Realm Makers – How to be Involved in a Conference You Can’t Attend

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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 conferenceWhat 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!

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For a list of the other blogs involved in the Realm Makers Blog Voyage, go here.


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Great post, Nadine! Thanks so much for your unique take on how to help and get everything you can out of not attending! 😀

  2. Fantastic post, Nadine! I really like the perspective you took. Realm Makers can use all the support–prayers included–that it can get.

    • Thank you, Ralene. I took the liberty to go back and insert prayer as one of the “to dos.” God knows I struggle to remember the importance of prayer (a lesson I’ve been learning for a long time) and your comment reminded me. I will be praying for Realm Makers this year as well!

  3. I hope to go this year. I hadn’t heard about it until a few months ago, but it sounds amazing! I’m trying to earn the money not only for the con, but also for a plane ticket. We’ll see. 🙂 I’m just starting my journey into writing. I’m finishing up the edits on my first novel before I start researching agents and such. It seems like a good time to get involved in community. I’m sorry you won’t be able to make it this year. I love your bio line “She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination.” And I love Chai (I highly recommend ‘Chai Americaine’ from Let’s Do Tea, available online).

    • That’s wonderful! Yes, community is very important. And Realm Makers is great for that because it’s smaller and tight-knit. Not as overwhelming as a larger conference might be.

      Thank you for the chai recommendation! I’ll have to try it out! Here are a couple fo ryou, since we’re exchanging favorites. 😉

      For a thinner chai with actual tea in it, I use my own concoction (1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves — mix it all with a can of sweetened condensed milk and add a tablespoon or two to a cup of black tea. YUM!)

      For a thick, milk-based chai, I really like the Maxwell House Instant chai powder, although it has a VERY different flavor from the more spicy chais. 😀 That was also the first chai I ever tasted, so I might be biased. 😉

      I hope you can make it to Realm Makers this year!

  4. Love this blog post and the practical and insightful suggestions about how to be involved even if you can’t attend the conference!

    I so want to go. Went last year – it was absolutely amazing. Loved everything about it. But because of the date and the location this year, I would need to fly. And plane tickets are more than twice the cost of the conference! If life were spec fic, perhaps I’d discover that I have the power to travel through time, and I would return to last summer, where I’d wisely start saving money for this year’s conference… alas, time travel is not yet a skill I possess, and neither, obviously, is foresight. 🙂 Still looking for a way, but if not, I’ll be there next year for sure!!

    • LOL, I hear ya, Alyssa. If you discover the power to travel through time, take me with you! 😉 Last year’s Realm Makers conference was only three hours away from where I lived. I think I was traveling at the time, but I’d love to go back and rearrange my travel schedule. Now, though, it’s a plane ticket for me, too.

      That’s awesome you got to go to the first one, though. Hopefully I’ll see you there next year! I’m already excited. 😀

  5. Great post! That’s how I feel about a lot of things I’ve either not been able to do over the years or events I would liked to have gone to but didn’t have the time or the resources to do so. It is my hope to attend Realm Makers this year. That is the going plan for me, anyway. 😉

  6. I’m aiming for next year as well! Just hoping it’ll be at a slightly different time of year. It’s very difficult to get time off in the summer when you work at a summer camp. 🙂 Who would’ve figured?

    • Gillian, it’s in May (30/31), does that make a difference? I only say that because someone else I know thought it was in Aug this year again (He was worried about it conflicting with the start of school, when it will actually affect the end of school for him).

      Excellent post, Nadine! Since I *will* be there this year, I’m passing this along to others I know are hoping, yet may have to face the disappointment of missing it. Look forward to meeting you next year. =)

    • Wow, I never thought of that, but so true! Yes, May is often a tight month for me, too.

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