Thursday, July 5, 2018
LibertyCon is outdoing - and outgrowing - itself
As you know, Miss D. and I just returned from LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN last weekend. We're tired, but getting over it, and picking up the threads of normal life once again. (Miss D.'s after-action report is here. We came home with a couple of lovely paintings by Melissa Gay from the Con's art exhibition. My wife picked out this one for the lounge, and I bought this one to go over our fireplace.)
It was a great weekend. We enjoyed the company of old friends, made some new ones, gave seminars, took in others, learned a lot, and hopefully helped others learn. The highlight of my weekend was meeting a couple who told me they'd attended our seminar on the state of the self-publishing market, three years ago, and that I'd encouraged them to step out and try it for themselves. They did - and they've now sold 17,000 books, and are steadily doing better and better. That made my day! There's room in the market for anyone and everyone with the gumption to try, and a modicum of talent, and who's willing to work hard to succeed.
(Fellow author Jon del Arroz also seems to have enjoyed LibertyCon. He calls it "the undisputed best convention in the world". You can read his report here. It was good to see him again there. He'll be coming out with some more books in a short while - keep your eyes peeled for them.)
However, LibertyCon's popularity has become so great that it's a problem in itself. You see, the Con is run by a 501(c)(3) organization, with all profits going to charity. Its constitution limits attendance to a maximum of 750 people. When tickets for next year's convention went on sale yesterday, they sold out in six hours!
I know a number of people who weren't able to secure their tickets in time, and who are very disappointed and upset. There's a waiting list, and I'm sure some places will open up, but it's unsettling to find that level of competition for a limited number of places. (Yes, Miss D. and I bought our tickets in time!)
I don't know what the answer might be. One suggestion is that fans consider starting "sister conventions" in other cities, so that the LibertyCon ethos and spirit can be carried further afield. That's an interesting thought, but it'd be a huge amount of work - and we'd have to form an organizing committee from scratch. We'd need a lot of volunteers, willing to put in the endless (and often thankless) hours of work needed to make something like LibertyCon a success.
What do you think? Would readers be interested in, say, a Panhandle LibertyCon, based in Amarillo? That'd be within driving distance for many readers. Other regional possibilities are Colorado or Kansas. We'd have to schedule it so as not to conflict with other major events, of course, but it's a thought. If any of those is of interest to you, please let us know in Comments, and we'll toss the idea around for a while.