Is It Con Yet?


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!


15 comments to Is It Con Yet?

  • Misty – do you use Foursquare? Or do you want to make it a little tougher on people to find you? With Foursquare you can “check in” to various places on your smartphone. I’m sure I’ll see you in a bar sometime this week. Between my kilt and your pirate gear we should be quite the pair!

  • I am so excited I’m nearly sick! I spent enough on this con to buy a used car. A *good* used car. Or do some repair on the house. Or take a *really* nice vacation. And like you, I don’t regret it at all. My new vests are awesome and the jewelry I made just for the con is scrumptious. More importantly, I get to see my writer friends. I’m sure I’ll be shellshocked by the crowds (I’m a shy, small town tomboy at heart), and I’ll be lost half the time. Don’t care. Because I get hang with my pals.

    We need to take LOTS of pics and need to put them up here next week!
    Oh yeah!

  • I will be jealously think of you all having a great time. 😛

  • Oh Misty, that is an amazing idea!! How fun!

    Faith, I think I’ve also spent enough already to buy a nice used car. I’ve also learned to silkscreen . . . But I’ll have t-shirts at the booth! LOL

  • I’m excited about it, too. I know where Misty will be at least some of the time (since she’ll be with me) and I’m happy to share that knowledge for a price — say a fifth of Balvenie….

  • Beatriz

    Is it con yet?

    For once I spent very little (other than hotel, food and gas) for a con.

    Then I found spider jewelry I had to have and someone *cough*Misty*cough* didn’t talk me back from the ledge on buying it.

    I plan on spending my con money this trip in the dealer room. And on good food. And the bar. And autographs. Books. Lots of books so I have something to get autographed.

  • John, no, I’m not using Foursquare. I still like the illusion of no one knowing where I am all the time. But at D*Con, I’ll be happy to be found!

    I can’t wait to see all of you! And Stuart, we’ll be missing you.

  • Cindy

    So as a Washington state girl, is Dragon Con always on Labor day Weekend?
    Sounds like I am missing a lot of fun.

  • Cindy, yes, it’s always Labor Day weekend. Which also happens to be a big football weekend in Atlanta. It’s worth coming to town, even if you do have to fly a long way to get there!

  • Someday I’ll make it to Dragon Con…but I’m a Washington state girl too…long way to fly on such a popular travel weekend right after a hurricane.

    I count cons as vacation time. I get to stay in a hotel (for the most part), I get to meet interesting people, I get to see friends. Definitely vacation time.

  • Hope you have a great time! One of my favorite bands, Paul and Storm, is going to be there. They’re podcasting live from DragonCon.

  • Could you all please tell us where your tables are located? Everything at this con is megasized so you can completely miss someone your are looking for, they could even be in another hotel, not just on a different floor.

    Most of you know us, so be on the lookout for us as well.

  • Misty, have a great time at the gang. Dragon Con isn’t a go for this year, but hoping to meet you all at ConCarolinas next year.

    Have fun storming the castle!

  • Our booth is 100 & 102 in the Marriott Marquis – Marquis Ballroom (go down the escalators to the Exhibit hall floor and go LEFT. When you enter the doors, our booth will be on the left side of the ballroom.) We’re listed as Tairen’s Lair and Georgia Fantasy Authors.

  • Alan Kellogg

    Since we’re talking about cons, I have this advice for anybody going to the World Fantasy Convention this year. October is santana time in San Diego, which means hot, dry weather. So be sure to bring a bathing suit, and bottles of water.

    Turns out I can’t make it (600 souls in the waiting list), but I am available if you’d like to get together at some venue close to the Town and Country.