Attention, party heroes! WisCon Parties 2023 is now open for submissions!
Throwing a party at WisCon is a great, cost-effective way to celebrate a book launch, share an offbeat interest, or just generally make everybody’s convention more fun. The Priority Deadline is 3/15/2023, so we’ve put together a simple three-step guide for anyone who’s thinking that the role of Party-Thrower might be right for them.
If your party proposal is accepted, WisCon will provide the space (for free), and will list your party on the official schedule. In return, you’ll follow all rules and procedures, and make sure the party is open to all convention attendees.
Decide what kind of party you want to throw
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and make sure everyone can attend parties at their personal comfort level, official hotel parties come in two flavors. We’ll provide signage to be posted at the door.
Safer parties are MASKS REQUIRED. You may serve non-alcoholic beverages and provide wrapped grab-and-go snacks as party favors. Guests may briefly remove masks to sip beverages, but snacks must be consumed outside the party.
Safest parties are MASKS REQUIRED. No beverages or food allowed. Masks must stay on at all times (essentially, the same rules as panels).
If indoor hotel parties aren’t your jam, we’ve got options! You can throw an online party or an outdoor party. We’ll list it on the schedule so that everyone knows where to go.
2. Make it fun!
It can be a challenge to create a party atmosphere without food or drink, so themes, activities and decorations are key. Here are some ideas:
A lip synch “karaoke” party. Give prizes for the best lip synch performances!
A continuous game of Werewolf with themed decorations and beverages.
A steampunk tea party with take-home biscuits (consider getting a local tea sponsor!)
A collaborative art party
An indoor carnival with mini carnival games and prizes (team up with others who have stuff to promote!)
Your proposal doesn’t have to be perfect: in fact, we’ll work with you to develop your ideas! If you’re ready to step up and throw a party, we’re ready to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Remember, anyone who sends in a proposal before 3/15/23 will have priority when free official rooms are being assigned.
If you want to throw a party with food and drink, you’ll have to head outdoors! Unfortunately, we cannot provide any outdoor spaces, but we are happy to put your party on the official schedule so everyone will know where to go.
We’ve looked into a few outdoor options, and hope to add more as we do research.
Madison Park District Shelters: The Madison Park district offers a variety of shelters with bathrooms, picnic tables, and beach access! (One such park shelter was the location for last year’s Floomp brunch.) For information and rates (which range from $35 to $130 for a half day), check out:
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Rooftop Sculpture Garden : Gorgeous, very close, and accessible by elevator, this qualifies as a luxury option. It’s quite expensive, but discounts for nonprofits may be available. Check out the rates here.
There are lots of good reasons to throw an online party at WisCon. It’s still the safest way to gather, it’s accessible to our online-only attendees, and of course, you can eat and drink whatever you want!
If you throw an online party at WisCon, we’ll provide the virtual space of your choosing (a zoom room, discord channel or both), and list your party on the official schedule to help you promote it.
Online parties can take many forms. We encourage you to think outside the Zoom box and provide a little bit of structure. (A game or activity that allows for casual chatting and has excuses for breakout rooms and downtime is perfect!) Video parties are the most popular, but asynchronous activity-based parties thrown solely in the discord voice channel were also successful last year. For example, the Haiku Earring party worked very well in Discord, with attendees posting links to an Etsy store, and writing haikus to match the linked earrings.
For your party, consider creative ways to combine digital presence, live parties, and tactile activities.
An open mike on discord voice
A themed Zoom trivia party with a costumed/in character host
An online reading of a cult sci-fi screenplay (extra points for effects and props!)
A book-themed cocktail recipe exchange
An asynchronous review binge to support WisCon authors and magazines
A postcard party where participants can decorate postcards and send them to each other (note- this could be combined with a postcard station at a live hotel party as a way of bringing online and in-person attendees together)
Art Show applications for WisCon 46 in 2023 are open (through March 1)! If you’re a visual artist planning to attend and would like to show or sell your work, we’d love for you to apply. Artists new to the show are very welcome! In past years, the Art Show has included painting/drawing, illustration, photography, comics, printmaking, wearable art, ceramics, fiber art, and more. We also accept mail-in art. More details about the show are available at http://wiscon.net/events/art-show/, or go directly to the application at https://forms.gle/6pQ4ZwpnGt6rpTSi8.
SF3 is the parent not-for-profit that oversees WisCon. To try and improve transparency for our membership, we’re posting summaries of our Board meeting notes.
