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  • Leah Neumann

I survived my first writer’s conference!

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

This past weekend I attended the Realm Makers Conference for Christian authors of speculative fiction in St. Louis. If you are new to the term speculative fiction it encompasses genres such as science fiction, fantasy, superhero, dystopian, steampunk, supernatural, and horror. Basically, any genre that deals with things outside of the world as we know it.

As you can imagine being at a conference with a whole tribe of authors of speculative fiction was interesting. There were many geeky t-shirts and colored hair and even a night reminiscent of comic-con, which I sadly skipped due to my chronically ill body needing a break and also due to not having finished my Stargate Sg-1 cosplay in time. Sigh… Next year!! I really wanted to go as Master Chief (Halo) but my husband didn’t want me tying up his 3D printer for a few months. Besides, I would have been one extremely short Master Chief.

Still, I had fun. I got to showcase my own geeky t-shirts, meet fellow speculative authors, and learn scores of information about writing that I was totally clueless about. Plus, I was able to see my book in an actual bookstore setting for the first time.

Escape From Moria book on table of random books

Another awesome part of the conference was being able to pitch my book to an agent and a publisher. Waiting for my turn to pitch was more nerve-wracking than the actual pitch session. There was a crowd of people waiting for their turns and the nervousness in the room was palpable. I took a walk to a semi-private area to settle my nerves with prayer and some Bible reading. Upon opening up the Bible app on my phone the verse of the day popped across the screen. It felt like it was meant for me…and for everyone else waiting to pitch! It was:

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Upon reading those words, all of my anxiety went away as I was reminded that God is still in control. My pitches went well…I didn’t throw up, freeze up, or shake uncontrollably, so I feel it was a win!

The conference was a nice break from the daily grind, and I didn’t want it to end…but alas, real life intruded in the form of our car breaking down in the hotel parking lot. Since we are fairly local, we were able to call a friend to come and get us and left our car for the tow truck. Luckily, we have another vehicle, so I was able to continue with the conference until it ended on Saturday.

All in all, attending the writer’s conference was a great experience. If I was to offer advice to a first-timer such as myself, I would recommend bringing a friend or planning ahead of time to meet up with someone at the conference. Since I was alone, it took me a bit to get my bearings but once I started meeting people it definitely got easier. I am already looking forward to next year and have the days for Realm Makers 2020 circled on my calendar.

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