So this weekend I participated in my first ever digital con, WanaCon, offering two different presentations on horror. Friday night I talked about some of the things I've seen as an editor that have turned me off a story. Saturday night I talked about the many different types of horror plots. This was all done over the 'Net in chat room, webinar format.
I had a really great time. By no means can a digital Con ever replace seeing my friends in RT - like I will during AnthoCon in a few months, and hopefully next summer at Horrorfind - but a digital Con does provide its own kind of fun. For example, several folks signing in and out of last night's webinar as Frederick Kruger, Jason, M. Myers, Pinhead, Cujo, Candyman, and I think even Christine.
Of course, what they weren't counting on was the fact that I teach Senior English. People messing with me is a daily fact of life.
Regardless, I had a lot of run rambling about horror and literature and what makes - IMHO - good fiction, and I hope others got something out of the experience.
A digital Con, of course, offers its distinct advantages. I didn't have to leave the family behind for the weekend (although I did need to hide down in my office for about two hours Friday and Saturday night), there's no exhausting travel, no travel or hotel expenses.
I'll hardly abandon my RT Cons for digital Cons, but I can see how digital Cons will allow me to "get out" more without actually leaving, which, considering the current financial crunch, is pretty crucial. Tales to Terrify has asked me if I'd like to participate in a digital Con, and I'll be teaching some digital classes for Wana in the near future.
Probably the most important aspect of WanaCon this weekend was the reinforcement that so many horror fans exist outside the horror con/horror association circuit, and how staying within that little network can potentially cut a writer off from readers. Several folks - horror fans - said they'd never heard of me before WanaCon and my blog series for Kristen Lamb, (and why should anyone have heard of me?), and that was awesome to hear because it meant I was breaking new ground, encountering new people.
Will they become fans? Buy my books? Who knows? But the point is I remembered how important it is for genre writers to step out and get involved in mainstream writing conventions. There are plenty of folks who love horror who are never going to attend Horror Cons, don't read horror blogs, and don't belong to the Horror Writers Association. I want lots of people to know me and to read my stuff, and though I can't control the latter, I CAN control the former.
So I'll definitely be joining WanaCon Spring Edition, will be joining the Tales to Terrify digital con and teaching some webinars here and there. Anything I can (that doesn't distract from writing) to break out of the somewhat closed circle of "the horror market" and get myself to general readers.
I'll never be Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but how many times have you heard the phrase, "I don't really like horror, but I love Dean Koontz and Stephen King." Like those two writers or not, folks say that because both of them have been able to transcend their genre and attract readers of all kinds, and somehow, someway, that's what I want to do: stay true to my voice, but try to connect with all kinds of readers.
I mean, why write, if no one's gonna read....