December 2022 Board Meeting – Society for the Furtherance & Study of Fantasy & Science Fiction
December 18, 2022 2:00PM Central
Attendees: Jeannette (President), Jaye (VP), Kit (Treasurer), Essay (Secretary)
WisCon Online Con has a volunteer to lead the department – thank you Anna!! We’re waiting on her to be onboarded but we can confirm there will be an online track in 2023. However, since she is remote, we don’t currently have someone to lead a truly hybrid track – right now it looks like we will have separate online and in person tracks like last year.
Giving Tuesday : $7k raised for general fund, $660 raised for Wiscon Member Assistance Fund. Thank you Jaye!
Approved plan to move SF3 records away from Box and into a Google Group
Future of WisCon committee still needs volunteers to guide the, well, future of WisCon! Please send an email to email@example.com. No experience required, just enthusiasm.
Personnel is also critically understaffed – if anyone has time to devote, please get in touch ASAP using the 2023 volunteer form! You can be remote! Tasks are all pre & post-con so there’s no commitment during the con itself.
In-person registration will remain open through the start of the convention or until we meet our cap of 600 in-person members. There is no deadline or cap for online memberships.For all the details, visit http://wiscon.net/register/
All members who attend WisCon in person in 2023 must comply with CDC Guidelines concerning being “fully vaccinated.” This standard applies to all in-person attendees, regardless of age. Please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information page for current requirements.
When you register, you must attest that you are currently vaccinated, and you will be asked to show proof of vaccination at the door of the convention. While you are at the convention, you are required to mask in all convention-controlled spaces, and encouraged to mask in other public hotel spaces.
This update is written by me, Kit Stubbs (they/them), in my role as Treasurer for SF3, WisCon’s parent not-for-profit organization.
Thanks to everyone who donated, volunteered, and helped spread the word, last year we were able to #SaveWisCon! It’s now up to us to #RebuildWisCon by building up our financial reserves to run WisCon 46 in 2023 and years to come and growing our volunteer base so that we can have an awesome con in 2023.
WisCon 46 in 2023 is happening! We are thrilled to announce that Gillian Sochor (she/her, G is soft like “giraffe”, Sochor like “super soaker”) is joining Lindsey and Sherry as our third co-chair. This means we are going ahead with an in-person con for 2023!
As soon as registration and hotel rooms are available, we’ll send out an update via our newsletter. As always, please subscribe if you aren’t already on our list — email is the most reliable way we have of communicating with you!
Finances Thanks to everyone who donated and offered matching gifts last year, we were able to cover the cost of our 2022 hotel contract. We are now looking to raise $30,000 in this year’s annual fundraiser which will allow us to do all kinds of awesome things for WisCon 46 in 2023, including:
Offset the cost of hotel rooms for members who need to isolate due to COVID-19 and who otherwise might not be able to due to the financial burden
Purchase more high-quality air filters for con spaces and masks for members
Expand the meal voucher program, introduced last year, which enables members in need to eat for free at local restaurants
Continue to offer CART services for transcription, now that the state of Wisconsin is no longer providing funds to offset that cost
And part of that $30,000 will go towards rebuilding WisCon’s savings after last year.
If you weren’t aware, WisCon can’t pay for itself with registrations alone. We try to keep the cost of registration down to make our con as affordable as possible. But what that means is that we’re counting on the members of our community who can chip in extra to do so! Please donate today to help #RebuildWisCon!
Can you give $1k or more to help rebuild WisCon? Write me (Kit) at firstname.lastname@example.org to help start a matching funds drive.
WisCon Member Assistance Fund
This year we’re also looking to raise $3,000 for our WisCon Member Assistance Fund! The WMAF is a specially designated fund that can only be used to provide travel grants to help members attend WisCon. Please consider making a donation via PayPal.
Volunteers We are so grateful to everyone who helped out pre-con and at-con in 2022! We are now still desperately in need of pre-con volunteers so that we can provide all of the activities and infrastructure that we did last year. This year, if we don’t have department leads in time, we’ll have to start cutting back on what we offer. If there’s something you really love about WisCon and you want to make sure it happens, now is the time to step up by completing our volunteer survey!
We’ll continue to send out calls for volunteers over the coming weeks, but right now we need new people in the following committees & departments (departments/activities at risk of getting cut in bold):
Personnel: We need people for Personnel who want to do back-end checks, posts, and permissions. This role is great for anyone who likes checklists, many small & well-defined tasks, and staying organized. You get quick, small victories that recur with each new opening and candidate. The big payoff is getting each new person on board! It takes an hour per week, on average, though like everything else that can get more intense closer to WisCon, depending on staffing turnover. No at-con work, remote volunteers OK!
