I must confess that I am a relative newcomer to conventions. I have spent most of my career a slave to the keyboard and ignoring the “business”. Over the last couple of years that has changed. Never more was that made evident over this past weekend, when I had the pleasure and honor of attending Imaginarium. This convention was an author’s convention…an event geared for authors to connect — with readers and with colleagues. In its first year, the weekend garnered more authors than readers, but we all know that will change.
How, say you?
Because those behind Imaginarium know what they’re doing and managed to pull off an event that far surpassed so many expectations. Not only was it incredibly well organized, the staff were all helpful, friendly, and on the ball. Beyond that, the weekend was filled with connections, collaboration, and camaraderie.
Being relatively new to the “con” scene, I had no idea what to expect. What I gained was invaluable. Getting advice from my contemporaries, networking with like-minded people, sharing ideas about my chosen genre, meeting new friends…
Friends…that’s right. In so many industries, those behind the creation of ideas are often seen as “competition”. Never more was that idea shot down than at Imaginarium. Panel after panel, I was part of a collective imagination that went so far beyond the “self” and the mindless and useless ideas that tend to permeate the play grounds of new writers:
- That idea of everyone as competition
- The ignorance of I must only ever promote my own work
An overwhelming majority of the attendees at the event got it. They fully understood that we are a collective of creators that succeed much better as a whole than as an individual and that individual success is to be celebrated instead of blasphemed. Authors like:
…and so many more, get it. This event proved it. A scant few were there for the sole purpose of pimping their work — most wanted to help grow the industry as a whole. And that, my friends, is the hokey pokey of being an author.
What it’s all about, pimp daddy!
I’ve also learned the great value of the convention — not as a means to a financial end, but a means to a long-term end. Networking, connecting, meeting, greeting, planning, plotting, spearheading…all of those crucial tools to the trade that are so easily neglected when your face is constantly buried in words. Imaginarium helped to open that “third eye” up for me. With that in mind, I plan on expanding my visits to conventions. At the moment I am considering:
- Mid South Con in Memphis
- World Horror Convention in Atlanta
Whether you’re a fan of my work or a fellow author, I hope to get the privilege of meeting you at one or both of these events. If you have another convention you’d like to see me attend, feel free to drop me a line. And you can certainly be sure to see me at Imaginarium 2015!
To Steve Zimmerman and his crew, my hat is off to you and what you’ve created. Bravo and congratulations. I cannot wait to return to where it all began.