Here’s the thing for anyone who wants to be a published author: You basically have to go to a writer’s conference at some point.

Everything changed for me in 2011 when I made the decision to invest in the cost of traveling and attending conferences. Once I landed an agent and book contract, I didn’t return to another conference for a couple years, but man am I thrilled about the one I attended recently.

Realm Makers 2014 took place at Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In its second year, Realm Makers focuses on speculative fiction for the Christian market. If you want to know what that means check out this interview I did with agent and publisher Steve Laube as the conference was winding down.

Conferences always offer talks on the craft and business of writing, but Realm Makers was also straight up fun. They host a costume dinner ala Comic Con during which we were able to get our geek on.

My friends from Splickety Magazine play a big role at the conference and represented well.

_DSC0904

You’ll be hearing lots more from me in the future about this awesome group.

The tall vampire there is my friend Andrew Winch. He and I have been working on a novel together for the past few months. Unbeknownst to each other, we both arrived ready to rock the undead look.

RealmMakers2014 355

Photo credit: Scott Minor

One of the real highlights of our time was getting to know New York Times best-selling author Tosca Lee. In addition to being a brilliant author, her talks were fab.

Tosca and myself with steampunk star Lisa Walker England (Photo credit: Scott Minor)

Tosca and myself with steampunk star Lisa Walker England (Photo credit: Scott Minor)

I was all like, “Hey there, don’t be afraid.”

Photo credit: Scott Minor

Photo credit: Scott Minor

But had to be careful with preppers lingering about.

Photo credit: Scott Minor

Photo credit: Scott Minor

I also hoped to get to know agent and new owner of Enclave Publishing Steve Laube. We had a blast at the party and found common interests in history. Steve pointed out how funny it was to be in conversations all evening with people in full makeup who forgot what they looked like.

Photo credit: Scott Minor

Photo credit: Scott Minor

There are lots more great pictures on my Facebook wall, so head over there. If we’re not already connected on the Book of Faces, why not?! FRIEND ME HERE.

Like I said, anyone serious about breaking into publishing needs to do their homework and find a conference right for the kind of work they do. Agents and editors are people too, and you may be surprised at how approachable they become when you’ve committed to meeting them in person at a professional event.

And it might take more than one conference for the right chemistry to develop, but these folks are looking for what¬†they can sell. It’s a package deal too, so put forth your best effort and make a big impression.

But most of all, get to Realm Makers next year!

RealmMakersLogotype_IllustrativeColor