In keeping with my ‘focus on writing career’ philosophy for this year, I have mostly decided to attend the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego (27-30 October). I have been eyeing off this annual convention for years and years, ever since my first taste of the World Science Fiction Convention, which came to Melbourne in 1999 and again last year in 2010. World Fantasy has always sounded like my convention — but heading all the way to the USA for a con is a very big deal.
This year the timing feels right. By October I will be searching for a publisher to take on my manuscript, and hopefully nearing completion on a second. This will help me feel legitimate in attending as a writer (and give me something to talk about). And I know people who are going, which always helps. From what I’ve heard, it’s a convention more heavily focused on the professional aspects of speculative fiction publishing, which suits me just fine. A sign of this is the fact that among its Guests of Honour are an agent and a publisher. (Not to mention the very cool Neil Gaiman — plus Guy Gavriel Kay, one of my all time favourite authors, is listed as attending! I guess I’ll get to play fangirl a bit as well…)
To demonstrate my seriousness, I signed up for World Fantasy 2011 online last night. I’m not one hundred per cent certain I’ll be going, since there are financial issues to be dealt with — but the more I think and talk about it, the more certain I become that I should go. If this is the year when I take myself seriously as a writer, then what better way to take the next step forward? If not this year, then when?
I’m also signing up for our local Melbourne SF convention, Continuum 7 (10-13 June), this week. This is a con I attend most years, and is usually filled with insightful panels and lots of socialising. I’m also thinking about attending the Romance Writers of Australia convention, to be held in Melbourne 11-14 August. I’ve not attended this before, but I have friends who write romance and women’s fiction who have described some of the professional development sessions — they sound amazing. Although I don’t write romance per se, I believe I could still learn from the speakers and workshops at this convention, which sounds amazingly well organised and professional. The program and registration details have not yet been released, so I will stand by to see what eventuates.