To Con or Not to Con

David Mullin

I used to attend MacWorld regularly, well at least when I was living in Boston, and before they moved the East Coast version to New York City. The only other conventions I've attended were Wizard Con in Sacramento a couple of years ago and the last two Babscons in San Francisco, although I was more of a chaperone for my daughter to Babscon then an attendee. Me and my two daughters woke up early to try and get tickets to this years Comic Con in San Diego but we got shut out. Other than these experiences, I've never really attended a Con, at least not a proper Fantasy Con such as Dragon Con or World Con. My question is, do authors really need to attend these things?

I know it is highly recommended to do so in order to network and meet fellow writers and editors but I know myself and if I go to these things by myself there's a chance I'll just sit in the corner alone not talking to anyone. I do have one related experience that does fly in the face of this fear: in 2012 I attended the first and only Google Plus Photographers Conference. I went by myself and ended up meeting a great group of photographers who I'm still friends with to this day. So it would seem that my biggest fear has no merit, so why am I still trepidatious?

Money is definitely a factor. Now that I'm not working and writing full time, I have no income and what I have left from my previous job I'm saving for editors and illustrators. Those are definitely priorities but should I elevate attending World Con or Dragon Con into that realm of necessity for the betterment of my career? I can only assume the correct answer is different for everyone depending on where they are in their careers and what they're looking to get out of the Con.

I think for this first year into full time writing I will concentrate on keeping my head down and putting out a short story and a novel before the end of the year. Perhaps by the Con season next year I will be ready and willing to fully participate feel like I have something to offer.