This past weekend my wife and I attended the When Words Collide writer’s festival here in Calgary, Alberta. (Website is already starting to show the details for next year!)
I’ll admit to not having a lot of experience with conventions. I’ve attended exactly two in my entire life – ShevaCon 2005 and World Fantasy Con 2008 when it was here in Calgary. That said, I found that the WWC Festival was extremely well put together – there was none of the confusion over space, badges, panels or anything else that I’ve heard of from other conventions.
We didn’t attend as many panels and presentations as we were hoping, but we did make it into a few interesting and educational ones. I was impressed with Sandra Fitzpatrick‘s presentation on business plans for writers as she managed to point out a few things I hadn’t thought of – and if you can teach ME something in terms of financial planning and writing as a business, you’re doing something right!
My friend Kate Larking (author of Novel Marketing) also had a presentation on the same topic as her book that went over extremely well (I, being an awful friend, missed it due to arriving at the Festival after she started – but I heard good things from unbiased third party sources!)
I did make it to Jodi McIsaac‘s panel on marketing your self-published book, which I came away from brimming with thoughts and ideas. Not many of those are immediately actionable, but they are feeding into the website revamp that my PR team (also known as my wonderful wife) is planning for me.
Also attended a presentation on loglines (one sentence summaries of your book, using this formula on my Goodreads ads!) and a few on the general state of publishing and the impact ebooks, which were interesting and provided some food for thought.
A couple of the presentations I attended were a little too focused on genres other than mine (which is my own fault for mis-judging the panel) and there was one real stinker of a presentation (it turned out to be basically a fifty minute spiel of ‘buy our services’), but all in all it was a good weekend.
To my amusement, at one panel (on blending SF/Fantasy) the mention of one of the search hits I’ve seen lead people to this site – “science fiction about mages in space” – got the interest of a few people. Including the presenter! (We also discovered that searching just “mages in space” doesn’t seem to work. We’ll be working on that ;))
I plan on making it out to When Words Collide next year. If I’m paying attention, I may even try and sneak onto a panel or two (if they’re crazy enough to have me – we’ll see!) If you’re in the area, or just looking for a convention focused on the art and business of writing, I suggest you check it out!