Austin Camacho tell you what’s really involved!
How far in advance is a conference planned?
The day after a conference ends we hold the first meeting to start planning the next one. There are a lot of moving parts and successful authors plan their calendars pretty far out. We need the details pinned down early if we're going to attract great talent.
For readers, the value of a conference is based on three things: will the writers I want to see be there? How much access will I have to those writers? And what is included? For example, at our Creatures, Crimes and Creativity Con all meals during the event are included in the registration price.
Writers should assess the value of a con based on three other criteria.
1. Networking – will I meet the movers and shakers in MY genre, am I looking for an agent, will I have access to major successes in the business?
2. Promotion- will I get exposure to new readers by being on panels, will I participate in book signings, will I be positioned to be associated with big name writers, will I get a story in an anthology, will I be listed on the con’s web site, in the program, on their Facebook page?
3. The Experience – Will I be talking to fans, being interviewed for radio or on camera, have a chance to pitch or buzz my book?
What are some of the key aspects to consider when planning a major conference? What are some things people might not think about?
What’s key to attracting big name authors/publishers/agents to a conference?
It’s best to meet them and know their work BEFORE asking them to attend. That most often happens at other Cons. It’s important to contact them several months before the event to get on their busy calendars. And it is vital to explain why attendance is good for THEM, not you.
What social media platforms work best for marketing a convention?
Facebook has been key for us, but Twitter is also important. We hold a Twitter contest every year. The attendee who uses our hashtag most in the month before the event wins a Kindle Fire and a gift basket of surprise goodies.
What can go wrong and how do you work around problems?
Our most challenging issue so far was a keynote speaker getting sick and being unable to attend. Luckily we had a list of people we wanted the following year and after contacting several we were able to get someone to fill in.
I know other Cons have crashed and burned because of unexpected bad weather. Not much you can do about that.
Tell us a little bit about Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity Con and what is your key role?
Facebook And you can register at Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity.
As one of the organizers my primary responsibility is to recruit keynote speakers and local guests. I also see to their care and feeding thru the Con. Thank goodness we have a small but motivated committee to deal with the hundreds of other details (registration, on site bookstore, panels, dealing with the venue, menus, scheduling, etc.)
Camacho is also editorial director for Intrigue Publishing, a Maryland small press, and works with their authors to improve their manuscripts. And Camacho is deeply involved with the writing community. He is a past president of the Maryland Writers Association, past Vice President of the Virginia Writers Club, and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.
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