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Q&A with Coastal Magic organizer Jennifer!

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Coastal Magic REGISTRATION is now open!

Back in February, I attended a local reader con put on by blogger Jennifer Morris. I had a ball. It was the first year of the con, called Olde City, New Blood. It was a huge undertaking and I was impressed that Jennifer would take it on. So impressed, that I jumped at the chance to become a featured blogger for the new 2014 incarnation–Coastal Magic. This  week she is busily spreading the word that registration for the con is now open! I took the opportunity to ask Jennifer a few questions about putting on a con.

Charlee: I’d love to know HOW you got started in putting the 2013 con together. How did you know how to get started and what to do first?

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Jennifer: Honestly, I had NO IDEA what I was doing, lol!! I’ve planned some pretty neat parties in the past. Baby showers, birthday parties, book events at my job, even a small wedding… all came out very nice. I never tried to put together something the size of Olde City, New Blood (the first year incarnation of Coastal Magic). It started with an email to authors I had a working relationship with, in the southeast, simply saying “I have a crazy idea, what do you think?”. I found a place that was big enough to hold a small group, but affordable enough for me to rent it out without charging everyone an arm and a leg to attend. It wasn’t really easy, because St. Augustine (while I LOVE the city, and the atmosphere is PERFECT for a UF/PNR crowd), just wasn’t really built to hold these kinds of events. But… I found a place, figured out how much a really simple event would cost, and started inviting people.

Charlee: What where your early expectations for the Con and how did those change?

Jennifer: The response to my first email was really positive, so I thought I could arrange a wee little shindig with about 20-25 authors, and about 100 attendees. My original intent was to invite only authors who could easily drive to the event, because I knew there would be no way I could afford to bring people in. I’m a wee little blogger in the “big book world” pond, so outside of my amazing little circle of author friends, I didn’t expect to have a lot of interest. What changed, to the huge surprise of my little fangirl heart, was that the author chatter TOOK OFF, and I started getting emails from people I’d never really had any dealings with, asking for information about the event!! The focus of the con never changed… simple, casual, low-key… but the exposure expanded in a big way.

Charlee: What was the biggest challenge?

Jennifer: In the planning stages… the biggest challenge was probably overloading myself. Since I didn’t know what to do, or how to make it all work… I had to do pretty much all of it myself. I couldn’t very well have someone else take over a task if I wasn’t sure exactly how it needed to be done. Once it was closer to time for the con to happen, I had a handful of really fantastic people who helped me. And thank GOODNESS for that. I’d have lost my ever-loving mind and been rocking in a corner somewhere if it hadn’t been for my book club and blogger girls.

Charlee: Olde City, New Blood was clearly a huge success, and registration for next year’s Coastal Magic is beginning–what do you think is the best part of putting together a con like this?

Jennifer: I have a very selfish joy in this whole process. It’s like I’m throwing a party, asking the “cool kids” to come, and THEY DO!!! I love that I, and other readers in this area, are getting a really fun, simple way to hang out with the authors that write the stories we adore. I’m thrilled that there are so many authors willing to come do this with us.

Charlee: What advice would you have for someone who might be considering putting together a con in their area?

Jennifer: CLEAR YOUR CALENDAR!!! It’s insanely time-consuming. Even now that I’m planning things for year two, and I have a better idea of how all this is going to work, there is SO much to do. Patience is a must, and so is organization. Things can seem to take forever to come together, and little details can get overlooked so easily if they’re not listed and followed up on. Authors are all on different schedules, and as much as I really appreciate and respect them, it’s a bit like herding kittens to get them all together sometimes. Also, put together a support team, and USE THEM. They’ll be your salvation come “go time”.

Charlee: To wrap this up, what is the latest news on Coastal Magic Con and how can people get involved?

Jennifer: General Registration HAS BEGUN! If people think that hanging out with awesome authors and fellow UF/PNR addicts by the beach sounds like a good idea, they can! The list of Featured Authors is (AMAZINGLY) still growing, but the bulk of our guests are listed on the official blogsite. I think we’re going to end up with OVER 50 authors next year! We’ll have panels, meet & greets, and a couple of really fun activities… but the whole weekend revolves around making time for authors and readers to really interact. It’s a relatively inexpensive party to come to because we’re not trying to be too over the top with fancy stuff. I LOVE big, fancy cons, but that just isn’t what we’re doing. Others cons out there have that market covered, and covered well. We’re doing the jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flop version of convention, and I really can’t wait to see everyone there!

Check out the Coastal Magic site, and register to come join us in February!!

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Find more Blog Blast posts on the con at these featured blogger posts:

Carol – Bitten by Books – Fun at the Beach in February

Chelle – Literal Addiction –  Registration Blog Blast – and CONTEST

Nikki – Close Encounters With The Night Kind – Registration Blog Blast

Laura – Little Read Riding Hood – Registration Blog Blast

Dolorianne – MANtastic Fiction – Registration Blog Blast

Jenese – Readers Confession – Registration Blog Blast

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