There is a misconception that sci fi fans are primary interested in and in some cases obsessed with the celebrities that play their favorite charters on TV. But what does the average fan do in between cons to get their sci fi fix? Well, the first part of the answer is easy they watch them on TV, however it is the second part of the answer that is being overlooked by a huge portion of the con organizers, they read a LOT.
More to the point they read science fiction novels. I took a quick look at Amazon.com’s book section and found more then sixty Babylon 5 novels, over 100 Battlestar Galactica novels (if you count both series) and I just gave up on counting how many Star Trek novel there were. There is a point to this exercise and that is with the growth of the internet many book authors have developed a following just as TV stars have. Six weeks ago a new author’s site launched called Booktown. It already has close to 200 members and at least one third of them are sci fi authors. Authors that have websites, book trailers, blogs, and fans.
Many of these authors make the usual rounds each spring, summer, and fall at book fairs, book festivals, and book signings across the country but these are general events, that is to say a sci fi author may be sitting next to an author who writes bedtime stories for children or erotic novel for adults. The folks who attend these events vary so even though these venues are great for meeting people it is not specific to science fiction. I was a guest at a sci fi con recently and found that the fans were very receptive to having authors at these types of events.
A few of the convention organizers have recognized this growing trend and have wisely begun to blend in guest authors with the high profile movie and TV celebrities. This is good for the authors, good for the fans, and most importantly good for the con organizers because since most authors are not as well known as J.K. Rowlings they are willing to forgo a lot of the perks that con organizers must provide to lure celebrities to these events. Once again it’s all about the math. In most cases having three guest authors would equal having one celebrity guest. The cost to the fans goes down and everyone is happy. The alternative is to continue on the same path having cancelation after cancelation until people are afraid to come to such events for fear of losing their hard earned money and that would be a shame. Well that’s my two cents, I am going to the gas station to buy some gas, if this was still the 70’s I could get someone to pump if for me. ;-)