And it was AWESOME! I would gladly go again, if my finances could afford it. (That was the advantage of it being here in KC this year, I could attend and not worry about travel/lodging costs.)
First, everyone there was so freakin’ NICE! Authors, readers, aspiring writers, publishing folk, I didn't meet a single person who wasn't completely welcoming and helpful. Especially after they found out it was my first con, ‘cause I think I looked a bit lost at times, and someone always came along to adopt me. (Con lesson learned: If you stand in one place long enough, someone cooler than you will come along and tell you what to do with your life)
Second, the panels there were very interesting! I attended quite a few on self-publishing, given my plans for the JJD series, and I learned a whole lot. I’m not sure all the advice applies to me and my specific situation, but it still gave me some very interesting things to mull over. As one presenter said, there are many roads to Oz, and Oz means different things for different people. I attended a few craft panels too, usually because someone I knew was either attending or presenting, and I always felt like I learned something.
The panel I was actually on was great! First off, I was up there with Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kittredge, Margaret Stohl and Jeaniene Frost, and the amazing Nicole Peeler was moderating. Seriously, if you haven’t read any of these fabulous ladies, you and I can no longer be friends. Run out and rectify that situation immediately. We had a huge crowd, they were involved, they asked awesome questions, and I didn't make an ass of myself. Always a plus. In reality, I would happily do panels again, it was HUGELY fun.
When there wasn't an actual event going on (or I just needed time to decompress for a bit), I spent hours just sitting and talking to people. It really is true that almost everyone will pass through the hotel bar at some point or another. I met a good chunk of the League of Reluctant Adults in person for the first time, and hung out with John Scalzi who is just sweet and charming and super-duper nice. I also made some really great new friends (and found new books that I’ll just HAVE to read), just by striking up conversations with total strangers. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that that in and of itself was an accomplishment. Also, no one seemed to care if I wandered around a bit starstruck. I fully admit, I fangirled all over some folk. (I told Diana Rowland I loved her. Seriously.)
There were multi-published, NYT bestselling authors there, standing next to debut authors with one book out, standing next to self-publishers, standing next to aspiring writers, standing next to readers who just want to love the books. Do you know how cool it was to just walk past groups of people sitting in the lobby and overhear in-depth discussions of plot devices, or current books, or character tropes, or…? It was writing/reading paradise.
So what did it all mean?
No idea. Other folk have sounded off on things about the con, and since they’ve been to more than one, I’ll leave it to them to make the really deep judgments on it. However, I know that I had a really great time, made a ton of new friends, and learned so much my brain is still buzzing with it. It was totally worth the money I spent to attend, and I’m really envious of everyone who is already planning to attend next year in New Orleans.
I have enacted what I call the “lottery ticket caveat”. If I win the lottery between now and next year’s RT, I will definitely be there. Other than that, it’s pretty iffy, and I will watch Twitter with great longing while it’s going on.