Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: networking effectively

The DemiCon 30 header identifies the Convention's name, theme (It's about time), and dates (May 3-5, 2019). The background is a wavy cityscape with a large clock superimposed on the upper right.

Why I go to science fiction conventions

I still owe you a DemiCon 30 report, but this week it’s time to get ready for ConQuesT 50. In a couple more weeks, it’ll be time for SoonerCon 28. Maybe I’ll eventually catch up with myself, but one never knows.

There are a great many Indie authors who don’t understand why anyone would go to that many science fiction conventions, much less three additional ones (SpikeCon, FenCon, and Archon), over the course of the next few months. “I always lose money,” they say, or words to that effect.

I have a working hypothesis that, in the parlance of marketing, they are seriously discounting the value of brand-building, and focusing too much on lead-generation, but never mind. I guess this summer will be a “living laboratory” to test my own hypotheses about book-marketing.

Here's a photo of Jan S. Gephardt standing next to her fantasy paper sculpture Art Show display at DemiCon 30. Photo by Lucy A. Synk.
Here’s me with my DemiCon 30 Art Show display of fantasy paper sculpture.
Photo by Lucy A. Synk.

Thing is, long before I had this book to sell, I went to sf conventions. I sold art. I even ran an art show (at ConQuesT) for three years. I have yet to sell enough artwork to break even on expenses. On the other hand, I met lots of other authors, artists, editors, and individuals in science-fiction-adjacent fields, such as astronomy and rocketry.

I met all three of the literary agents who’ve represented me, at sf conventions. I met and had good conversations or other interactions (minds out of the gutter, people!) with artists, writers, editors, and more. With people whose names you’d know, if you are interested in my genres. Not to mention finding nearly all of my closest friends there.

I remain an active member of both KaCSFFS, the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, Inc., and ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, Inc. Eventually, I’ll probably join SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Why? Because I value their input, their wisdom-of-the-group, and their network. Most of all, my friendships within them.

I just have to admit it. They’re my peeps, and I love them. They know a lot, too. A lot of things, a lot of people, and a lot of fun stuff. They’re lovely human beings (even when they’re kinda “out there”), and over the years they’ve taught me amazing things. They’ve introduced me to wonderful new people, books, media, and ideas. My life would be much less wonderful without them.

My question to the doubters is, “Why on earth wouldn’t I go to science fiction conventions?

IMAGE CREDITS: I’d like to thank all the conventions whose headers I used: Capricon 39, DemiCon, ConQuesT, SoonerCon, SpikeCon, FenCon, and Archon. I appreciate you! Nearly all of the rest of these photos were taken by me at DemiCon 30, with the express permission of their subjects. I deeply appreciate them! The sole exception is the photo of me, standing by my DemiCon 30 Art Show display. That one was taken by Lucy A. Synk, and is used with her permission. Thanks, Lucy!

Fostering greatness

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

This is one of those quotes that some people will read and then scoff at. It’s the kind of “touchy-feely” hard-to-measure kind of focus that for some practical-minded folk will smack of nitwitted impracticality.

Sorry, but I disagree.

I’ve seen students driven by seemingly endless demands to achieve. Many are quite brilliant, but even more are quite desperate. Trust me, if your kid is bright and taught well, she or he will indeed shine. If properly nurtured, he or she will perform brilliantly.

But, as noted in last week’s quote, not everyone is built the same way. Not everyone has exactly the same sort of genius. If you’re ruthlessly driven in one specific direction, but your greatest gifts lie in other areas, then you are a walking tragedy, no matter how many “A” grades you score.

Certainly academic success is one road to a certain type of achievement. Certainly scholastic skill opens doors that don’t open to everyone.

But so does kindness and caring. So does cooperation. So does optimism and the ability to encourage others.

In a business setting, these competencies are essential to networking effectively. They’re essential to team building, and seeking continual improvement (your team can’t ultimately succeed, if individual members are continually tearing each other down).

And in the grand scheme of life, who’s the more successful and happy person, the one who ruthlessly scrambled to sit, alone and hated, at the top of whatever particular heap they chose to ascend, or the one who mentored others, cooperated well, and built lasting accomplishments through cooperation?

IMAGE: Many thanks to The Learning Station on Facebook, via First Grade Fun Times teachers group on Facebook, for this unattributed quote from an unattributed graphic designer I couldn’t track down.

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