WorldCon 74 / MidAmeriConII just concluded in Kansas City on August 21st, and I had the pleasure of exhibiting with The Black Bead Chronicles. It was my first time attending a WorldCon, which is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society, and was first held in 1939. I thought this would be the perfect audience for this particular series of books, so we went big in our exhibit with cosplay from the books (my daughter and son dressed as Cheobawn and Connor), a large screen looping the book trailer, and some great show specials.
Even though this was a bit of a tough audience to crack, I felt I made some great connections with new readers. One gentleman bought the whole series and stayed up all night to read the first two, excited to return to our booth the next day to discuss points of the stories. I’d characterize the attendee members (because you have to purchase a yearly membership to attend) as passionate about science fiction, educated, older, and perhaps set in their ways in regards to which authors they want to read.
I spoke with a few other independent authors exhibiting as well – watch the video above to hear them talk about their books and their experiences at the show: Timothy C. Ward, author of the Sand Diver and Godsknife books; Johnny Duncan, author of The Guardian series, and Ivery Kirk and Luna Teague, authors of Time Bangers.
Conclusion: In terms of books sold and new readers reached, I think this is a worthwhile Con to attend for a sci-fi author as long as the stories are for adults and not YA. The audience is older and highly educated, so I suspect that stories leaning toward traditional or hard sci-fi might be well-received. Steampunk cosplay was the trend, so any steampunk authors may find the perfect audience as well at WorldCon. Although no indie or self-published authors received the prestigious Hugo award this year, many attendee members were open to discovering new authors.
Special Recognition: to the amazing artist that exhibited next to us, Asher of ReTech (sculptures featured in the video). He describes his work at “functional fine art from discarded machines.” The best neighbor you could ask for, and so talented. Check out his work here.