View Full Version : Book Festival vs Conference

Gary Clarke
11-25-2009, 12:56 AM
Don't want to divert the thread so tell me to shush if you want, but I got to ask, is a con different to a literary festival? I've been to quite a few festivals this year and last year, all paid for hotel stays and comped my travel expenses. Does anyone know why there would be that difference?

11-25-2009, 01:03 AM
I'm guessing the festival had some kind of sponsorship that let them afford to do that. Most conventions are fan run and subsist on donations and membership fees.

Gary Clarke
11-25-2009, 01:13 AM
That's really interesting Michael, thanks for letting me know! i had no idea that cons were purely fan run. Great to learn these things!

11-25-2009, 01:29 AM
is a con different to a literary festival?

Oh, hell, yes. I've more experience with S.F. cons.

Most are fan run, non-profit, usually with a charity in the mix. Sometimes there is a TV/movie guest of honor, but most of the time they have a big name writer as the GoH.

Dozens of other writers turn up, paying their own hotel, travel, & food expenses. The cons usually comp a ticket in exchange for serving on panel talks. A weekend ticket for attendees is usually 40.00 or less if you buy early.

Commercial conventions are venues like Creation Cons, which deliver media guests. Their tickets range from 25.00 a day-300.00+ depending how close you want to sit to your idols. There is a rumor that metal detectors are set up not to keep people from entering with weapons, but to keep people from leaving with any change in their pockets.

I've dropped about 1200.00 as a GUEST at a romance convention in the 90s. That covered my air, hotel, food and ticket in. They do not comp guests and are terribly overpriced to someone used to S.F. venues. These can be very strictly run events or fun, depending on your ranking in the romance community. I did not recover the money in book sales, but it was sort of fun. Sort of. Meh.

One of my pals went to one in Houston, deciding NOT to spend a c-note for a rubber chicken dinner and hung out in the bar with other writers. Unpubs chewed their chicken at the banquet, hoping that meant they were networking, but all that was going on in the bar.

Then there are mystery writer cons, which are also pricy like the romance cons. More drinking is involved, so they do tend to be more fun.

That's a thumbnail of what's out there.

The most bang for your buck are the fan-run science fiction cons that get in name writers. There will be panels on writing, selling, editing, publishing, etc. in addition to an art show, charity auction, costume contest, autograph alley, and dealer's room.

They tend to be a lot more fun. Where else can you dance the Time Warp with a kilt-wearing Klingon and no one bats an eye? :evil

Gary Clarke
11-25-2009, 01:41 AM
Gillhoughly, maaaaaaaannnn cons sound like the best craic going! But they do sound expensive! I'm not sure I could afford to attend anything like that, to be honest. That makes me feel like a wobbly lipped red-headed stepchild because me wanty!

11-25-2009, 01:45 AM

There are cons in the UK. I'm not sure about in Ireland. There are some almost every weekend in the US if you want to fly out, or arrange a vacation around one. I really like Marcon in Columbus, OH, on Memorial Day weekend.

Gary Clarke
11-25-2009, 01:49 AM
Waaaay beyond my pocket, Michael! Maybe when those royalties start coming in ( HA HA HA hahahahahaha. Oh. *dashes tears from eyes* Royalties. Larf. )

11-25-2009, 01:51 AM
I usually manage a mortgage payment or two out of royalties. Once I got a year's worth.

Or, you can get a couple of good short or article sales and use that.

But I know there are some in the UK.

11-25-2009, 02:42 AM
Gillhoughly, maaaaaaaannnn cons sound like the best craic going! But they do sound expensive! I'm not sure I could afford to attend anything like that, to be honest.

Look into Octocon (http://www.octocon.com/) for next year: I've heard it's immense fun and very affordable.

11-25-2009, 02:47 AM
Oh, man--they had Mike Carey as GoH this year?!?!?!?!


I LOVE HIS BOOKS!!!!!!!!! :e2faint:

Gary Clarke
11-25-2009, 02:48 AM
Sounds fab! I'd be an awful bullshitter if I pretended to know aught about sci-fi novels, but is it ok at a con to turn up and quietly listen? Maybe I can be the shy awld wan in the corner with the sheepish grin.

Edited to LOL at Gillhoughly. Drama queen.

11-26-2009, 09:22 AM
Yeah, I've heard good things about Octocon. Go and have fun.