AppDev: We need at least one more volunteer developer to help with our back-end scheduling & registration software (PHP/Apache/MySQL). Remote volunteers OK!
Art Show: We need an Art Show Room Setup/Teardown Coordinator – Leads at-con volunteers to build the Art Show panel structures (out of pipes and pegboards) on Thursday afternoon/evening and tear them down on Monday. We have tools and instructions for this, but are looking for a handy/engineering-minded person to take charge of the process.
Communications (Print Materials): We need help so we can offer print materials next con! We’re looking for a Print Coordinator to grab info from our departments and turn it into PDFs for printing so we can have some basic materials available. If you’ve got some basic word processing/layout skills and you like supporting our membership through communications, this might be a good fit for you! Remote volunteers OK.
Communications (Marketing): We need someone who’s excited to help us spread the word about what WisCon is! We know there are lots more people who might be interested in joining our feminist speculative fiction con but they just don’t know about us yet. If you’ve got ideas for what we can tell or show people to excite them about WisCon, the Comms team can help you get those ideas out on our blog and social media. Previous marketing experience helpful.
Communications (Twitter): Twitter’s still here, and we need someone to help out with WisCon’s Twitter account! At a minimum, this involves making tweets at the request of other departments and committees; but if you’re into it and enjoy being on Twitter, you’re welcome to put your own stamp on it by signal boosting our past Guests of Honor and others whose work might be of interest to the WisCon community. Previous experience using Twitter required.
Con Suite: We need one to two more co-leads or we won’t be able to offer Grab & Go food or meal vouchers. This is an at-con position involving buying and working with volunteers to set up and restock the free food available to members in our Con Suite. Previous experience in food service is a plus but not required.
COVID-19 Team: We’re looking for one online support volunteer and one in-person support volunteer to join our existing COVID Team members to help out during the con. Support volunteers are available to help set up air ventilation as needed and connect attendees who test positive for COVID with the resources that WisCon has available. We’re looking for folks who have a strong interest in keeping WisCon 2023 as safe as possible; a general understanding of public health policy making is helpful.
Dessert Salon: We need at least two co-leads (at least one at-con) so we can run our Dessert Salon fundraiser this year! This involves working with the hotel to set the menu of desserts; scheduling dessert salon volunteer shifts; and working at-con on Sunday to pass out dessert line number tickets & oversee the event.
Dealers Room: If you love checking out the vendors in our Dealers Room, we need an at-con co-lead to help liaise between dealers on site and the rest of the ConCom.
Gaming: Love games and helping people play them? We’re looking for an at-con co-lead to join our Gaming department! Should we continue to run scheduled games the way we have been doing? Should we look at a more Games On Demand style schedule (recruiting a small group of Game Masters who have a small catalog of games they can run with anyone who shows up)? If you have ideas about how you’d like to see gaming run at WisCon and want to help recruit people to run and play games, please join us!
Gathering: If we’re going to have a Gathering this year, we need at least one lead! Leads solicit for activity ideas and help with room setup. If you want to help people mingle — maybe you have ideas for activities to help our members meet each other? — this would be a great fit!
Green Room: Want to help support our program participants? We need co-leads to organize and schedule volunteer shifts for our Green Room.
Guest of Honor Liaisons: We need two people, one for Martha Wells and one for Rivers Solomon, who facilitate communication with them pre-con and help direct them to where they need to be at-con. Liaisons also introduce them at the Thursday night reading and Sunday Guest of Honor speeches. If you’re a people person who’s into scheduling and logistics and you’re OK with some public speaking, this could be a good fit for you!
Hotel: We need one person to be an at-con coordinator for A/V with our awesome hotel, one person to be a pre- and at-con liaison for our event spaces with the hotel, and one person to help manage the WisCon room block (remote OK). All these roles have been filled by one person for the past number of years and we need to bring in some new volunteers. The Concourse is awesome and the staff is very friendly and helpful, we’re looking for folks who are detail-oriented and excited about logistics.
Kids’ Programming: If we’re going to have a Kids Programming track this year, we need one to two co-leads attending in person to advertise for activities and/or help run activities for kids. If you like working with kids, we’ve got plenty of supplies and ideas from past cons to get you started!
Panels: Panels Programming needs more pre-con volunteers to help review panels submissions and help with scheduling; you can help out whether you’re attending remotely or in person.
Readings: We need at least one person to help solicit for readers and work on scheduling readings or we won’t be able to offer Readings this year.
Registration: We’re looking for two at-con leads to help coordinate the Registration desk during the con, and an at-con volunteer to help coordinate tech support for folks participating in online Zoom-based sessions. You don’t have to do everything yourself, you’ll be working with the Registration team to set up volunteer shifts and provide info & training to during-con volunteers.
