I have just come back from the Realm Makers 2016 writers conference.
It was my first writers conference and a fulfillment of one of my writing goals. To make a long story short I am glad I went and if you are a spec fic Christian writer, I would recommend that you go too.
Not only did I get to meet some wonderful people in Christ. But people who also have a love of speculative fiction. While I was there, I always had this sense of being at a Christian comic con convention. Again I would strongly encourage those authors that have not gone in the past to do so in the future.
While everyone takes away different things there were several observations that really stood out and or blessed me.
The chance to casually rub shoulders with people and hear about their works, their marketing and just exchange experiences is tremendously edifying. From the causal atmosphere as people role play scenes from star wars, to the fun activities such as after parties and Zombie Nerf gun wars. There is an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded people.
The ability to pitch to publishing houses.
If you want to get trade published you have the opportunity during the conference to sign up to pitch your idea, and meet leading industry experts to touch base with and get feed back. One of the attendees was a first timer and didn’t even plan to pitch and was picked up by Enclave publishing and acquired an agent the same night. I personally had the chance to get some feedback from Ben Wolf Founder, Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Splickety Publishing Group. He affirmed my thinking on where I should go next on some items and really gave me a great idea that I plan to pursue later. Where else can you go with so many editors, graphic designers, agents, publishers and have a scheduled time to pitch and or seek mentoring and just pick their brains?
The fact that the conference is growing to the point that its gotten too large for Villanova.
With such heavy hitters like Tosca Lee, Patrick Carr, Thomas Locke, Kathy Tyers and now even Ted Dekker coming as the keynote speaker next year, I can see why. These people are serious drawing cards and you get to meet them, and learn from them. I sat in on both Patrick Carr’s class and Tosca Lee’s and each gave invaluable tips and insights, and challenged me as a writer.
The variety of classes
There is simply so much good information for both the old and new writer it’s really hard to choose which class to attend. I got to meet and sit on Tosca Lee’s class! From such subjects dealing with the deeper spiritual formation for the writer, to the crossover novelist. Realm Makers had something for every writer. It was simply good to be taught, inspired, challenged, encouraged, by all the great instructors.
The incredible effort put in by Scott and Becky Minor.
This couple from what I gleaned organizes and coordinates this event. I can’t begin to express my appreciation for them allowing God to use them to bring so many together. They are definitely pastoral shepherds helping to gather God’s people together who love Speculative Christian Fiction.
The lack of people of color.
As it turned out I seemingly was the only black person in attendance. While this was not an uncomfortable feeling at all. I realized I was there in part because Mike Duran (Col Sanders for those in the know…lol) had graciously [personally reached out to me to attend. Our honest and transparent talks and his observations about race as noted in his blog bode well in my opinion that the lack of people of color in Christian fiction and more specifically Realm Makers is a conquerable issue. I was glad he invited me, and honored to be in the midst. I will definitely be back. Having now attended I feel compelled also to reach out similarly to other Christian spec fic authors of color and both encourage and assure them, that they do have a place here. Speculative fiction and more importantly the body of Christ needs you! So I hope to see some more Facebook friends at next years conference if I’m blessed to attend.
While I am sure there is much I am forgetting,(as I am still trying to digest all that I was given over this past weekend.) Overall, I can’t recommend enough for those Christians who love comic con, speculative fiction in particular, to come and check it out. This is still a young movement. I indeed see it as such. It has the potential to be much bigger. And I hope to see you in that growing number!