Last night John Edward Lawson unveiled his plan for a Con that would give people who could not go to traditional cons access to one via Indiegogo. As soon as I read the description, I knew it was something that I personally needed to support and I had the honor of being the first backer for the program.
But that wasn’t enough for me. I believe strongly in what John is trying to accomplish, so we are giving it some space on Sci-Fi & Scary today.
I spoke with John last night about the campaign and his reasons for starting it. This is what he told me:
“While I’ve been involved in countless events over the decades — from performing readings, running mini-conventions and workshops, or assisting with the programming for large regional conferences — I always struggled with psychological, physical, and monetary limitations on my ability to fully participate. Increasingly I’ve benefitted from others in the scene sharing how similar difficulties impact them. After a while, I got to wondering: how many people are there out there like us, or worse off who we’re not even reaching? What if we could double the number of people participating in our events by simply bypassing geographic limitations, and performing outreach to groups typically unable to access conventions and similar events? It seems technology has caught up with that goal in a way that is feasible to somebody without the budget of a Fortune 500 company, and I hope the community will help me put it to use. It’s my feeling we can change things drastically, and for the better.”
As someone who has psychological, physical, and monetary limitations myself, it was a pleasure to hear this from John. It emphasized to me that this project is coming from a place of deep desire to help all of his fellow bookworms connect in a way that is more comfortable and accessible.
My fellow co-host, Gracie, also contributed to the campaign. This is what she had to say:
“I chose to donate because there are a lot of people like me who live in the middle of nowhere and going to a convention can entail a lot of things. It prevents many people from coming to your area and traveling long distances just is not feasible for a lot of people. Some people are also not comfortable in crowds or face to face so even if you are able to attend you might not be able to participate as you would like due to shyness, anxiety or other mental barriers. “
So, onto details about the campaign itself:
John is taking his experience as an author, editor, speaker, and entrepreneur, along with his work as an event planner, and launching virtual conventions, workshops, trade shows, and more…with your help.
This project isn’t about developing a single stand-alone convention, it’s about building an online platform to continually provide the experience of conventions and workshops for those who cannot attend such events in person.
For the first time, all members of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror communities and beyond — regardless of worldwide location, mobility, identity, or resources — will have regularly-occurring access to convention guests, vendors, keynote speeches, and networking opportunities with other fans and industry professionals through virtual events that function in the same way as in-person events.
All of which will be offered for a much lower price point than brick-and-mortar versions of these events, typically in the $27 to $47 range as opposed to the standard $80 to $300 plus travel, food, and accommodations.
Our community has members who are not just underserved, they are often mistreated or left out entirely. Your contribution will make our plan even more effective, make the scene as powerful as possible, and give you lifetime access.
How We Make AllAccessCon Work
Here’s the best part: this is all within reach. The amounts of money we’re talking about are not outrageous.
The bare minimum to purchase the technology needed for achieving our goal is $600. That’s it! At $2,000 we cover a lot of the business-related expenses that would otherwise prevent us from delivering events to you right away. Above $2,000 in funding helps establish our infrastructure and publicity efforts for reaching and working with the communities we intend to engage.
Evergreen Attendees get free lifetime basic admission to our online events. Evergreen VIPs receive lifetime VIP admission to our online events. Evergreen Vendors unlock lifetime access to the vendor area of our online events to sell or market their product, company, or service. Evergreen Sponsors will have sponsorship status at our online events for life. The benefits of those four contribution levels are active for any and all of our public events but may be subject to restrictions from business partners on the occasions when we cohost an event with another organization.
Evergreen Legacy contributors get all the benefits listed above, plus we’ll create a grant in your name to allow free access for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend our events. We administrate the grant through an easy to find, easy to understand application process. Your name becomes that of a benefactor and philanthropist.
If we don’t reach our entire goal any money received goes into a version of this that, while good, does not allow us to support the community to the extent we know is possible. So, regardless of the outcome, your contribution brings something good to life!
If You Can’t Donate, You Can Still Support AllAccessCon:
Can’t contribute? We’ve been there ourselves! But that doesn’t mean you can’t help:
- Get the word out and make some noise about our campaign! Tell people you might be interested either in person, via email, or sharing on social media.
- Indiegogo has built-in sharing tools to make all of this easy. Or, if you prefer sharing in a way that feels more directly supportive, you can share posts from our social media accounts. Your support, in whatever form, is much appreciated!
For more information, please visit the Indiegogo page by clicking the picture below. We hope that you’ll decide to help fund this project.
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
She is also a co-founder of Ladies of Horror Fiction, though she has stepped down to regular crew level.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.