’t be shy about asking people’s names again! –Katie Morford, Author and Editor at Crosshair Press
A reasonable degree of chaos. It’s a firestorm of information, new connections, exciting opportunities, and amazing fellowship. If you feel lost, remember that everyone is helpful and friendly. Lots of us have attended Realm Makers since the beginning and were at Villanova in 2014. We’re happy to help. If you feel overwhelmed, put yourself on timeout for a bit. I love timeout. –Lindsay Franklin, Editor and Author
Lots of friendly, geeky people. You will be surrounded by a tribe of quirky Christian folks who actually get ‘those quotes’ and ‘those jokes.’
At Realm Makers? Depending on your natural energy level, expect to have times of exhaustion. You’re taking in a lot of new things and meeting a lot of new people. Make sure to take a breather.
Also, expect that you might not agree with everything the speakers and teachers say. Expect that you might not agree with everything the people you make appointments with say. This is perfectly healthy and natural. Maybe they’re right. Maybe you’re right. Learn what you can, process through what you can’t, ask polite questions if the opportunity arises, and maybe even try to speak with them later on a friendly basis. Ultimately, realize that not everyone agrees on everything. It’s okay. You might even click with the person through discussing your differences! –Janeen Ippolito, Author
Newbies, we look forward to getting to know you!
A few things to remember . . .
- There will be a First Time Attendee Orientation on Thursday evening. Meeting a few other newbies will help you to feel more comfortable.
- We are fun and quirky, but we’re also professional. It’s a balance.
- You’ll be greeted by bright smiles at the registration desk.
- We were all newbies once. We understand.
- Just breathe.
So, who’s ready to party? By this time next week, we’ll be immersed in our speculative fiction world with over 150 fellow writers and publishing professionals. Until then . . .