I went to my first con in 2010 after years of fearing they were just for weird fanatical people who lived in pointed ears and giggled firing their plastic blaster guns. I was determined to change my course, and shedding fear of the unknown or the thinking that people would look at me funny for not being one of them. By then my kids were old enough so now I had an excuse to go! I have not looked back since.
There are, of course, the multitudes of costumes and comic books and various celebrities giving talks and signing stuff, and it was all very exciting. There are booths for getting autographs and other booths for getting photographs, and the “talent” can often be found at the booths and can be very friendly – bonus! I've found a whole world of fun that was hard to imagine existed, like Star Trek Continues, the ultimate fan recreation of the original TOS that premiered in 2012. Very cool.
And then there are the many authors who give their time to share some wisdom with the audience, and if the author has a booth in the vendor hall you can pick up a copy of their book. Sounds like a sales ploy, yeah maybe but what's really cool is that the authors have been very willing to sign any book you buy. James A. Owen (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series) even draws dragons in his while signing. It's always fascinating to go to the various panel discussions and pick up tips on writing and the writing industry as a whole. This past year I was able to talk with Jon S. Lewis (C.H.A.O.S. Series) who provided a different and unexpected take on why he writes.
What are just a few of the things I came away with from the three cons I've been to so far:
1.Writing is much more a business to some authors
2.Most major agents know each other
3.Certain weapons can change your book's age rating
4.Most authors are open and generous about their craft
5.Buying a $5.95 (or was it $7.95? I forget) paperback grants you about two minutes of personal time.
6.Some authors talk more what they think than what they know and that's okay for those who don't take notes. ;)
7.There are a lot of would-be authors following each other like a zombie horde.
And what better way to relax after a day of dream chasing than at the Geek Prom benefiting Kids Need to Read program?