Realm Makers 2019 was the best five days of my life. I don’t say this lightly. I waited three years to go to this writing conference and God’s timing was absolutely perfect. In short, I met old writer friends, I met new writer friends, learned intense writing lessons, and stayed humble by getting lost in a hotel a few times.
This post will be the long version of the trip, however, full of details and excitement and photos and maybe even some tears. This won’t be the only RM post I do, though. I’ll also be posting: “Why I Chose Indie Publishing” and “Tips For Realm Makers Newbies (From a Newbie)”. Be on the look out! But for now, brace yourself for pictures.
REALM MAKERS 2019
We arrived at the hotel on Wednesday and the chaos erupted immediately after. The good kind of chaos, of course, but chaos nonetheless. I met a few friends straight off that day, chatted, and helped fill swag bags (met old and new friends doing that, as well!). A busy day, overall. This is also the night I spent making a one-sheet for The Divided Nation. I was told to “go for it” and promptly had it ready in case I was able to pitch or chat with an agent.
Now is a great time to say… the people at Realm Makers are some of the kindest people ever. Immediately upon entering the lobby, people chatted with me, introduced themselves, and as the night ended, I’d already made new friends and learned tidbits of publishing info.
The first day of the con! Insanity, new things, laughter, oh, my!
At 9 AM, I went to the pre-conference workshop with Robert Liparulo. This was a huge God gift… I didn’t register for this class, but upon asking about it on Facebook a few days before the con, someone gave me their ticket. So big thanks to Scott for his transfer–this class was a God given gift that I soo needed!
In short, I’m publishing The Divided Nation this August and it is book 1 in The Infidel Books. I loved the information in the class and the confirmation that, yes, I’m actually doing it all well–I’m not missing gaps in my marketing style or in my writing outlines. But this session was so much more for me. I immediately “clicked” with Robert and that session gave my heart a huge hug.
I also went to Brent Weeks’ opening keynote speech and it was fantastic! What an inspiring testimony.
I did get a pitch appointment with one of the agents but it wasn’t a pitch as much as I wanted to hear the “way of the trad” and such. The agent loved my book idea, hopes to hear from me in the future, and was super lovely. About this time, I decided I love Indie, but I will probably pursue traditional publishing for a fantasy novel or a MG.
In a recap: a giant first day and it all blurred but in a good way. I met great friends and met new friends.
Once the welcome and announcements was over, I went to the first session in Bryan Davis’ Teen track. After this, I was going to Ninja Editing but I didn’t really need it after I joined a few minutes, so I went to Technically Speaking by Ronie Kendig. Honestly, this class wasn’t helpful, either, since I knew what she was talking about and didn’t struggle with it, but I didn’t feel I needed the other two class options so I stayed put.
After lunch, I went to the “How to really sell books” panel. It wasn’t super helpful, but in the best way–I knew all they talked about, ha! Sooo relieved I’m actually not near as bad at marketing and advertising as I thought I was. During this class, I scrambled to write a paragraph assignment for the next session with Bryan Davis.
After that, it was back to Teen Track. Teen Track wasn’t just limited to teens–some adults enjoyed the class, as well. If you’re wondering how that assignment went… It went well. A few of us teens finished our assignment, inspired by one of the six photo prompts he offered, and even fewer of us read our paragraph aloud. Read it aloud. In front of the whole room. On his microphone. And it was recorded. Are you freaking out?
SO basically, I knew I had to say my paragraph aloud, I just had to. I’m not a public speaker. I’m a terrible reader and rarely read aloud unless it is just me and my nieces. But I did it, y’all. I wrote my best paragraph, prayed that God would help me, and did it. Was my heart hammering like a thousand horses stampeding in my chest after? Yep. But I didn’t stutter or stumble. In fact, I’d rewritten it so many times, I fixed a few sentences I’d missed without ever stumbling! Bryan Davis said we all did very well. Later, I had one girl say she wanted to know more about my story. For those interested, my paragraph started with: “The screaming demon hasn’t gone silent in 2,000 years, but I can’t hear him.”
