One of the tricky bits of turning pro in science fiction is figuring out how to deal with conventions. It's a good idea for an author to go to cons to meet readers, editors, agents, and perhaps most important of all, other authors. "Networking," right?
In fact, it can be a good idea to go to some even if you don't have any plans to turn pro whatsoever – conventions offer a fantastic opportunity to meet people who are into the same kinds of things as you, to connect with old friends, maybe even meet some personal heroes and discover new things to love.
Fortunately, there are a lot of SF/F conventions. A lot. There are so many that it can be hard to figure out an overall con schedule that fits into your calendar, budget, and overall needs and preferences.
Aside from a handful of whopping commercial events like PAX or San Diego Comic-Con, these events don't tend to get a lot of widespread advance buzz. Often I don't hear about a convention until I see people traveling to them on social media, at which point arranging to go myself is too late. And in the case of smaller regional cons, very often there is minimal or even no advertising. It's all word of mouth, and so information is limited to only the people who know someone who knows the con.
Which means fans, pros, and cons are all missing out on opportunities to connect. And some fans who might love to go to a con never find out about the event in their own back yard. You can't decide to go to a con you've never heard of!
So I got to wishing there was some sort of central resource to look at allllll the cons and decide which ones to think about attending. And then I thought about that super helpful philosophy where if you wish a resource existed, then probably you should just make it?
And so I made a thing. Welcome to ConFinder!
ConFinder is two things. One: a publicly viewable Google Spreadsheet with space for key information on conventions (dates, city, price, various policies). Two: a Google Form so anyone can enter information on the conventions they run or attend. Both of them are embedded below the post here.
I've seeded a very little bit of information, but I need your help. See, I don't actually have a lot of the information that belongs in this sheet. I'm hoping that if even a couple dozen kinds souls pop in information on one or two conventions, then before long this is going to be a spectacular resource for everyone.
I'm still open to making a few changes to the information listed here if it seems important, but I don't want to replace the role of a con website – just include enough key data to enable someone to know which cons to look into more carefully.
Going forward, I will need to do some ongoing administration with the list. For one thing, new entries will need a modest amount of formatting . I also plan to remove cons that have already happened to another sheet. And humanity being fallible, I'm sure I'll have a steady business in correcting entries as the information changes, removing spam or irrelevant entries, and so on.
But I've made a start! And now kicking the ball another few yards is up to you. So how about it? Got a minute to tell me about your favorite cons?