If you are interested in pursuing writing as a serious occupation, make sure that you utilize all the best resources available, including the precious in-person relationships that can be developed at national writers’ conferences or conventions.
This is your chance to meet agents, editors, publishers, peers, and (perhaps surprisingly) even fans! The first time someone I didn’t know brought a book to me to sign and said they enjoyed my work (heart be stilled!) was at a convention.
Besides the in-person networking, you may be able to pitch your projects to decision-makers, and attend (or participate) in panel discussions, workshops, and other seminars in order to hone your craft. Besides the business opportunities, Cons are also just a great time to have fun with like-minded people over the course of one-to-four days.
Here are some of the better, or larger conventions, or those that particularly interest me, my interest being: horror, genre fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and associated sub-genres; these are listed in absolutely no order at all:
www.thrillerfest.com (Thrillerfest) – New York City, yearly
www.bookexpoamerica.com (Book Expo America) – New York City, yearly
www.worldhorrorconvention.com (World Horror Convention) – Rotates cities in North America, yearly
www.comic-con.org (Comic-Con) – San Diego, yearly (focus on comics and pop culture)
www.worldfantasy.org (World Fantasy) – Rotates cities in North America, yearly
www.fact.org/dillo (ArmadilloCon) – Austin, TX, yearly
www.campnecon.com (Necon) – Rhode Island, yearly
www.anthocon.com (Anthocon) – New Hampshire, yearly
www.killercon.com (Killercon) – Las Vegas, NV, yearly
http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks (L.A. Festival of Books) – Los Angeles, yearly
www.norwescon.org (Pacific Northwest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention) – Seattle, WA, yearly
www.britishfantasysociety.co.uk (FantasyCon) – England, yearly
www.stokerweekend2011.org (Stoker Weekend) – Rotates cities in North America, yearly
www.readercon.com (Readercon) – Massachusetts, yearly
www.midsouthcon.org (Mid Southcon) – Tennessee, yearly
http://bizarrocon.wordpress.com (Bizarro Con) – Portland, OR, yearly
http://www.horrorfindweekend.com/about.html (HorrorFind Weekend) – Gettysburg, PA, yearly
http://www.mocon.indianahorror.org (Horror in Indiana) – Indianapolis, IN – yearly
http://home.earthlink.net/~basfa/t39main.html (TusCON) – Tuscon, AZ – yearly
http://milehicon.org/ (Mile High Con) – Denver, CO – yearly
In addition, here is a link that lists another SIXTY conventions related to horror, fantasy, science fiction, film, etc. around the country.
Need more reasons to attend a Con? Read some great advice by Susan Denney at Writing-World: http://www.writing-world.com/basics/conference.shtml
Hope this helps!
Eric J. Guignard is MCM’s horror genre correspondent, and writes dark and speculative fiction from his office in Los Angeles. His stories and articles may be found in magazines, journals, anthologies, and any other media that will print him. He’s a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society, and is also the Horror Genre Correspondent for Men’s Confidence Magazine. In addition, he’s an anthology editor, including: Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (2012, Dark Moon Books), which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award®, and this year’s critically acclaimed release, After Death… (2013, Dark Moon Books). Read his novella, Baggage of Eternal Night (2013, JournalStone Publishing), and watch for many more forthcoming books. Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, or at his blog: www.ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ericjguignard.
(Photo courtesy: www.madmagazine.com)