I’m home from the Nebula Conference, which is the annual conference of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. This is my one real travel convention of the year and is one that I prioritize. The first time I went to one of these, it was really just about the awards banquet, with a few programming items and the business meeting, but it’s evolved into a real conference that’s exactly what I’d been looking for.
When I first started writing, I belonged to the Romance Writers of America. Although I always wanted to be a fantasy writer, I started off in romance, mostly because that’s what I had information about. RWA had local chapters with monthly meetings and a big annual conference. This was where I learned everything about the business of publishing, as well as a lot about craft. After a few romance novels, I really found my footing in fantasy, but since my fantasy novels had strong romantic elements, I kept a foot in both worlds for a while. Then RWA moved away from the “strong romantic elements” stuff to focus more squarely on romance, and I let my membership drop. But I did miss that annual conference, several days of being with other writers in my field and learning about what’s going on in the industry.
The Nebula Conference is now very much like that RWA conference used to be, though on a smaller scale. There’s a mass autographing session, conference workshops, and the awards ceremony. I like that the scale is smaller because it’s a lot more intimate and less overwhelming. I also like that it’s built more on the model of a science fiction convention, so the programming starts at 10 (rather than 8) and there’s a hospitality suite for meals rather than all those hotel luncheons. It’s kind of like the writing/publishing side of a WorldCon, broken out into its own event.
What did I learn this week?
- I learned something about Draft 2 Digital that I wasn’t aware of previously, which should end up earning me more money.
- I learned about ways to get more/better speaking engagements, which should end up earning me more money.
- I learned enough about online advertising for books that I might dip my toes into that, and we’ll see if that earns me more money (are we seeing a theme?).
- I picked up some hints on how to use social medial more effectively. Maybe one day I’ll really figure that out.
- I got some ideas of how I might be able to use a patronage type thing to promote my work and maybe earn some more money.
I came away with a rather epic to-do list, and as soon as I get past a couple of deadlines I’m hoping to carve out daily time for dealing with this business stuff.
Meanwhile, I met a lot of interesting people. I think I pick up more new Twitter followers at one of these conferences than I tend to do at a WorldCon. I got to present a Nebula Award to a friend, which was almost as good as winning one, myself.
The people doing the matching for the mentor program should start a matchmaking service because they were almost eerie in how well people were matched. I was glad I signed up as a mentor, in spite of the Imposter Syndrome kicking in and trying to tell me I had nothing to teach, because looking out for someone else and making sure she had a good conference helped me not have my usual social awkwardness and shyness.
Oh, and I came home with more additions to the Strategic Book Reserve. My goal is to read some of the advance reading copies before the books are officially published.