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Re: [ICG-D] RE: Lunacon

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  • Carole Parker
    Many conventions, as already noted, are facing attendance problems. Numbers seem to be going down. Part of it is economic and the other part is getting the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 5, 2013
      Many conventions, as already noted, are facing attendance problems. Numbers seem to be going down. Part of it is economic and the other part is getting the word out there. I have seen too many conventions use the same ol' means that worked ten plus years ago, and not necessarily incorporating techniques that go outside the usual demographic.

      Kevin Roche has proven, more than once, that you need to go outside the usual demographic for getting the word out. Not only do you need to go to new groups, but you also have to go where people are. This means getting the word out to the local college campuses. Not just the public schools but also any private schools that might have a subject degree (fashion design schools for costuming related conventions, engineering/science schools for conventions that have strong tracks in those topics).

      Plus, you have the old standby of press releases to local newspapers. I cannot tell you how many conventions do NOT do that. It seems pretty basic to me that you would want to cover all your local sources to help draw local people in. For the more literary conventions, see what you can do at your local library. Maybe have your author GOH(s) do a reading or signing at the local library or bookstore?

      Yet other conventions don't understand that magazines need any announcements early on. Typically at least three or six months ahead of schedule. Most of them have what they require in either the magazine or on their website. Publicity teams need to be aware of deadlines and allow for them.

      Plus, conventions need to seem like not stuffy places. Some conventions emphasize one or two items so much, that people think "well, they are not going to cover the stuff that I'm interested in, so I'll go do this other thing…"

      If you have someone who is currently popular, say like George R.R. Martin, you need to advertise that fact. It was noted by one individual (not me!) that Lonestarcon3 did not do this, and they did not advertise the fact that the throne was going to be available for people to sit in and get their photo taken while doing so. This same individual pointed out that many conventions seem to miss the obvious advertising items, and that the local population does not know it is there. Heck, not even all the members of Lonestarcon3 knew the throne was there!

      In short, publicity needs to be taken more seriously if any sf&f convention wants to survive. It's at the point where you need a publicity *team* rather than just one or two people to do the job these days.

      None of this requires a convention to become something that it is not. I will agree that proper budgeting will help a convention survive, but effective advertising will do more to help.

      Until later--


      On Sep 4, 2013, at 3:17 PM, Stephanie L Bannon <laetitia@...> wrote:

      > At 03:41 AM 9/4/2013, you wrote:
      >> I do wonder at the fate of these smaller cons. I think the guest
      >> list is an issue. Media cons do draw larger crowds, but I know in
      >> Baltimore Farpoint usually has pretty good guests, and that is a
      >> smaller con. I think good programming PLUS good guests is key.
      >> Especially for the youngsters, you must have a solid anime and
      >> gaming track. Not board games...video games. Incorporate that into
      >> your con, and you will get the younger crowd in. Also, late night
      >> dances. I may not be so young anymore, but I am young at heart.
      >>  I spend lots of time talking to the "youngsters" and
      >> that's what they want. There is a lot to be said about having a
      >> mellow conversation with a great writer, I'm down for that, but
      >> young kids aren't so interested in the literary tracks.
      >> just my 2 cents.
      >> Pavlina
      > The only problem with doing all the above is that then it becomes an
      > entirely different type of convention than the ones the organizers
      > and regulars want to attend. Destroying a con to save it rarely
      > works. Bigger is not automatically better. (and all those other
      > cliches)There is a niche for the 300-500 person literary event - the
      > trick is programming for the regulars and budgeting for a realistic
      > number of attendees. If the con averages 150/year then budget for
      > 200-225, not 500....
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