Monday, June 22, 2015
Why Come to a Con? -- RainbowCon 2015 Guest Post
Why Come to a Con?
by K. Piet
If you've never been to a convention/conference before, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Sure, it looks like a good time, going by all the tweets and Facebook updates from the people there, as well as all the pictures that surface afterwards. But those are other people's con experiences, and you may be uncertain that your experience would be similar. So, why shell out the money for travel, hotel, and entry fees with no guarantee that it will be worth it?
Well, for one thing, conventions foster camaraderie. When you go to a convention, you are assured that everyone else there has at least one thing in common with you -- namely, an interest in the focus of that convention. This is something that's particularly important with niche conventions where it may be difficult to find people who share that interest, and doubly so when it's a convention like RainbowCon that deals with GLBTQ/QUILTBAG issues that are still treated derisively in various measures by certain segments of the population. Creators and fans of queer fiction and media are often hesitant to admit their interests to others because of the fear of how it will be received. In an atmosphere like RainbowCon, attendees can feel more comfortable opening up, because everyone there is there for the same reason. These are your people; you're among friends.
Second, convention attendance is a great way to support the art that you love. Let's face it, we content creators can be a pretty insecure bunch sometimes. You write something, draw something, film something, whatever, and send it out into the world with no real certainty of what people are going to think about it and, by extension, you. And while a positive review can somewhat relieve that insecurity, nothing beats a face-to-face interaction with a fan. Few things make a creator's day more than a statement of "I heard you were going to be at this con, so I just had to come so I could finally meet you!" Knowing that one's work is appreciated is a great inspiration to keep putting out new things, which grows the genre and gives you and the fan even more of what you love. (Look at our Guests of Honor, Alex Woolfson & Adam DeKraker, who are behind The Young Protectors webcomic. Thanks to their fans who support them through Patreon, they're able to create their comic full-time now! Talk about supporting the arts!)
And as a third (but by no means final) point, conventions are excellent for networking. You never know who you might meet or how profoundly it may affect you. People have met their partners for the first time at conventions, or met someone who just happened to have that missing something that helped them finish a novel, or launch a business, or just make them feel less alone. As an example, at RainbowCon 2014, several of the attending authors were surprised because they hadn't realized how many of them all lived in the same area, and afterward, they created a Facebook group to stay in contact and regularly get together for meals and discussion.
Ultimately, the reasons for going to a convention are as varied as the attendees themselves, and everyone's experience differs, but as organizers, these are some of the reasons we've heard again and again and that we think are worth taking into account when considering joining us next month for RainbowCon 2015.
Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, send ping pong balls into space, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee's to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.