Ahhh, Tampa in August. Where lightning-quick geckos scurry across the sun-baked pavement and the heat makes you wilt, there you will find this sparkling gem of a comic convention. Does it have media guests? Yes. Is the Vendor room chock full of sparklies representing most any branch of fandom? Yes. Are there panels? Yes. So, what makes it different?
Lemme ‘splain. No, wait, that would take too long. Lemme sum up.
In the grand scheme of growing Cons, TBCC is relatively young. It has grown from the back rooms of small hotels into taking over the Tampa Bay Convention Center. Overall attendance is nearing the 40k mark. The torrential storms kept some of the crowds away this year, but we still sold a ton of books at our table in the Vendor room. Excited murmurs from the other purveyors of cool goodies proved they had a successful weekend too.
What really excites me about this Con is the growing writers’ community. We saw that growth clearly from last year to this one. As a writer and panel attending/moderating/participating enthusiast, the sheer number of panel attendees increased dramatically. Last year, my author partners (Tracy Akers, Maria DeVivo, and Dora Machado) and I submitted the first writing panel topics ever to the TBCC organizers. They gave us a chance, allowing us to hold four panels in small rooms. All were well attended, maybe 50-60 folks in each, and the feedback was stellar.
Four more panels were approved this year, only this time they booked us in a room that seated 200 people. And we needed it. One panel, “So you want to be a writer?” was a standing-room only extravaganza of Awesome. Sweet! The questions ranged from craft, to how to get published, to various aspects of the business of being a professional writer. We ran out of time, but could have gone on for another hour or two. The atmosphere in that room crackled with creative power. Man, what a day, what a Con. I can’t wait for next year.
We noticed more writers with tables in the Vendor room and several new writing panels on the schedule. But there’s always room for more. Atlanta’s DragonCon has its writing track buried in the basement of one of its monstrous hotels. Orlando’s MegaCon sports several writing panels. And Tampa, well, let’s see how many we can get approved for next year. We are growing the writing community and want you to help us out.
So, to all my writer friends out there, come to Tampa Bay Comic Con. Get a table. Sell your books. Participate on panels. Soak up the creative atmosphere. And sweat. Yeah, it’s hot. The high-powered AC will keep you cool and comfy inside, but the summer swelter will mug you when you step outside. Still, what’s a little sweat when you get the chance to talk writing with thousands of your closest new friends?
Here are the deets for Tampa Bay Comic Con:
When: August 5-7
Where: Tampa Bay Convention Center
Cost: Attendee – 60$ for all three days
Not sure about the cost of a table in Artist Alley or a booth.
Link: Tampa Bay Comic Con