One of the most touching parts of being an author, said Keith Robinson of Chickamauga, is when children come up and say his series about mythical creatures opened up a fantasy world for them.
At conventions, though, that wonder doesn't always translate. Robinson said it's hard to watch attendees pinball from artist booth to artist booth, neglecting authors.
"Less than a third of people that show up at a convention are interested in your books," said Robinson, who has authored 22 fantasy and sci-fi books.
Fort Oglethorpe author Kenyon Henry agreed, saying attendees are drawn to the visuals of prints or paintings rather than the hard or soft cover books on his table.
"It's almost like a happy happenstance when people come across your table and say they love books," he said. "We've got something that we put months, sometimes years, into writing a novel."
This is one of the reasons Henry is hosting the Next Chapter Convention Saturday, Sept. 7 at The Colonnade in Ringgold.
Henry, who writes Christian fantasy literature, said he wanted to start his own convention after attending one in Knoxville last September. And with Robinson, a graphic designer and web editor, by his side helping to create a website, logo and flyers, it will soon be a dream fulfilled.
The pair met when they were sat next to each other at a local authors event at the Catoosa County Library two years ago.
At the Next Chapter Convention, there will be over 40 independent area authors in genres ranging from comic books to steampunk to romance to nonfiction for people of all ages. Panels will be held throughout the day, too, with topics like story writing and getting published.
Henry said he wanted to make the convention accessible for writers of all ages, so a Kids' Corner will feature storytime with children's authors, as well as a magic show from mad scientist Doctor Osborn.
"It started out small with 15-20 authors to come together to promote them, encourage literacy and give back to the community I grew up in, and next thing I know, it's grown this big," he said.
The convention is partnered with Artemis Publishing Company, Jumpmaster Press and Southern Pen Bookshop, and a portion of each ticket sold will go toward a library of the attendee's choice.
Tickets are $5 for those age 13 and up, and children 12 and younger are free with a paying adult. Tickets can be purchased at nextchaptercon.com/community.html or at the door. Find Next Chapter Convention on Facebook for more information.
Email Sabrina Bodon at firstname.lastname@example.org.