I’m a little late in writing this, but better late than never! I attended the 73rd WorldCon in Spokane, WA a couple of weeks ago and it was one of the best experiences of my writing career (so far). This post will cover the trip, some of the people I met, the panels I attended, the books I had signed, the readings I heard, and last but not least, photos of some of the experiences! I’ll also be doing a series of posts in the coming weeks to describe my path to WorldCon, which will hopefully help you if you’re considering attending your first WorldCon as a writer! I am avoiding politics in this post, as it is about my experiences specifically, and I don't feel that I have enough to bring to the political field that were the Hugo awards and other goings on. However, if you are interested in that topic, Wired has a great summary of everything that happened there.
WorldCon was at the Spokane Convention Center right downtown in Spokane, WA. Thankfully it’s only a two hour drive for me so getting there was easy. Unfortunately there are a lot of wild fires burning in the state right now and things were quite smokey on the way in.
Wednesday I mostly focused on getting into the hotel, registering for the con, and attending my first panel!
The panel I attended was all about contracts. I am now sure, more than ever, that I don't want to be a lawyer. (Glad we covered that). The panel focused on how, as an author, you want to make sure that the contract is in your best interest where of course, the publisher is writing the contract to be in theirs. Some really handy info from the author Mike Resnick and literary agent Joshua Bilmes.
The rest of the day Wednesday was mostly getting settled in, exploring the dealers' room, etc. I also attended several parties Wednesday night including First Night and the location bid parties for the contenders in the 2017 WorldCon bid. I have to say, while there was free booze, the parties were tough to attend on my own.
Oh, and Wednesday/Thursday also looked like the world was going to end in Spokane.
That's the sun btw, not the moon, and that is an unfiltered look at the sky. The smoke was terrible.
Thursday was a day full of panels. I got a lot out of the day, attending a self publishing panel, a live Ditch Diggers recording (if you aren't listening to Ditch Diggers, you should be!), a panel on writing diverse characters in SFF, and a reading from Brandon Sanderson from the 3rd Stormlight archive book! Thursday night also saw a drinks with authors event, at which I won an ARC (advanced reading copy) of Paul Cornel's new novela, Witches of Lychford, from TOR.com. I also got a chance to meet chat with Dan Wells and Brandon Sanderson for a few minutes. Again, this was a tough thing to go to on my own. I recognized a LOT of my favorite authors here, but the authors weren't really chatting it up with the crowd, and it was tough to get into conversations. I left fairly quickly.
Friday was an amazing day. I had a chance to pitch my novel to an agent and editor at sponsored pitching sessions. This was a fairly large, nervous part of the con for me, but both of these conversations went very well! I also had a chance to see Writing Excuses recorded live on Friday...
...and in fact they recorded three episodes with Gail Carriger, Kevin J. Anderson, and Charlie N. Holmberg. Super cool to see how they put these together! Mur Lafferty also organized an I Should be Writing meetup on Friday, so I got to meet her and Matt Wallace. And, bonus, Matt read from his upcoming novela Envy of Angels which sounded amazing. I've already pre-ordered it over at Amazon and you should too!
Friday also saw the chance for me to play Magic the Gathering with Brandon Sanderson! I was terrible. But I got to play MTG (a win), against Brandon Sanderson (a super win), he signed a card for me, AND I got to go hang out at the bar with some new friends I met at the con. All in all, an excellent day.
Nothing terribly exciting happened Saturday and Sunday. I spent most of those days perusing the dealer room and meeting authors, having books singed, and attending panels. I also had a chance to chat about my work with a number of authors and people in the publishing industry. It was less about pitching, and more about getting to know people. I got to watch the Hugo awards with a great bunch of people (including Matt Wallace). THEN on Sunday, I got to listen to Mur Lafferty read from three of her upcoming projects, all of which sound super cool. In fact, I got to meet LOTS of people that were there selling their books.
All in all, I think WorldCon was worth every cent and the time I spent there. I am not sure I will go again as a non-professional writer. Not unless it's once again in a city that is within driving distance. The cost of attending + flight + hotel + vacation seems prohibitive for me to go without a real purpose. However, given the location and the experiences I had, I loved it.
I met a TON of authors in person, including:
Brandon Sanderson Howard Taylor Dan Wells Charlie N. Holmberg Gail Carriger Mur Lafferty Matt Wallace Kameron Hurley Wesley Chu
That's not counting all of the amazing northwest talent I met from the Oregon/Washington/Idaho/Alaska area.
I came back so energized and excited that I cannot wait to experience another con in the future. I'm hoping to hit GenCon in Indiana next summer (thanks to family being there and combining trips). So, hopefully more coming on that in the spring. I'm hoping that Mary Robinette Kowal in particular will be out and about at some point as well, so I can get the last signature on my Writing Excuses Anthology, Shadows Beneath.
OH. Right. And I officially started writing book 2. That was pretty fun as well.