Then come to Conflux!
It might be too late to fit it in your schedule for this year - the Conflux science fiction* convention is taking place Sep 30 to Oct 3 in Canberra, so not much time to get a budget together (although read to the bottom for a helping hand...). But for those of us on the Darkside, going to science fiction conventions as well as romance writing conventions is something to seriously consider.
a) it introduces you to a potential whole new
reading audience. Now, admittedly urban fantasy and paranormal romance aren't as accepted in the sci fi industry as they are in the romance one, but that is slowly changing and it's remarkable when you start talking how many science fiction and fantasy fans read romance as well.
b) networking with a new bunch of writers. While the readers may still be divided on the place of UF and PR in the world, the writers most assuredly are not - you're a writer, they don't particularly care what you write (although be prepared for a bit of 'oh, really, you write romance, I've always wanted to write romance...' from some BIG names). The sci fi crowd have the same point of view I've found in the romance crowd - that is that we're not in competition, but that by encouraging new writers we ALL win. The experience of writers in other genres than yours is different and definitely something we can all learn from. And who doesn't like to talk writing with ANYONE who will listen?
c) geeky fun. Let's face it folks - we're darksiders. We've got more geek in us than the average person. And there's certain conversations that we like to have eg enthusiastic arguments over which Dr Who is the best and whether Joss Whedon is the greatest storyteller OF ALL TIME that don't tend to happen much in the romance pond. But at a sci fi convention - ah, you can geek away. Want to discuss the airspeed and flight generics of a zeppelin? Can do. Desperately need to argue the merits of the various vampire mytholgies? You're sure to find someone just as desperate. And discover new things as well. Anime and manga. Daikaiju eiga (aka Japanese giant monster movies). Those classic sci fi movies that you never knew you needed to see - until now.
d) Social opportunities. The sci fi crowd are pretty big on partying. Whether in the bar, at
organised events or in people's hotel rooms, the chatter and drinking and arguing and laughing will go on until the wee hours...
When planning your events in 2012, here's a few things to consider:
a) RWA Nationals in America are in Anaheim, just a couple of weeks after Comic-Con (the biggest geek fest in the world) in San Diego. It's very doable to attend both.
b) There's three Australian sci fi cons you can look at. Over Easter is Swancon in Perth. The June long weekend is Continuum in Melbourne (which is also this year's National Science Fiction convention, the biggest of the year). The October long weekend is a small Conflux convention in Canberra.
c) There's also Supernova. More a large dealers room with some panels attached than a convention the way we'd recognise, but certainly something to consider. Moves around Australia at various times of the year.
Hopefully I'll see some of you darksiders at a science fiction convention in the not too distant future.
* Note that for these conventions, science fiction is a general term and the cons also cover fantasy and horror.
*** You can win a membership to attend Conflux this year - state below whether you want to win and you'll be entered in the draw to be drawn next Wednesday ***
All photos taken at Conflux conventions by Cat Sparks. Pic one - Conflux 2011 guests Lewis Morley and Marilyn Pride. Pic two - Donna Maree Hanson, HarperCollins editor Stephanie Smith and yours truly. Pic three - Emily Rodda and Marc McBride, guests two years ago. Pic four - Donna Maree Hanson, Cat Sparks, Alisa Krasnostein