Events for New SFF Writers
Updated: Sep 3, 2018
Why would new writers want to go to events, which events could they go to and what could they be realistically be aiming for at those events?
Sadly there is no one right answer to all of these questions, but I do have a few ideas that you might like to think about. There are a whole bunch of events out there and you might want to attend different events for different reasons.
Ok, I might be a little biased on this one... Fantasycon is the annual convention of the British Fantasy Society and it gets a high proportion of attendees that are involved in some way with the publishing industry; agents, publishers, editors, authors and other aspiring writers, which makes it a great networking event. I know at least one published author who brought her manuscript to Fantasycon and secured an agent and publishing deal at the event, it sadly I can't promise that experience for everyone.
Panels and discussions are interesting and useful, with lots of tips for new writers, taking part in these and a reading also helps you to get noticed.
Eastercon is a large event with a mix of industry professionals and people who love to read. It is great for networking, although it is easy to get lost in the crowd, and meeting people who might want to read your work.
Panels and discussions are useful to keep up to date with ideas, but also give an opportunity to be heard by others if you volunteer to take part.
Nine Worlds is a Geek fest, it is a great place to share ideas and find out what others are up to, but as the audience is so diverse in interests it's difficult to network with a specific type of industry professional (e.g. Agents and Publishers). It is having financial and management issues, so I am not able to link to next years event.
Clearly if you would like to be published by Gollancz it would not hurt to attend their event with workshops designed to share their expertise.
Both the British Fantasy Society and the British Science Fiction Association run social events through the year, these are an opportunity to meet other writers and genre enthusiasts. Writing can be a lonely business and it's great to have a network of friends who understand the highs and the inevitable rejection letters.
Comic cons are a lot of fun and you can get an idea of what is happening in the wider industry. They often have opportunities for self published authors, artists and other creative can sell or promote their work. This is also a great place to make contact with people involved in making comics and graphic novels if this is an area you are interested in. I would say it would be difficult to network with professionals in the traditional novel writing industry.
These are one day events in Derby that have good networking opportunities with industry professionals, as it is only one day you might find it harder to find and talk to a specific person than the weekend events.
I confess this this is an aevent I haven't actually been to, but it has a really good reputation for being friendly and welcoming. I hope to amend this oversite at some point so I can update you all.
Worldcon is, unsurprisingly, a huge event and it would be easy to be overwhelmed by it all. Getting on panels can be more difficult, but the opportunity for an international audience can't be ignored. The location varies and European venues are not that frequent, so if you can get there I would recommend it. Having said that ensuring you know a few people attending and agreeing to meet up makes the whole thing a little less scary for everyone.
World Fantasy Convention is smaller than Worldcon and has a high level of professional attendees. It tends to focus on Fantasy and Horror rather than Science Fiction, but is an excellent opportunity for international networking.
It it is worth noting that all events have their own traditions and wording for things. Some events will sell you tickets and others membership, from a practical point of view these are largely the same, but membership reflect the fact that it is has a tradition of being a community run event with members pitching in to help run it and take part in panels etc. Which of course does not mean that those who sell you are ticket are not. Many events are run and supported by volunteers who are passionate about the genre(s) and community.
We hope to see you at some of these wonderful events. If you know about other events or have been to any of these, let us know in the comments below. If you found this article helpful, do please share it on your own social media.