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VIRTUAL CONS—THE CONS OF THE FUTURE?

May 13th, 2010 2,275 comments

You don’t have to buy a ticket.

You don’t have to pack your bags.

You don’t have to drive a car or buy a plane ticket.

You don’t have to reserve a room in a fancy hotel, arrange for meals, or deal with packed and smelly crowds of people.

In fact, you don’t even have to brush your teeth, comb your hair, or make sure that everything is zipped, buttoned down, and neatly in place.

Why don’t you have to do any of these things?  Because you’re going to a Virtual Con, which just may be the wave of the future.

Let me tell you about one Virtual Con.  It’s called Coyote Con, and it’s hosted by Drollerie Press, one of my publishers.  Coyote Con is located at http://coyotecon.com.  It’s a 31 day digital author conference which takes place on weekends throughout the month of May, and its topics are all geared toward authors and readers.  If you’re a Guest and just want to attend General sessions, all you have to do is register and choose your sessions.  If you want to attend a Special Session (for which space is more limited), you’ll need to obtain a ticket.  Either way, you just go to the appropriate chat room and participate in the activity.  All these sessions involve Guests, Featured Speakers, and Moderators.  The Moderators determine the order of questions that Guests ask Speakers at the ends of sessions.

To  quote Coyote Con’s website: “Our guests are authors, editors, publishers and other industry professionals who love to talk about, and be involved in, the making of books: cross-genre, historical, romance, horror, fantasy, and science fiction, and all the related media they generate.”  The site adds, “If there is a place where discussions of humanity, inclusion, exclusion, diversity, ability, disability, othering, religion, irreligion, patriarchy, sexuality, colonialism and post-colonial ideas also belong, it is with us.  We should always be able to see what’s possible.”  

When you go to Coyote Con’s site, check out the menu on the right.  Want to know how the Conference works?  Click on “How To Guides” and “FAQ” and all your questions will be answered.  Want to know the schedule?  Select “Schedule by Date” and “Schedule by Topic.”  For a weekly summary, click on “This Week’s Events.”  Want to see what books are for sale?  As for any con, go to the “Dealer Room.”  Interested in pitching a novel or book to an editor or publisher?  Click on “Pitch Sessions” and see what the schedule is. 

If you decide to register for the con, just use the form to the bottom right.  A password will be emailed to you.  Oh, and don’t forget to click on “Introduce Yourself” so fellow attendees will know something about you.  There’s more in the site’s menu, but I don’t want to give everything away.

In the end, what makes Coyote Con work for me are the sessions.  Man, the chat rooms are jumpin’, and there should be enough variety for everybody.  Coyote Con’s got everything from “Mythic Fiction” and “Envelope Pushing Concepts”  to “Brainstorming the Future of the Novel” and “Transformative Sex.”  There’s “Rayguns! Writing Steampunk,” “Accurate Historical Research,” “Cheap Thrills—Crime and Mystery Fiction,” and “Writing to Scare the Reader.”  Then there’s “Comics and Graphic Novels” and “‘Zine Evolution,” plus “Faery Creatures” and “Fairy Tales in Fiction.”   How can writers survive in the 21st Century?  Well, one Special Session deals with just that subject.  Want to write but need a motivational jump-start?  Perhaps “MayWriMo Writing Challenge” is your key to that bestseller sleeping inside you.  Are you sanguine or skeptical about E-Publishing?  If so, “The Perils and Pitfalls of E-Publishing” may answer your questions.

I could go on and on.  Coyote Con’s schedule features all these sessions and many more, some as spiky and controversial as you can get.  From taking part in several of them, both as a Guest and a Speaker, I can tell you that they are frequently exhilarating, mind-blowing, and revelatory.  And . . . you can do it all from the comfort of your own home, in your underwear if you wish.

This is truly a rapidly changing period in our history.  Technology and the Internet are transforming the way we live and think so quickly, it’s hard to keep up.  But if you are a writer or a reader, a magazine editor or a publisher, then keep up you must.  Newsweek is dead, one-hundred year-old newspapers are dying, Blockbuster and other video stores are an endangered species because of Netflix and online buying, and the traditional convention in brick and mortar or metal and glass buildings may also be on the evolutionary hit list.  Don’t you be too.

Folks, if you haven’t attended a virtual con yet, now may be the time.  Just click on the link above, start navigating, and you may find your life changed in unexpected ways, all of them for the better.