I had many reasons to start going to science fiction conventions. They had interesting and informative panels. It was a way to meet authors whose work I had read (and agents and editors, I later learned). The dealer’s room had stuff to buy that I’d probably never glimpse in my mundane life. The art show had fantastic art that I could appreciate and drool over. The costumes (cosplay) filled me with awe and desire. When I wrote as a ‘hobby’, I frequently came home from an sf convention with lots of ideas for stories.
These days, sf conventions can offer even more to the fledgling author. Necronomicon (Tampa area) was just full of ideas. I did not see any representatives of big publishers or magazines at that con, but there were plenty of small publishers and self publishers. They were eager to share what they had learned without the help of ‘the big boys’.
At one panel, a small press handed out copies of a boiler-plate contract that an author might be asked to sign. Then they spent 2 hours going through that contract, pointing out the ‘not good’ sections, what made them troublesome and what to ask for instead. We could take notes on our copies and take them with us. Contract Negotiation 001 at a convention!
A self-published author gave a panel on how to do a successful kickstarter project. This was something that I’d been trying to find the courage to try, so I bought her book on the subject, inhaled it in a couple hours, and found a couple aspects of a kickstarter project that I had not considered before. I am planning to start my kickstarter project early in 2013. That will give me time to be sure I’ve ironed all the wrinkles out my plan.
Another author encouraged us to incorporate. According to her, it can be done for $0, if you slog through the forms yourself, instead of hiring someone to do it for you. Perhaps that’s true in Florida, but in Nebraska, you must pay filing fees. Still, the cost is less than I expected, and raising that money will be the MoonPhaze’s first gofundme project.
An independent film-maker got his start on utube, using screenplays written by his wife.
One author puts ‘episodes’ of a book on her website every week. These were sections of about 1000 words. A new one went up on a particular day, and she had several readers. If those readers wanted to read more before the scheduled posting of the next section, they could send in money for the next section. She posts an extra section for each $15 she receives in a week, and the readers discuss who could pay how much, so that they can pool their money. Some weeks, she is paid to post 2 or even 3 extra sections.
A whole fistful of ideas, obtained from one sf convention. Yeah, well worth the few dollars of membership.