Yesterday, David talked about the benefits of cons to would-be-published writers. I’ve been to small local cons, big metropolitan cons and writing workshops, and there’s much to be said for each one. I remember when I was first published – I hoped that I’d start being invited to appear at cons and have every dime of my way paid, from air fare and hotel to meals and passes for my husband. Discovering that one doesn’t get all those perks was a bit of a letdown. You’ll usually get one – a free pass for your spouse is the most common perk I’ve been offered. But rarely do the cons have enough working capital to pay the full way for anyone except their guests of honor. Which means that cons can be an expensive proposition. So why do we do them?
Because they’re fun.
Sounds simple, I know. And yes, as adults, we’re supposed to be mature and responsible and we’re certainly not supposed to have any fun if it costs too much or takes up time that could be better spent working. Sometimes a con or a writing workshop is the only chance writers get to hang out with their peers and have a good time with people who think the same way they do. Most people need only look over the edge of their cubicles or wander to another office to find a professional colleague with whom they can commiserate. Writers work alone. We sometimes go out to the grocery store just to remember what other people look like. And if we are employed outside the house, the people we work with don’t usually understand our profession, and don’t know what to ask us anyway. So cons are perfect chances for us to meet up, both professionally and personally. I usually come home with all sorts of story fragments, promotional opportunities, and business cards. Lord help me, the business cards! I collect them from people who’ve agreed to be guests here on MW, or who’ve asked me to submit to an anthology, or want me to join in a blog tour. The connections I make are worth their weight in gold.
The thing is, we’re all doing professional stuff while having fun at it. I was a fan long before I was published, so when I go to cons, I’m trying to blend my pro image and my fan personality. I let my geek girl flag fly, and I’m proud of it. I wear pirate garb, not so much to advertise my book as to enjoy myself, because pirate clothes are cool. I shop in the dealer room and go to other peoples’ panels and drink in the bar and squeal over writers I adore. One anthology invite I received at a party.
DragonCon is coming, and I’m very excited. I’ll pay for my hotel, and for the gas to drive down, and for the food. I’ve spent money on new steampunk garb to wear one day. And I don’t regret a dime of it, because I’m going to meet people I’d have no chance of meeting otherwise, and spend time with dear writer friends I can only ever get to see at events like this.
Speaking of working and having fun at the same time, DragonCon is a big, busy, exciting place, and sometimes finding each other is an adventure. So I’m throwing a Misty Hunt! If you can find me during the Con, you’ll win a free copy of my e-book, “A Road, A Cask and a Little Therapy”. All you have to do is locate me, and take a picture of the QR code I’ll be wearing (if you don’t have a camera on your phone, never fear – you can still win.) Come to my panels, see me at Booths 100-102, or just chase me through the halls. I’ll attempt to post clues if the internet connection permits, telling you what I’m wearing that day or where I happen to be hanging out – if you find me, you win!
I’d love it if folks would boost the signal. I want to be found!