Safety: We need at least two co-leads to help us take care of us! Safety co-leads help promote a safer environment at WisCon through consistent security staffing throughout active con hours, issuing warnings as necessary, and working together with our Anti-Abuse Team, Con Co-Chairs, and hotel security. A lot of what Safety co-leads do involves recruiting volunteers for Safety shifts, offering brief trainings, and empowering those volunteers to help members who have questions or who need assistance.
SignOut: If you love supporting our attending authors, we need a lead so we can have SignOut again this year! Leads help solicit authors to participate, plan for who sits where, and then attend & oversee the SignOut event.
Workshops: Passionate about our workshops? We need an in-person co-lead to help solicit and schedule workshops and liaise between our workshop runners and the rest of the con, and a co-lead to help coordinate online-based workshops (remote OK!).
If any of these sound like they might be a good fit for you, mention the role or department in the survey under the “What kind of volunteer work are you interested in?” question. Want to help out but not sure where? That’s totally fine, too! We’ll work with you to find a role you’ll enjoy.
Last week Stephanie announced she would be stepping down as co-chair for WisCon 46 in 2023. Please join us in thanking Stephanie for all the hard work she did on the post-con survey, Guest of Honor nominations, and department outreach/coordination as co-chair. We’re really grateful for her willingness to jump into things after having only attended WisCon one time!
In order for WisCon 46 to move forward the SF3 Board will be starting recruitment for the open Co-Chair position (who must be able to attend in person). In addition, for online or hybrid programming to happen next year we need at least one, ideally two, Online Con Department Co-Leads (either one person at-con; or two people, one at-con and the other either at-con or remote).
As we determined last year, Online Con Department Lead is a ConCom Co-Chair-level position due to the sheer number of departments that that position interacts with and the at-con workload. This means that if an Online Con Lead is willing to also take on some more general ConCom Co-Chairing duties, that person may fill the general co-chair vacancy and we may only need 1-2 new people total, not 3.
For more information on the Co-Chair role, see this blog post. Additional information about the Online Con Lead role will be forthcoming. If you are interested now in potentially becoming an a Co-Chair or Online Con Department Lead, please contact the SF3 Board at email@example.com.
In the interim, Ira is coming out of co-chair retirement temporarily to keep the ball rolling on Stephanie’s departments. Thank you Ira!
In the interest of transparency, we want to let you all know that if the open Co-Chair position isn’t filled by end of November, the in-person con will be cancelled. It is possible we may still do an Online-only con in that scenario, but that depends on a number of other variables. If we’re able to fill the Co-Chair position but aren’t able to recruit Online Con Department lead(s), the con will be in-person only (we won’t be able to have online or hybrid programming). In either scenario of in-person and/or online con not being able to happen, we will use that time to build up departments, train up leads and chairs, fundraise, and put ourselves in the best possible position for a full event the following year.
Because we don’t know whether or not we will be having an in-person con yet, we haven’t signed a contract with the Concourse. Without a contract in place, we also can’t open Registration or hotel room reservations. This does mean that in the case we’re not able to recruit a Co-Chair for an in-person con, we would not owe the Concourse a penalty fee.
We will continue to provide updates as we have them, and we will continue planning for an in-person convention for next year as recruitment for a Co-chair commences.
Are you a professional author or editor interested in running a critique session for WisCon 46 in 2023? Do you have other skills you’d like to share with the WisCon community? If so, then Workshops would love to hear from you!
In the past few years, we’ve been working to expand our events, and in addition to our critique sessions, we’ve offered special workshops on everything from special writing topics to hair braiding, handspinning, and panel moderation. Historically, we’ve also had volunteers coordinate workshops for our teen programming.
We’re already planning out the offerings for 2023, so now is the perfect time to be in touch. If you have an idea for a workshop, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also looking for volunteers to hang out in our Writer Salon at the hotel to ensure it stays a quiet space for people who want to write there and people to run writing sprints for the online con. If you’re interested in volunteering for one of these roles, please send us an email so we get you on our volunteer list.
SF3—the Society for the Furtherance and Study of Fantasy and Science Fiction—is the parent not-for-profit organization that runs the WisCon convention. The SF3 Board of Directors engages in long-term planning, recruitment, and fundraising for WisCon.
The 2022 SF3 Annual Meeting is coming up on Sunday,October 23, at 1PM Central Time. This meeting is entirely virtual! Information on joining will be sent to all current SF3 members a few days before the meeting.
