As you may know, I will be at Escape Velocity at the end of the month, principally to help celebrate the release of LG Ransom’s new book, Legend of Hollin. This week’s post is going to be a bit short because A) last week was Infinity War and one must have one’s priorities straight, B) work is crazy, and C) Escape Velocity is proving to be quite the new breed of show.
I’ve been doing cons for quite a while now and they all are a little bit different. Each con has its own unique characteristics, quirks, and what-have-you. But they do tend to fall into some predictable parameters. Anime cons, for example, have a whole host of traits in common that they don’t share with comic book conventions. Literary cons are almost an entirely different breed from video game conventions.
This goes for the type of guest that attends: how old, how educated…
You know what, I want to stop on that point for a second because I think it’s important. I’ve never been at a convention where I felt the majority of attendees were ‘uneducated’ or ‘lowly educated’ and I don’t mean to convey that. I mean to say ‘how educated’ as in ‘in the manner in which they are educated’. Literary conventions, for example, tend to attract a lot of post-college and post-masters educated types. Also lots of people who received their education in and around the military.
Anime conventions, you have a younger audience typically but the worldliness and broader education base might really surprise you. Joke all you want about ‘educated by Wikipedia’ but the amount of knowledge some of these “kids” have is truly astounding and inspiring.
So yeah, anyway. The attendees at different cons tend to skew in predictable patterns. What sells as well. Well small trinkets move, or will bigger ticket items. What cons are better for driving traffic to Amazon for a book sale or to one’s website. Whole careers can (and probably do) exist around just understanding what the market of a given convention will likely be.
There’s a performance side to this too. Conventions demand different work load for the panels. Anime convention? Lots of visual aids and a more rapid movement of topic. Comic book? Be ready for questions. Literary cons? The same, almost to a dialogue extreme.
Escape Velocity is a STEM convention. It’s meant to help bridge the gap between science fiction & fantasy, and real-world science (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). So as we prepare for the panels, what the audience will be expecting and looking for is a bit nebulous. Some of us are going into this quite uncertain, and those who have experience don’t have the decade or more of, say, an anime or sci-fi fan. It will be interesting to say the least.
No word yet (that I know of) on the schedule but once it’s up, I’ll post it. For now, keep your eyes peeled. And if you want to get caught up on LG Ransom’s work ahead of the release, I highly recommend it.