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Re: [mythsoc] Mythcon publicity

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  • David Bratman
    ... We run very carefully targeted publicity. At Baycon, a 1500-person science fiction convention last weekend, held not thirty miles from this year s Mythcon
    Message 1 of 46 , Jun 1, 2007
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      At 10:23 AM 6/1/2007 -0400, Wendell Wagner wrote:

      >The conference
      >committees should be spending more time and money for publicity.

      We run very carefully targeted publicity. At Baycon, a 1500-person science
      fiction convention last weekend, held not thirty miles from this year's
      Mythcon site, I spoke on a panel whose subject was the new Tolkien book,
      _The Children of Hurin_. Not more than 5 people in the audience of some 30
      had actually read the book yet, so they were there out of genuine curiosity
      and we had a good discussion. At the end I handed out Mythcon flyers to
      many eager takers, and most of them were in their 20s or 30s.

      Meanwhile, David Lenander was at Wiscon in Madison, and gave out Mythcon
      flyers at the Q&A/reading session of our co-Guest of Honor, Ellen Kushner.

      We also get publicity online. Writers from TORN and other websites have
      been to Mythcons and have written them up favorably there.

      We'll see what happens. Good publicity work is actually a talent, one not
      often found among bookish introverts. We try, but Mythcons have always
      been curiously recalcitrant to publicity. I thought the opportunity to
      meet the never-seen Christopher Tolkien at Milwaukee in 1987 would pack
      them in. It was a larger than usual Mythcon, but not that much larger.
      The following year our GoH was Ursula K. Le Guin, a hugely popular author
      who rarely attends conventions. A few months beforehand she gave a lecture
      - and it wasn't free, either - just a few miles from the Mythcon site.
      Another committee member and I handed out a couple hundred Mythcon flyers
      to almost everyone who attended that lecture. How many Mythcon attendees
      did we get from that? Two.

      And that was 20 years ago, long before we were all greybeards in our fifties.

      >We need to recruit newer and younger members.

      I hope that's not an implication that we should pitch ourselves to What
      Young People Want, which is usually code for stuff about movies, gaming,
      etc. Fantasy gaming was already around thirty years ago, and movies before
      that, and complaints that Young People (whom the Society was then
      attracting in bulk) "don't read any more" were as loud then as now, and yet
      the Society has always been a literary group. All we need to reach your
      goal are 150 young people who read good fantasy books, and surely there are
      that many out there.

      I think the explanation is that online communication is satisfying many
      people's need for personal contact with other readers, and they don't feel
      like putting forth the extra money and effort to meet in groups in person,
      not realizing that this is even more fun. During my first eight years as a
      Tolkien reader, I could find almost nobody who'd ever read him, and
      absolutely nobody who was interested in discussing him. When I found
      Mythcon, it was like an oasis in the desert. Today I could just get online.
    • Cole C Matson
      My thanks to everyone for their welcoming replies. I m consolidating my responses into one post so as not to clog up your mailboxes. Wendell: I m not sure my
      Message 46 of 46 , Jun 11, 2007
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        My thanks to everyone for their welcoming replies. I'm consolidating my responses into one post so as not to clog up your mailboxes. Wendell: I'm not sure my class paper would be of high enough quality to stand alongside other Mythcon presenters, but I'll take a look at it and see if I can get it up to snuff for submission. Thank you very much for the Knossos schedule. Emerdavid: Of course pun intended. Re: the MySpace page: The reason I didn't volunteer to create one was because of exactly the reasons David Bratman mentioned. I've only been a member a few months; if a page were to be created, it should be created by someone in an official capacity. And I wholeheartedly agree with David when he said, "We don't have to reinvent the Society to some low media denominator." If that happened for the sake of attracting members, much of the value of the Society would be lost. The trick is not to change it so that more people want to join, but to let more people know about it so that those people (like me) who would say, "Wow, such a thing EXISTS!?" will find what they've already been searching for. (Btw, I found out about the Soc. through Google - I was searching either for Lord of the Rings sites, or for sites about the Inklings, if I remember correctly.) Ellen: I am also on LiveJournal. I know there are several Tolkien/Lewis communities, some of which actually have good discussion. (On the "tolkien" community, someone just tried to post their "fanpics" of male LOTR characters engaging in romantic relationships with each other, and links to their club for the encouragement of the same. Several other members of the community gently but firmly suggested that, while that person had the right to post whatever he/she wanted, those drawings might not be quite appropriate for a community of people who were serious about discussing, among other topics, the moral and spiritual themes of the Middle-Earth Legendarium - oh, and they also weren't very respectful of the author's own beliefs. [Kind of like the LOTR tarot deck I saw sold at the Renn Faire where I work. The owner didn't care. It made me sad.] I was surprised to find on LJ something more than just rabid movie fans.) Lynn: Thank you for the tip about the "Starving Scholars" fund! Don't worry, I will be sticking around, and will try to make it to the next Mythcon (or Knossos meeting) I can. Cole


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