Conventional Wisdom for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

Fan Village at a Science Fiction ConventionAs  a writer, if you want success you need to do more than just write. You need to network, make contacts, meet readers (actual or potential) and get ideas about the current state of  the field you write in.

If you write science fiction or fantasy, you are spoiled for opportunities to do all of these. Welcome to the world of conventions.

Conventions for writers

Science fiction / fantasy fans have been meeting up to do all the things fans do for years. Many years, decades in fact. The World Science Fiction Convention (aka Worldcon) has been running since 1939 (see this article I wrote: The History of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)).

Every year, as a fan (I write from a UK point of view) you can go to the:

  • Worldcon — held in various countries, often in the US (see the article link above)
  • Eurocon — held in various places around Europe
  • Eastercon — held in various large towns / cities around the UK, this is the British National Science Fiction Convention
  • Fantasycon —  held in various large towns / cities around the UK
  • Anyone of dozens and dozens of niche conventions held all over the UK most weekends.

As a writer you can find somewhere near you, an excuse to travel and a chance to meet people. There are fans / traders / publishers and often press at all these events. You might even be able to be on a panel: a good way to get known and improve your brand.

As a random selection of conventions I am considering (to various degrees, indicated by the number of stars) are:

2017

Fantasycon 2017 Peterborough, September 29 – October 1 *

Pandorica 2017 Bristol, 17 – 19 November, a Doctor Who themed convention **

2018

Follycon the 2018 Eastercon, Harrogate, 30 March – 2 April *

Nemo 2018 the Eurcon, Amiens France, 19-22 July **

Worldcon 76San Jose, USA, 16-20 August **

2019

Ytterbium the 2019 Eastercon, Heathrow, 19-22 April ****

Nemo 2018 the Eurcon, Amiens France, 19-22 July **

Dublin 2019, Dublin, Ireland, 15-19 August *****

There’s more

As you can see, it’s perfectly possible to plan holidays conventions years ahead, and even pay for them. If you want more local / focused conventions (and I always go to Big Finish Day when I can), the UK has a wonderful League of Non-Aligned, a London based fan group whose website manages a great list of conventions – have a look: Sci-Fi Conventions, Signing Events and Fan Gatherings.

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