After Teen Track, I spent some time and money (ha) in the vendor hall. But the night wasn’t over. I got in line to meet Brent Weeks and Terry Brooks with Josh Chadd and had a blast talking with him (he read my short story prequel, Emmanuel, and loved it. *cries*), and when Jaye L. Knight entered the line, too… So much happiness, y’all. She’s a big inspiration now–I’d seen her around but now… GAH.
The awards dinner was EPIC. I mean, c’mon, a room full of writers, most in costume? It was fabulous. I can hardly find words to describe the experience but it was beautiful. I chatted with friends, took pictures with as many people as I could grab, and even got compliments on my Mad Hatter cosplay. I’ll skip the words here and just overload you with photos…
And finally…. who would win?
(Cap says it was an even match…)
And what happens when Ed and Mad meet up? (I’ll leave you guessing, but no, we did not set the hotel on fire.)
This night ended too soon, but all nights must dwindle into dark, and the morning always holds a new, better surprise.
“I’ve had three strawberries and a rice krispie treat,” Basically describes my day, as far as taking care of myself goes, but I made it after my cup of coffee. I also got lost in the hotel again, but alas. I digress. I reached the announcements room and adored the Q&A with Brent Weeks and Terry Brooks. Not only were they insightful and inspiring, but there’s nothing better than getting a good laugh in before 10 AM!
Afterwards, I rushed to Teen Track, rather sad it was the last day for this, because Bryan Davis outdid himself. A class isn’t complete without clips of LOTR and Les Mis, OK? I had the absolute pleasure of fangirling over The Patriot with him, as well. (Faith Thompson and I got SO many kicks out of the Track, though, y’all.)
I really enjoyed the World Building class with Jill Williamson! She is super sweet and the class was informative. It got me very excited to start my fantasy novel.
I finally picked my last class–the Grittier than PG-13 Writing and the Christian Author panel! I was pretty pumped and didn’t even know who was on the panel. I was pleasantly surprised by CW Briar, Robert Liparulo, Terry Brooks, Brent Weeks, and a couple others I forget the names of. It was great, y’all. I write a lot of PG-13 fiction and I… honestly struggle with my audience. Lots of my friends despite “unclean” fiction. I respect their opinions but I know God is leading me to write differently. So this panel was a GODSEND!
After the panel, I spoke again with Robert, asking if it was possible to market a book with Christian themes to a general market, and he had some really great thoughts on the topic. Of course, upon coming home, this is one thing Satan’s really been attacking me with. But I’ll stand fast. We all have a story to tell and nothing can stop us if God’s on our side.
I missed the closing keynote with Brent Weeks but I’m not too bummed–Mom was feeling well enough to come browse the vendor hall with me! We had a great time, took some pictures, and when she headed up, I came down again to purchase more books. I met more friends and had sooo much fun chatting.
I didn’t get to the post-con but I intend to purchase the audio. We got home safe and sound. I was still on cloud 9 most of the day but life has a tendency to really kick back, haha.
BOOK HAUL! I only brought Night Angel with me to get signed… everything else was purchased/gifted at RM… 😀
Goodbye St. Louis…
Faith: An author says “dark” and Angela goes *flails*
Me: … true
Bryan Davis *paraphrased*: Make your reader say, “Wow, that’s a bad government, I wish someone would do something about it.”
Faith: *side eyes me*
Noah: I think you’re over-analyzing book covers.
Me: so be it
Me, running off: I HAVE TO GO RESEARCH SCREAMING DEMONS
Millie: How was Brian [McBride’s] book?
Me: YOU HAVE TO READ IT *fangirling ensues*
Hannah Heath *paraphrased*: and so the assassin has to go kill the big bad guy
I really hope you enjoyed this post because it won’t be the last RM post and I got a bit teary-eyed putting this one together… I was sooo blessed to meet friends, old and new, learn incredible lessons, and pray for others during my stay at RM. It was unlike any other life experience. I’m so grateful.