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The Chartsman
So, Becky, you’ve stumbled across The Chartsman and he has some questions for you. Are you up to the challenge?

Becky Minor
Here’s hoping I have some answers! Sure, I’m game. Let the adventure begin.

Great! So tell us what makes Realm Makers different from other conferences. I ask this because from my perspective it is like claiming elements of the Comic-Con/Dragon*Con conventions and adding them to the Christian book conventions such as ACFW. That’s a combo I like the idea of, but I want to know what sets Realm Makers apart from any of these even while still having elements of both.

The way Realm Makers serves a niche-within-a-niche is where it stands out, I think. For example, at a Con, you might find a whole bunch of content you love, but if you’re a Christian trying to guard your heart and mind, well…let’s just say that sometimes the Con scene makes that a little difficult. At Realm Makers, the vision is to one day offer more Con elements, such as a wider variety of vendors, maybe some gaming, and tracks that address other arts beyond writing. But when we do that, there won’t be a risk of body-painted booth girls, and the atmosphere will always be faith-friendly.

For now, we’re starting with writing because that’s where I am best networked. We’re different from the larger, multi-genre conferences, however, because we can tackle the niche-y subjects. A big conference, for example, might hesitate to offer a whole class on Steampunk, for fear that it won’t appeal to a large enough percentage of their attendees to make it worth it. Realm Makers gives specialized speculative fiction content presenters the opportunity to really dig deep into their area of expertise, and surrounds those presenters with class attendees who “get it.” It’s a win-win, if you ask me.

Excellent! I know as a believer in the God of the Bible that sometimes at the mainstream cons I see things which are questionable to my Faith. It’s not that I feel I could lose my Faith over it as my Faith is strong, but it would be nice to not have the constant debate going on with people at those cons if something is mentioned even as an offhand comment. Also, I’ve avoided the more “Christian” cons because I never felt my interests were well represented and don’t like the debate there neither as they can get into a “Chapter vs. Verse” type of argument.

So if you could say that Realm Makers has one specific goal in mind, what would you say it would be? Even if you covered this a bit in the last answer, which I think I can see elements of, I want to see what some would call a “Mission Statement” as most businesses and organizations would have. Does Realm Makers have a “Mission Statement” and, if not yet, what would it be?

Realm Makers strives to provide a faith-friendly symposium for writers and artists who focus their creative efforts on science fiction, fantasy, and all their sub-genres. Whether artists wish to gear their content for the inspirational or secular marketplace, they have a place at Realm Makers.

How long did it take for you to come up with that Mission Statement and what other thoughts did you have which were good but not quite what you felt Realm Makers should be?

The mission statement was a wrestling match with words that has developed over time. The big question about Realm Makers has always been, “How ‘Christian’ should it be?” We could be bigger if we went for the general market more broadly and downplayed any faith elements, but if we did so, we would lose what makes us different, and therefore become just another sci-fi/fantasy event amidst many bigger, more established conferences. So this fall, when I started building the new website for the conference, I prayerfully pored over what the conference was about, talked with influential players in the planning, and landed on the wording we have now. I feel confident that’s the right approach for the conference–allowing a Christian worldview to shine through when the content calls for it, and never apologizing for that belief. But I also believe in avoiding over-spiritualization of content as well.

Yes, the “preachiness” which can get so tacky at times. I’m not a big fan of over the top content like that neither. This is the second Realm Makers conference you are doing. Last year you were able to tag Jeff Gerke the founder of Marcher Lord Press and best selling Writer’s Digest author to be the key note speaker, and this year you have New York Times best-selling author Tosca Lee in that role. Tell us how you were able to land these two during your first two times doing a conference.

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  1. Thanks for this interview, David! I hope your reboot brings good traffic and helps us both meet new folks we haven’t crossed paths with yet.

    • I hope so too, Becky. I’m not one that “regularly blogs” when I blog, but I see the value of a blog. Guess I just don’t like telling everyone all my secrets. 😉

  2. Great interview, guys! And, yeah, I’m all about the bacon. 🙂

  3. Great interview! And I love the mission statement of Realm Makers. I was hoping to work it into my blog post somehow, but couldn’t squeeze it in. 😉 It’s nice knowing the backstory of its creation.

    • Thanks for coming by, Nadine! I’m glad that David asked that as well.

      • For me it’s always interesting seeing what people are thinking about when they come up with things. Some times the things which are the most popular and make a lot of money are the ones which took the most planning. And then some times you get people that are seemingly doing things on the fly. In reality, their subconscious is working for them and they operate from it with their “off the cuff” ideas. They can wind up making a bunch of money too. In the end, it’s how we affected those around us though which counts the most. God knows I’ve had my share of mistakes over the years. I find that by listening to the people succeeding it causes me to grow and be more success oriented than before, even if it’s just “that” much more. Every step is in the right direction as long as I am moving forward. That’s why I asked the question the way I did. 🙂

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