We didn’t deliberately plan for this to be Realm Makers Week here at NAF, but with several of us in attendance, it kind of follows that we’d wind up writing about it. Any good writers conference leaves you with that mountaintop feeling Avily described yesterday. This conference does that double, because every single person in the room not only shares your faith, but also writes in broadly the same genre.
Which is, of course, why Becky Minor organized the thing.
As Steve Laube was discussing the renaming of Marcher Lord Press to Enclave Publishing, he mentioned Jeff Gerke’s importance to the genre and said the Realm Makers conference wouldn’t exist if not for Jeff and Marcher Lord Press. Across the room, Becky Minor nodded vigorously. I was tempted to give an “Amen.”
(As an aside, Clay Morgan did a great interview with Steve Laube about the genre and its future.)
Many of us love Marcher Lord Press because that’s where we met: in the Anomaly forums where Jeff ran the Marcher Lord Select contest in 2009. That was where we first met one another, but it’s also where we first met Brett of Alpha Redemption and Danae of Curse Bearer (then Sword of the Patron) and Cassia of Star of Justice. Plus Winter and Ocilla and many others.
That was where we started critiquing one another and forming friendships that outlasted the contest. That was where Keven Newsome got the idea that seven authors with one blog could reach more people than seven authors with seven blogs. And that was where Becky Minor started thinking that maybe there could be more to this than online chatting.
As I described all this to a friend at the banquet Friday night, I choked up. It has been such a privilege to be witness to, and play my small part in, the growth of this movement. And the most remarkable thing is that we are just getting started. Everything to this point has been preparation for a great journey.
The more we draw together, the more we consolidate our efforts and support one another, the more this remarkable genre will flourish. At least one new publishing house, Crosshair Press, was formed as a direct result of last year’s Realm Makers conference. This year, I know at least one writer who got a request for a full manuscript from Enclave. Others have seen the potential in self-publishing. There is so much territory yet to explore—I am in awe of what we all are doing in this adventure, and I am eager to see what lies ahead.