You may already realize (because we here at Spec Faith mention it with some frequency) that the premiere (only?) conference for Christians writing speculative fiction is the Realm Makers Conference, to be held this year in ten days. Yes, ten! Count them. Ten. The gathering, which has been in various places since its inception six years ago—in Pennsylvania and as far west as Nevada—will take place in Saint Louis, MO, from July 18 through July 20.
What the RM Conference offers
The RM Conference 2019 keynote speaker is Brent Weeks, whose claim to fame comes from having one of his books on the New York Times best selling list back in 2012. His first books were The Night Angel Trilogy and the series that is (apparently) just wrapping up is The Lightbringer Series, consisting of five books and wrapping up with The Burning White, due out in October. According to the Conference schedule, his keynote address will be on Thursday at 4:15 and he will take part at other times as well.
In addition, this year RM is featuring a special guest: Terry Brooks, author of the well-known The Sword of Shannara series.
The course offerings at this RM Conference seem more than the previous conferences. On staff are some well-known Christian speculative writers: Patrick Carr (published by Bethany), Morgan Busse (published by Enclave and now Bethany), Brian Davis (published by AMG and now independently published), Wayne Batson (published by Thomas Nelson, AMG, now independently published), and others.
Topics at the Conference range from marketing to editing, world-building, self-publishing, agenting, screenwriting, and more. It sounds like a broad range of subjects, so writers at various levels of experience can find something helpful.
Of course, the classes are only part of the whole RM Conference experience. One of the very helpful options is for conferees to receive a paid critique or to meet for a “specialty appointment” or with a mentor. The website describes each of these:
Looking for someone to look over the first few pages of your manuscript and give you some feedback? Try a PAID CRITIQUE!
Need some information on taxes, social media, marketing, etc? Try a SPECIALTY APPOINTMENT!
Have some general questions about the publishing world, but don’t know who to ask? Try a MENTOR APPOINTMENT!
A host of authors and agents will be available for these services. To see the list, visit this page.
And still there is more. Besides optional meals with faculty, the Awards Dinner will be held Friday night. Not only are the winners of various contests announced but conferees may dress in costume.
And still more. There are agent and editor panels, a book festival Saturday night, a closing address from Mt. Weeks, special Q & A sessions with the special guest, and pre- and post-conference workshops.
Why does anyone need this information
I mention all this, not to encourage anyone to attend. I think it’s too late for that. If I read the info correctly, “walk-ins” were only able to register until June 30. Rather, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) look for blog posts and pictures on social media about the Conference; 2) plan now to attend next year’s event. I don’t know how they will top this one, but I have the feeling that’s exactly what they will try to do. At any rate, attending puts people of like mind together and provides encouragement, if nothing else. But looking at all that’s offered this year, I think there is a whole lot more available than encouragement.
Still, that element shouldn’t be overlooked. Writers can be isolated. Family and friends may not know or understand the worlds we live in, and speculative writers, more so.
The dates and place for the 2020 RM Conference haven’t been announced yet, but I’m guessing it will be made public at this year’s event. Likely, the announcement will be shared in those social media venues that carry Conference news, so keep a look out for the info and start planning today.