Making the Most of Cons (and ArmadilloCon)

Howard Waldrop Reads Project Superman

Howard Waldrop reading issue 1 of Project Superman

I was just at ArmadilloCon over the weekend, and had a fabulous time of it. There’s an account of that, with sundry photos, on my Google+ page.

For me it was a pretty productive con – I connected with a few people that I definitely wanted to meet or see, I got a chance to hang out with some favorite peeps, I got a little writing done, and I did some career/work stuff that I wanted to get done. And I got the photo of Howard Waldrop with my brother and Gene Ha’s Project Superman.

Beforehand I did some stuff – I made a list of what I wanted to get accomplished, wrote to a couple people who I wanted to make sure to spend time with, and I went through the con program to identify some of the panels/features that I really didn’t want to miss. I also blocked in plenty of time for hanging at the bar, which I consider a crucial part of any con. I didn’t plan out every waking minute, to be sure, but I did make sure I knew what I wanted to do. I volunteered for programming and set up an individual reading as well as being part of the Broad Universe Rapidfire Reading.

This is, I think, the sort of thing you need to do if you’re going to cons and justifying the expenditure as work/career related rather than fun. Otherwise you end up sitting in your hotel room thinking that you should be doing something or being somewhere but not quite sure what.

Absolutely, cons are about friendships, that’s one of the more enjoyable aspects. But some you know a lot of folks at and others you have to push yourself a bit. I tend to retreat when around people I don’t know, but I’ve found that if I push myself out of my comfort zone some, I end up having a much better time.

If I’d been more diligent, I would have done the following:

  • Found the con organizers and thanked them. The con was well run and trouble free, and the panels were a nice mix.
  • Organized some sort of Broad Universe coffee or lunch meet-up, as well as something with the Codex peeps.
  • Gone through the dealers room and introduced myself, making sure book dealers had the card for my collection. I know no one had my book for sale, which was a little dampening, but I don’t know the best way to prevent that. Do folks write to dealers ahead of time in order to make sure they know where to get the books?

How do y’all prep for conventions? Or do you even bother about this sort of thing?

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 100+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com. Her short story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012.
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