Let’s just clear the air: I have not been to the Realm Maker’s Conference.
In fact, I won’t even be able to attend this year due to a wedding falling on the same weekend. I’m hoping 2015 will be my lucky year (third time’s the charm, right?) But attending Realm Makers someday is up there on my list, right beneath “Meet J. K. Rowling.”
I started this blog post with a list of why I think the Realm Makers Conference is an awesome opportunity for speculative fiction authors, but then I thought about my readers. Yes, you. And the majority of you who read my blog probably already know about Realm Makers. (If you don’t, there are some great informative blogs on it here and here and here.) In fact, chances are, you already know whether or not you can go this year, so all of my gushing and cheering about Realm Makers wouldn’t accomplish much.
With that thought in mind, I reorganized my post into a list of how you can support, anticipate, and be involved in Realm Makers even if you can’t attend the conference. What makes me an expert? The fact I’ve been doing this for an entire year and recently succumbed to the knowledge I must press on for another year until the 2015 conference.
Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Spread the news! If you can’t go to the conference, you might as well give up the spot you would have had to a fellow spec-fic author. Send out an e-mail to that author friend, especially if they’ve never attended a writers conference before. How perfect to recommend one that’s small, personal, and specific to their genre. Or just mass post on your Facebook, tagging everyone you know who likes fantasy. [grin]
2. Follow the Realm Makers Facebook page. I do, and almost every status stimulates my imagination, encourages me to write, introduces me to new authors in my genre, or makes me think deeper about my writing. (And it’s fun!)
3. Study the faculty and staff attending this year. Think about it, one of the biggest perks of this conference is that the majority of attending editors and agents love speculative fiction. They are the professionals in your genre and, just because you can’t meet them in person (yet) doesn’t mean you should ignore the condensed, informative mini-blurbs on the Realm Makers website. You have an entire year to follow their blogs, learn about them, read their books, and understand what they consider are the current market needs. This is crucial knowledge when trying to pitch your book to publishers and to readers. Learn your market. Realm Makers offers an excellent place to start your studying.
4. Plan in advance! This isn’t so much on supporting or learning from Realm Makers, but on preparing to attend next year. I already have my little Realm Makers envelope stuffed with extra dollar bills for next year. ($20 a month should do it!) Not only that, but I have an entire year to brainstorm my costume for the Costume Awards Dinner. Another thing you could do is, when the schedule and class sessions are posted, still look and see what interests you. If it’s a class on world building, go buy a book or find a blog on world building. If it’s a class on marketing or social media, buy a book or find a blog on the topic. See the pattern? Just because you won’t be there, doesn’t mean there aren’t educational tools to make up for the classes you’re missing. I know in-class learning has a completely different feel, but you can still search out and study the content.
5. Vote for or nominate books for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction. Realm Makers and Speculative Faith sponsor the CSA and the winner is announced at the conference. You can find details about the award and nomination process at the Clive Staples award site. You have two day left to nominate and then you get to vote for the top three books. This shows you the Christian speculative fiction content out there right now, and there is far more than I knew about! Read some new books and discover new authors. Who knows? You may meet that author at the conference in future years. They may even win the CSA! You may win the CSA someday! This is a great way to know your market, to be involved, to support authors, and to discover new content in you genre.
6. Pray. Need I say more? Well, just in case — pray for the leaders of Realm Makers, those who put it together. Pray for God’s guidance among the staff and attendees. Pray for the novels being written and the hearts being shaped. There are many things to pray for and this is the greatest support you can give.
That is all the wisdom I have for you today, though I am curious . . . are you planning to attend Realm Makers? Have you attended in the past?
And before I forget, Realm Makers is hosting an amazing giveaway!
For a list of the other blogs involved in the Realm Makers Blog Voyage, go here.