I just came off a three day convention called FyreCon in Layton, Utah. Next week some friends of mine will be at LibertyCon in Chattanooga, Tennessee without me. The following week I will be at SpikeCon in Utah which is a combination of Westercon 72, NASFiC 2019, 1632 Minicon, & Manticon 2019. I'll also be at a local writer's mini conference a couple weeks later, then I'll be to a Wizarding Dayz event in Logan, Utah in July. I'm also President Elect of the League of Utah Writers, so our Quills Conference is in August. It's convention season.
I go to these conventions for several reasons, and the reasons can vary from one event to the next just like they vary from one person to the next. Some are fan conventions based on movies, comics, or other media. Some are geared specifically to writers or other creative types. As an author, I go to meet fans, meet old friends, make new friends, and to network.
For example, I had dinner last week with Philo Barnhard, the creator of Ariel of Little Mermaid fame, and Charles Moisant (a friend of Philo's) who is the creative director at SilverPhoenix.net. I'd met them earlier in the year at FanX in Salt Lake City, so it was fun to see them again. It was also an opportunity for me to talk to Charles about some writing for one of his projects. I think that's pretty cool. I also got to teach a class again with Lyn Worthen who has been part of the writing community for a lot longer than me.
I also had Scott Bascom, a fellow Hundred Worlds author, stop by to chat at FyreCon. We've been friends for a couple of years now, so it was good to catch up on things and brainstorm some writing ideas tied to Cannon Publishing.
Fans attend for their own reasons, but there's some overlap. Meet friends. Meet authors, artists, and stars from film and TV. Show off costumes. Buy books and art, get photos taken, and find cool new toys.
When you go to these conventions, plan your time carefully and make sure you have some down-time to retain your sanity. At FyreCon I had three solo classes, a team-teaching class, two panels, and a book signing. That's actually a light schedule compared to what I did at the last LTUE convention in Provo, Utah. At FyreCon I also attended some classes as a student, but I had to reserve time for food trips to keep my wife Kelly fed while she ran the bookstore table where she's signed up a bunch of authors to share table space.
I was on one panel with Martin Shoemaker whom I've seen online for a while, so it was wonderful to discover we're kindred spirits. Both software engineers. Both fans of science in general. Common opinions on artificial intelligence (our panel topic), and we could probably talk for hours without annoying each other. That's really something when introverts can do that.
The net result is that you should plan to have fun, meet lots of people, hang out with friends, and take advantage of new opportunities to learn or to network with peers. Don't forget to have fun. People often find what they look for, so look for a great experience.
Stop by and see if you can find Cannon authors at conventions near you. There are enough of us that it's getting easier all the time. I hit most of the events in Utah and occasionally in the neighboring states. Others have their local haunts or the bigger conventions that draw people in from across the country and sometimes from across the world.