Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Some of you have heard me yak on and on about my next book, Monster Hunters (Chicago Review Press, June 2015). The book is about the lives of people who search for unknown entities which we can categorize under the umbrella term “paranormal.”
I spent a lot of time joining people in the field as they searched for ghosts, demons, Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, UFOs, Skunk Apes (that’s the stinky cousin of Bigfoot) and other things that go bump in the night.
In order to celebrate the June release of the book, I wanted to do something that would be kind of a big deal. Something bigger than myself. And then I thought, why don’t I do something that Milwaukee is currently lacking? By that, of course, I mean a Paranormal Conference.
Here’s what I got so far:
*The conference does have a venue in downtown Milwaukee that is about 99% sure right now. It’s a good spot. I won’t announce it officially until paperwork is signed, though. We are pretty solid on the date which is Saturday, JUNE 6, 2015. It will be a one day, all day event, about Noon-7pm or so.
*The conference will feature a variety of guest speakers from the Midwest, mostly Wisconsinites as well as some guests (hopefully) from Illinois and Michigan. These speakers will give talks on subjects including ghost stories, paranormal investigation, cryptozoology, ufology, and folklore.
I’ve spoken to several (but not all) of the speakers I’d like to feature and have gotten a very positive response. I will soon be setting up a WordPress site for the con and we will begin to reveal guests there in the future.
What else will be going on? I’ll be reading an excerpt from Monster Hunters. There will also be a tabling room where guest speakers and other guests will have books, art, and ghost tour slots for sale. Possibly a documentary screening. We’ll also have a “get your picture taken with Bigfoot” booth. And much more. We’re working on ideas.
This message is just not an announcement. In starting to put this plan to paper, I quickly realized this is not something I would be able to pull off alone. A couple people have already been helpful behind the scenes. Here are some things we need help with:
*Financing. The venue I’m looking at is offering me a fair price for a Saturday in June, but it’s not dirt cheap. Anyone who has done an event knows that other costs will add up quick–printing flyers/posters/programs, printing t-shirts, there will be a lot of fees I haven’t even thought of yet. It will be a lot of money I will have to shell out up front, more than a semi-employed writer dude from Riverwest can afford.
Most conventions would recoup their costs by charging an admission, but see the crazy thing about me is I’m somewhat determined to have this event be Free. Yes, that’s right, admission to the con: free. Or maybe I should say: priceless. Soooooo, that means I need to think of other ways to raise money. One idea I’m keen on is sponsors. If I can find a few local sponsors that would invest in this and have their logo on display on the programming/ advertising, it would go a long way. I suppose a GoFundMe or a Kickstarter might work, too, but the idea of doing one of those makes me kind of googly eyed. What else? Fund raiser/ benefit show? I am open to any advice anyone has on this topic.
*Volunteers. I need ’em. I need a volunteer coordinator, volunteers to help set up and break down, help with the guests, hand out programs, find the Bigfoot, I need tech people to monitor the AV, I need a security person or two, help with the website, help making everything run smoothly. What’s in it for you? You’ll be helping launch an interesting event and we’re going to come up with some cool swag for you.
The next step here is we will get a WordPress site up and running for the con with official name and venue. This will go live on…Halloween (October 31, 2014).
If you’d like to contact me about any of the aforementioned, e-mail is best: firstname.lastname@example.org