For a while now, I’ve been wishing for a dedicated, 3-4 day professional development conference for SF/F writers. ProCon, so to speak. Several cons have elements of ProCon already – World Fantasy is a fantastic con for meeting professionals, but most of the times I’ve been, the programming has been very light on professional development. I’ve heard that the Nebula Weekend has programming along these lines as well, which is promising (EDIT – far more than I’d originally thought – see the bottom). But what I’d really love to see is something above and beyond either of those.
And so, I took to Twitter to ask for panel ideas. And here’s what people said:
So, there’s a huge heap of panel ideas, and some suggestions of tracks to frame the conference:
A 101 track – basic marketing, craft, finance, etc.
And then, I’d like to see dedicated tracks across a variety of topics – finance & business, marketing, professional relationships/networking, and so on. It’d be easy to make this spiral out of control, so for the first time through, I think it’d be best to keep it simple and manageable. Don’t try to have the first run solve every problem and address every topic all in one go.
Now here’s a cool thing: We don’t need ProCon to happen in order to make these panels happen. We can start pitching them immediately, especially at cons that already do some professional development.
Another place to look is to the Romance writing community. The RWA conference, I’m told, does quite a lot of the above, but for Romance writers. The Romance genre is the largest genre fiction category, and so there are definitely things SF/F could learn on this and other topics.
The ideal, for me, would be to have ProCon in addition to other conventions that touch on similar topics. ProCon could exist alongside the Nebulas Weekend, Superstars Writers Seminar, private masterminds, and so on. The thing I’d want from ProCon is a well-vetted staff/panelist core, and focused programming with engaged, skilled moderators. Oh, and a really well-run bar. Or three.
The thing is, I don’t have the conrunning background/experience to make this happen myself, nor do I have the time right now (you should see my to-do list – *shudder*). But what I do have is this platform, and connections sufficient to assemble this list. If you’re interested in developing such a con, let me know in the comments. And if you’re a conrunner looking to beef up your professional development programming, look up the people who suggested the panels above and consider inviting them to your con and/or soliciting panel ideas from them.
I have been informed that far more of this happens at the Nebula Awards weekend than I was aware of. Check out the programming schedule and the additional seminars from 2015. So, basically, I need to set aside the time and $ to get to the Nebula Weekend in 2016. But don’t let me stop you from suggesting additional topics!