I spent last week hanging out at the 74th annual WorldCon in Kansas City, Mo. While this was one of the most fun events I have ever attended, it did come with the price of making me incredibly behind on all of my work (including writing on this blog) so I apologize that I have not been that active. I met a ton of people and attended many great panels. The big thing that I noticed was that it was somewhat terrifying.
I had never been to a Con before also, I went to WorldCon by myself, so I didn’t have a wise mentor figure that could guide me through the wilds of my first Science Fiction Fantasy Convention. Given the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, I still had a blast. The big take aways that I picked up were the following:
Try to Talk to People: This is a lot easier said than done, but I noticed that I really started enjoying the event when I decided to stop being a baby, and say, “How are you doing today?” to the random guy standing next to me in line. It turns out that many people have very similar interests (we all were at the same convention after all) and it makes it pretty easy to talk. I ended up making some awesome friends, and it definitely added worth to the whole experience.
Don’t be a Weirdo: This one was pretty hard for me since I have the social skills of a defective toaster. I noticed that everyone responded better to the people who acted normal than the ones who tried to talk in a period-accurate accent. By trying to suppress my inborn toasterness, I ended up meeting a few Tor authors and got invited to a party later that night.
Go to the Parties: Even if you don’t drink, this is where you really get to network with industry professionals. I ended up drinking with several famous authors, agents, and award winning writers because I put myself in the position where I could meet them. I met a wonderful mystery writer, who introduced me to her agent, (who happens to also represent my favorite author) and now the agent wants me to send him some of my work. He gave me his card, so when I do submit to him, I don’t have to go through the slush pile, I can e-mail him directly. This is one of several examples that happened at that one party.
Don’t Focus on Yourself: Connect with other people. One of the coolest things I realized is that even the famous authors, who I’ve idealized, are people too. The only way to find this out is to ask questions about them. Don’t just focus on the people who can help out your career either. If I hadn’t talked to the random people sitting next to me at a panel, I never would have met any of the agents, editors, or writers that they introduced me to later. (The random guy was a Tor author, but I didn’t know it at the time.) If you only focus on what others can do for you, you might miss out on some opportunities.
Have fun. My favorite part of the entire convention was the adventure. It was a completely new experience, and I cannot wait to do it again. If you ever have the chance, please attend one. I know that this post wasn’t that helpful, but I have a ton of notes and many of the upcoming notes are going to be focused on what I learned at the panels. I hope that everyone is having a fantastic day, and I am looking forward to hearing from you.