Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Conventions

Last April I went to my first convention. The Romantic Times (RT) Convention was held in Columbus and lured me in due to the close proximity (and the fact I have a friend who lives in Columbus). It was an eye-opening experience for me and I ended up making new friends and having fun (as nervous as I was).

This April the RT Convention is in Los Angeles. And while I’d love to go back to California for a week, it’s not really feasible. I’d like to take some vacation with my husband (shocker – I know) and I had already decided to go to New York City this June for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Nationals.

Both of those conventions are pricey - RT over $400, RWA over $500 (the main reason I’m only going to one), and that’s just for registration (with a couple of meals). While RT is geared toward writers, readers, and booksellers, RWA is only for members. Small potatoes compared to the other convention I decided to attend - again.

Dragon*Con is a monster, geared toward the SciFi fan, and held every year in Atlanta during the Labor Day weekend. 40,000 people attended last year. Registration is under $100, but they don’t have any meals. Just lots and lots of panels and workshops (even for writers). And lots of people who like to dress up. Even if only ½ dressed up (and I think it was more than that) – that’s still 20,000 people in costumes!

When I decided to try my hand at writing, I really had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. I have enough problems talking to strangers and now I’m putting myself in the middle of thousands of them! Who said you can’t change as you grow older?

Have you ever been to a convention? Is there one you love to go to year after year (as my daughter does for Dragon*Con)? What makes you go back?

7 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

I live just outside Atlanta and DragonCon is crazy! I'm hoping to make it to WFC in San Diego this year, but nothing is certain yet.

KAK said...

Hey, if attending conferences is really all about networking, then 40k will always win over the smaller cons.

The trick is tracking down the agents/editors slinking around DragonCon. You can do it though, I have faith... ~muuwahaha~

Stacy McKitrick said...

Matthew - I don't know what WFC is, but San Diego has some nice beaches.

KAK - I'm glad you have faith. That makes one of us! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Thanks for commenting!!

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, Stacy. That is sweet of you to decorate your lovely blog with my scary-looking book. ;)
New York in June, huh? I'm actually making my first trip there this March. My oldest and his high school Wind Ensemble are playing Carnegie Hall and Central Park. I've never been further east than Phoenix, Arizona. Talk about a big bite!!
I have yet to do a convention, but I'm beginning to schedule book events. A couple of us local writers are teaming up to do this. If no one shows up, at least the three of us can talk, right? Lol!
Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Take care,

-Jimmy

Todd R. Moody said...

I actually tried to go to MisCon a few years ago, in Missoula, MT. It's a small con but they focus on SF/F writing and it is attended by a few of my favorite authors regularly. I had a 0600 departure out of an airport an hour and half from my house, and my alarm didn't go off. I wasted over $500 missing that flight by 15 minutes. I didn't send a short piece in for a writer's thing and still got my responses, which was not expected but extremely welcome. I am thinking about MidSouthCon in Memphis in March.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I have never been to a convention, but need to get out there and do that. I hear that cold queries are not nearly as effective as meeting agents face to face.
The RT convention is in LA in April, but it's really $$$. I'm trying to figure out how to afford it, but at least I wouldn't have to have a hotel room. If I am a finalist in the Golden Heart, I will find a way to get to New York for the RWA this summer.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Erin,
What's nice about RT is that there are lots of agents and editors there and panels for each. You get to hear what they are looking for and they give good advice, too.

When it was in Columbus, I didn't have the hotel fee, either, so that made it more affordable. And since I'm working at getting published, the convention is tax deductible. Something to consider, also.

Good luck on the GH. I have yet to submit to that contest. Maybe next year!