Convention Spotlight: Icon 34

The round-up of convention spotlights and ideas is here.

Icon is a long-running convention in
Cedar Rapids, IA, so it's no surprise it came up in my continuing
research on conventions with fan-to-pro elements.

fact, Icon is one of those smaller, intimate cons with a serious
pedigree.  Started by a University of Iowa's writers group, led by Joe
Haldeman himself, it stays firmly rooted in its literary/writing
background while expanding over time to cover more genres and media.

Icon stays old-school, delivering the kind of fan-to-pro events that never go out of style:

  • It delivers a writer-heavy experience by having panels covering all
    sorts of writing aspects – starting out, presentation, and more.
  • It goes out of its way to do events on how to get published in the first place.
  • It's recently experimented on adding portfolio preparation for
    artists to their lineup, expanding the offerings available.  Many
    conventions do portfolio reviews, but preparation is often an area
  • It leverages it's smaller size (perhaps 350-400 people) to have intimate discussion groups and heavy audience participation. 

hits the classic notes for writers by delivering a broad range of
events to help them out – and isn't afraid to experiment and add new
ideas.  If you're in Iowa – and if you haven't ALREADY heard of them –
it sounds like they've got some good events, and know how to deliver. 
I'm going to keep an eye on what they're doing as it sounds like
they're looking to add new ideas . . .

– Steven Savage