Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cons and their differences

This blog post is coming to you from Perth, Australia's most western city.

I'm at another convention - this time the Australian National Science Fiction Convention. These are the conventions that I've been attending and loving for the past seven years - a time with friends, meeting like-minded folks and have a great time.

Two weeks ago, I was at a very different convention - RT in LA. While there's a huge difference in size, the set up of the conventions isn't that different - panels and workshops during the day, social events at night, fun for all.

But there is one MAJOR difference between romance and sci fi cons - author-provided swag.

At sci fi cons, there's no overt author promotion. No posters up of upcoming books. No bookmarks or fabulous little bits and bobs to give away. You see authors on panels, you see them in the bar but they don't market the way romance authors do at romance cons. I was at a con once where one of the publishers, celebrating a milestone, did have up a display of author photographs - every one of them was graffiteed.

The first time I walked into a romance con and saw the piles of pens and postcards and paraphernalia, I was stunned - it was so beyond my experience. But the readers seem to love it. And then I go into romance specialty bookstores and I see it there as well.

This is one of the elements of the romance community that I particularly love - the pride, the preparedness to stick the chest out and say 'here we are, aren't we fabulous?'

So what do you think, friends? Do you like the author-produced swag? Let me know.


Barbara E. said...

Yes, I love the bookmarks, the pens, the notepads, the coverflats, etc. It's fun to collect them, and some of them can be autographed when meeting an author if you can't buy the book, or already have it.

Helen Lowe said...

I wonder if the difference doesn't stem from the origins of the two, ie that Romance conventions are more about celebrating Romance in all its aspects while the SFF cons are fundamentally about fandom?

Nikki Logan said...

It's a trade off. Romance cons don't get to say 'check all weapons at the door' the way SciFi/Fant ones do :)

I'll be at NATCON50 tomorrow. See you there!

tamara kravtsova said...

Well I don't know why I love all the paraphernalia I just find it fascinating. And the swager I think comes from the fact that everyone there is celebrating Romance so they, and I as well am guilty of this, think that they should go all out and be someone new.

SandyG265 said...

I like the bookmarks since I can always use them. I'm not really into postcards or cover flats.

Sheree said...

Although I'm a long time scifi fan, scifi just doesn't provide the eye candy that romance does (I'm staring at various postcards of book covers with my favorite cover models right now) even though the same models are on the covers of both genres. So, yes, I love swag.

Actually, I recently bought an old Philip Jose Farmer book on which the hero and heroine are more undressed than any couple on romance novels that I have seen.

Sharon S. said...

I love the cover flats and postcards. Since most of my books are now e-books I don't get those beautiful (smexy) covers. This way I can share the covers with friends while telling them about the book. Cause sometimes cover matters ;) especially when it has man titty on it!

I am going to my first Con in June! Unfortunately is isn't a romance one :( (It is about 1 1/2 hours away in Charlotte, NC) Called Con Carolina

ConCarolinas is a general multi-genre multi-media convention

how fun will this be? and I should be able to get a press pass (through and do some interviews!
Should I dress up?

Jessica said...

OMG of course I love author swag! I usually have wayyy too much but it's hard not to over-collect! I keep reorganizing my collection trying to have it ready to show off when I have visitors in my room, not that they care! But I love it!!

I really like all the unique pieces authors can create that relates to their book or series. Even the simple bookmarks, pens, stickers, buttons, etc are still fun!!

thatonegirlyouknew said...

I love it!! Collecting the bookmarks and pens and whathaveyou is so much fun!

Doe Doe said...

Last year I went to Comicon in NYC just so I could meet Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jim Butcher & Diana Love & get the bookmarks, pens, pads, & pictures. I have all of those and the ones I send away for hanging up on my desk at work to give me some kind of joy at my work.