Why Attend a Con in 2013?

+Rebecca Blain is only my second guest blogger here, and I wanted to be sure I properly introduced her.

A fantasy novelist and freelancer, Rebecca has recently fallen in love with calligraphy and started a thriving Google+ community, Writing Resources. A no-nonsense supporter of her fellow writers, Rebecca inspires others to keep writing, and occasionally develops a pen fetish when procrastinating.
Her post below makes me want to attend World Fantasy Con, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until it’s in the US. I’m pleased to introduce you to Rebecca in this final post of 2012.

This is a Wordle created from the 2012, 2013, 2014 and main WFC websites.

Why Attend a Con?

2012 has been a big year in the Science Fiction and Fantasy world — a big year for the publishing world as a whole, for that matter.

The Big Six has been whittled down to the Big Five. (I still think they should have named the company House of Penguins or Random Penguin.) World Fantasy Convention has come and gone. National Novel Writing Month is nothing more than a memory. (To which some of us are heaving sighs of relief.)

World Fantasy Con

This year, I went to my first major writing convention, World Fantasy Con. It was an eye-opening experience, and I really recommend that lovers of science fiction and fantasy go at least once. There are writers, readers, and publishers all mixing together in a way that encourages the creative spirit and kindles the love of reading. For those who love the smell and feel of books, it is a paradise similar to that of a book store…

…except that the bookstores don’t give you a bag of books and tell you to have fun and go home with them.

I’ve been to science fiction and fantasy conventions before, but not large scale ones, and not ones dedicated to the craft and love of books in this genre. There was very little of a science fiction showing (which is good since the science fiction folks have their own gathering!) but there were plenty of lovers there too.

I really, really recommend going to it at least once. If I could afford to fly to Great Britain, I’d go in 2013. Sadly, my budget doesn’t allow for it. That, plus I’ve never been on a plane before. Helicopters I’ve been on twice, but never a plane. It’s almost become a badge of pride!

Tips When Attending a Con

That said, if you’re going to World Fantasy Con, prepare to ship a lot of books home with you if you aren’t driving yourself there. I ended up with over 40 novels in my bags. A pain in the tail to transport, but worth it! So worth it!

But the books weren’t what made me love World Fantasy Con so much. It was the people. I’ve met a few folks at a small convention in Montreal, and I was really happy to see them again at World Fantasy Con. I got to talk with my writing idols, and I even got my picture taken with her after chatting about jewelry and another assortment of subjects. You could have defenestrated me, driven my body on a sharp and pointy fence, then drawn and quartered me, and I don’t think I would have complained very much.

For writers, there are a lot of craft panels and discussions that happen at these conventions. For readers, you get a chance to meet your idols. Worth the price tag? I think so, even if you only get a chance to go once.

Just remember one thing if you do decide to go to one of these conventions: It isn’t the convention itself that makes it a fantastic experience, but rather the people that you meet when you go. This is why I love this genre. Everyone was super friendly, everyone wanted to be there, and everyone loved books.

It reminded me that readers and writers share a common thing. We both love to read books, and they both love to have their creativity and imagination tantalized with new places. That alone was worth the obscene amount of money it cost to go to the convention, and it will be one of the driving reasons why I will endeavor to go again as soon as I can.

You can find Rebecca on Google+, Twitter, and Authonomy.

Though this post was created in 2012, I still find it just as relevant today, in 2016. To get reminders when I’ll be at conventions, plus free short stories, previews of my upcoming work, and more, join my newsletter.