Five Professional Development Conferences and Conventions that You Should Put on Your Calendar!

Hey there sci-fi & fantasy lovers! Do you need to build up your technical and professional know-how to make your novel a success? Here’s a list of conferences that you definitely want to attend to build your skills in sci-fi & fantasy writing and independent publishing, and to expand your knowledge of the sci-fi world via networking! Check them out!

Association for Writers and Writing Programs (Location Varies, March)

This conference is amazing for any and every writing resource you can think of! Want to explore how blogging, author platforms, and social networking can help you as an indie publisher? This is the place. If you want tips from established authors on how to build worlds, languages, in-depth characters, and some amazing dialogue? This is the place. Seminars on short story writing, novel writing, screenwriting, filmmaking, selling your work to publishers, and independently publishing can all be found at this conference. There are so many awesome seminars that you’ll barely have time for them all! There were far too many events to choose from last time, and since, I’ve been and am super amped to attend the next one!

This year AWP is having their conference in Boston, MA, so keep tabs on their programming schedule, registration, and hotel reservation info at:

Book Expo of America (New York City, June)

One of the biggest book trade shows in the country, the Book Expo of America brings together agents, publishers, authors, licensors, news outlets, and more! The best part about the Book Expo though (in my opinion) is the BEA Education program, where you can get professional advice and training in multiple areas that apply to achieving success in your novel endeavors! Some events include: digital rights management and publishing (aka LICENSING), introductions to new opening book markets, how to navigate SEO (search engine optimization) for marketing, how to reach your reader market, and much more! Oooh! And there is also a yearly Global Market Forum so that you can tap into international markets! For the past three years, the global market forum as addressed publishing in the Middle East, Spain, and Italy, and this year will feature Russia. Excited yet? I will be at the Book Expo America in all my afro puff glory so register and check it out today!

Register here:

International Licensing Expo (June)

If you’ve listened to my podcast on Mixed Media Methodology, you will have learned a little bit about licensing, what it means, and what it can do for you as a science fiction and fantasy author. If you want to learn even more, check out the LIMA’s (International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association) Licensing University at the International Licensing Expo. The University has a bunch of wonderful classes all focused on licensing law, licensing basics, international licensing, brand building, social media, and more! These are amazing resources, especially for sci-fi writers who have some pretty cool properties to rent out! It’s expensive though, so put on this your calendar when you have shown success in your book sales and when you’re ready to dive into the world of licensing! But if you DON’T have anything to show or sell, go to meet people in the industry, including people from DreamWorks, Marvel, DC, and more!

Check it out:

San Diego Comic Convention International (California, July / August)

Arguably, the biggest comic convention in the world, the San Diego Comic Con is a must-go for any of you who love writing sci-fi comics, screenplays, and films! Not only are there tons of artists and independent publishers in sci-fi & fantasy media with whom you can network, but there are also some absolutely fantastic seminars to attend. From portfolio reviews, filmmaking, writing scripts and comics, putting together graphic novels, pitching your screenplays, to producing audio books, ANYTHING you want to know sci-fi & fantasy-wise you can find here!

To be honest, their registration process has become a little crazy, but try your hand at it for 2013! I will! You need to create a New Member ID and wait for them to contact you. Check it out:

New York Comic Convention (October)

Much like San Diego Comic Con, and the second largest comic convention out there, NYCC is the place to be especially as a new sci-fi & fantasy writer! NYCC has also recently combined their convention with the yearly Anime Festival, bringing in the hottest manga, animation, and cosplay events and news! Get an exhibitor’s booth for your press or your work, or attend panels on breaking into the comic industry, blogging and social networking, publishing graphic novels, and much more! Also, get all the new buzz on upcoming sci-fi & fantasy releases!

Check it all out here for NYCC 2012:

These conventions and conferences are to build your skills across different media for writing and publishing your own work. If you’re looking for sci-fi & fantasy conferences that are more political or academic, however, stay tuned! And in the meantime, keep it indie!