If you’re interested in the future of WisCon and SF3, we encourage you to become an SF3 member (at the bottom of this post) and attend the Annual Meeting. Annual membership is $24, or $12 at our student/financial hardship rate, which we encourage anyone to use as needed. Free memberships are available to all BIPOC. To join for free, please email email@example.com with the subject line “SF3 Membership for BIPOC”.
We take payment by PayPal (below) or check, though if you plan to pay by check we ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know it’s on the way. The deadline for joining SF3 in advance of the Annual Meeting is Wednesday, October 19. Madison no longer has an in-city postal sorting office, so if you are paying by check, please make sure your letter is postmarked no later than Thursday, October 13, to ensure we receive it by October 19. Along with your check, please enclose a completed copy of the SF3 Membership form.
We know this continues to be a busy and difficult time for all of us. We hope the WisCon and SF3 community can be a source of support in these times, and it is with that in mind that we hope you will join us on October 23. If you have questions or concerns that you’d like to bring to the SF3 board, but you aren’t able to attend the Annual Meeting, please feel free to contact the board by email at email@example.com.
Submit your Guest of Honor nominations for WisCon 47 in 2024!
Anyone in the WisCon community is welcome to nominate themselves or others for Guest of Honor for WisCon 47 in 2024! The deadline for nominations is September 1, 2022 at 11:59pm US Central time.
Every year, we ask our community to make nominations for the convention-after-next: As announced in May, WisCon 46 in 2023 will feature Rivers Solomon and Martha Wells as our Guests of Honor. So now we’re ready for your suggestions for Guests of Honor for 2024!
Please email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a short statement describing the nominee’s qualifications or why you think they’re a good fit for WisCon.
After y’all submit your nominations, all 2023 WisCon/SF3 pre-con volunteers will have the opportunity to vote on Guests of Honor for 2024 based on those nominations. Our Guests of Honor are chosen by you, the WisCon community, so please submit your picks! You can submit as many names as you like.
WisCon and SF3 are pleased to announce that our Guests of Honor for 2023 will be Rivers Solomon and Martha Wells! As we celebrate our 2023 guests, keep in mind that nominations for the WisCon Guests of Honor for 2024 are open, and anyone in the WisCon community can nominate anyone they wish, including themselves! Please send your nominations to email@example.com.
Rivers Solomon (fae/fer or they/them) is a refugee of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade who resides on an isle in an archipelago off the western coast of the Eurasian continent and writes about life in the margins, where they are much at home.
Solomon’s debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017, Akashic Books), won a Firecracker award and was shortlisted for the Locus, Lambda, Otherwise, Astounding, and Hurston/Wright awards, as well as being named a best book of 2017 by The Guardian, NPR, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Bustle, and others. Faer second book, The Deep (2019, Saga Press), is based on the Hugo finalist song of the same name by the experimental hip-hop group clipping, headed by Daveed Diggs. The Deep won a Lambda Award and was shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards. Their third novel, Sorrowland (2021, MCD Books) was described by Tor.com as “a genre-bending work of gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalization of society’s undesirables,” and The Guardian said, “It’s about escape, self-acceptance and queer love. It’s about genocide and the exploitation of black bodies, self-delusion and endemic corruption, motherhood and inheritance.”
Faer short work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Best American Short Stories, Best American Horror and Dark Fantasy, Guernica, and Black Warrior Review. Solomon also collaborated with Becky Chambers, S. L. Huang, and Yoon Ha Lee on the serial novel The Vela.
Martha Wells (she/her) has been writing speculative fiction since 1993, and in that time has won Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Alex Awards. Her work has also been nominated for the British Science Fiction Award and the Philip K. Dick Award, and she has been a USA Today Bestseller and a New York Times Bestseller. She has written for Star Wars, Magic: The Gathering, and Stargate: Atlantis, as well as writing short fiction, non-fiction, and YA novels.
Wells is best known for her Ile-Rien, The Books of the Raksura, and, most recently The Murderbot Diaries series. The Books of the Raksura won the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Series, while the novellas, short story, and novel in The Murderbot Diaries have been shortlisted or won Alex, Locus, Nebula, BSFA, and Hugo Awards, culminating in 2021 with the novel Network Effect winning the Nebula and Hugo awards for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel while The Murderbot Diaries as a whole won the Hugo Award for Best Series.
Wells’s powerful and believable worldbuilding and fictional societies are assisted by her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology, and she has written nonfiction about the women of Doctor Who; the ups and downs of a long career; and magic systems, the environment, and non-humans. She lives in the USA in Texas with her husband.