Realm Makers Brings Over 500 Creators to St. Louis for Twelfth Annual Conference

Fans can meet top Christian fantasy authors at the Book Festival on July 20.
on Jul 8, 2024 · No comments

ST. LOUIS—Hundreds of fantastical authors and fans will stream into the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel when the Realm Makers conference returns this July 18–20.

During the event, authors of fantasy, sci-fi, and genres beyond will get professional training from all-star faculty at the popular faith-based conference. Yet on Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m., organizers will open doors for a public Book Festival.


Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel
191 Westport Plaza
St. Louis, Mo. 63146

and livestreaming on the RealmSphere


starts Thursday, July 18
concludes Saturday, July 20

“At the festival, readers and fans can connect with authors who write speculative fiction from a Christian perspective,” said marketing director JJ Johnson. “Featuring award-winning authors and top industry writers, we proudly present a wide range of genres, including science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, middle grade, and YA.”

Anyone can browse the Exhibit Hall and meet favorite storytellers, including award-winners and bestsellers in the growing market for Christian-made fantastical fiction.

The Book Festival is preceded by Friday’s Realm Awards banquet. At this ticketed dinner, over 500 storytellers will celebrate their favorite characters with cosplay. Meanwhile, conference organizers recognize the best 2023 releases in several categories for the best genre novels, audio fiction, and other stories, including the final award for Book of the Year. Winner names will be posted later that evening.

“The Realm Awards banquet is the culmination of three suspenseful rounds of judging, whittling hundreds of entries down just five contenders in each genre or audience category,” said Realm Makers co-owner and COO Scott Minor. “Winning a Realm Award not only validates the author’s dedication and creativity but also opens up significant opportunities to reach new readers. Award-winning authors and their books are introduced to readers as the Realm Makers Bookstore travels to homeschool conferences and book festivals all over the country.”

Event registration is open at Attendees can attend in person or livestream the conference on the RealmSphere, a dedicated social network.

At every Realm Makers conference, attendees renew deep friendships with fellow authors while networking with industry professionals. New York Times bestsellers mingle with aspiring creators, giving advice and mentoring, while many authors meet with agents and editors to pitch books. Representatives from general market and Christian publishers attend Realm Makers to find the best new fiction talents.

Organizers say next year’s conference will be even bigger. Coming in summer 2025, the Realm Makers Expo will cross over with other groups, including the Christian Game Developers Conference, Nerd Culture Ministry Summit, Love Thy Nerd, Geeks Under Grace, and Christian Board Gamers.

Three keynote speakers will share their wisdom

At this July’s event, three fiction industry veterans will share keynote address duties:

Allen Arnold is an author, speaker, and executive producer of content for Wild at Heart, the worldwide ministry founded by New York Times–bestselling author John Eldredge. As the founding fiction publisher of Thomas Nelson, he oversaw the launch of more than 500 novels. He now helps creatives live better stories by helping them pursue their dreams and gifting actively with God. Arnold is the author of five acclaimed books: The Story of With, Chaos Can’t, Waves of Creativity, The Eden Option, and his newest release, Risk the Real.

Carla Hoch wrote the Writer’s Digest book Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes. Her blog,, has been named in Writer’s Digest Top Websites for Writers four years in a row and is a two-time CAN Gold Crown Award winner. Carla is a Writer’s Digest University instructor, a writer for the WD blog, and a correspondent for Rolling Times magazine. She teaches the craft of writing fight scenes as well as the mechanics of fighting for writers. Carla is a world champion jujitsu fighter with experience in almost a dozen fighting styles.

Chris Skaggs is founder and chief operations officer of Soma Games, which makes artistically excellent games for people who may never go to church, but find themselves having fun while pondering eternal things. His related ministry, Soma SoulWorks, produces teaching and podcasts to reach young adult creatives, especially working in arts and entertainment. Chris is an Intel Black Belt recipient and frequent speaker at mobile and game-developer conferences.

Top creators teaching at Realm Makers 2024

Arnold, Hoch, and Skaggs will join other expert faculty to train upcoming writers:

  • Nadine Brandes, dystopian and fantasy novelist as well as editor
  • Amy Michelle Carpenter, publisher of Monster Ivy Publishing
  • Julie Hall, USA Today–bestselling YA paranormal/fantasy author
  • James R. Hannibal, spy thriller and fantasy novelist, Lightraiders developer
  • Rowena Kuo, CEO/executive editor/producer of Brimstone Fiction
  • Steve Laube, literary agency president and publisher of Enclave Publishing
  • Donald Maass, founder of Donald Maass Literary Agency
  • Lisa Mangum, managing editor for Shadow Mountain Publishing
  • Steve Nedvidek, award-winning graphic novel creator and cartoonist
  • Kara Swanson, fantasy author, Author Conservatory co-founder

Visit for more event information, including registration links, full lists of faculty members, conference fees, available classes, and award categories.

About Realm Makers: Realm Makers began in 2013, and from small origins has grown to serve thousands of Christian fiction authors online and at annual conferences. Faculty members have included bestselling novelists such as Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, C. J. Redwine, James L. Rubart, Brent Weeks, and N. D. Wilson. Realm Makers exists to help creative Christians in their journeys, providing education in craft, connections with industry professionals, and strategies for finding readers who love these kinds of stories. Meanwhile, the Realm Makers Bookstore offers a curated collection of speculative fiction from Christian authors, traveling to events such as homeschool conventions and book festivals.

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