As I posted last week, I went down to Boston for the weekend to attend Boskone. For those of you who don't know, Boskone is the regional science fiction convention for the northeast. There were about 1500 people there. As opposed to conventions like Comic Con, the programming skews more toward writing and media, and it had a number of big name authors there. (Besides me, of course.)
Why do I go to conventions? For a number of reasons. First and foremost, I go to meet new people, which is kind of odd, since I don't normally enjoy meeting new people. I like knowing people, not getting to know them--if that makes sense. Why would an author want to meet new people? They're your potential readers, for one thing. There's also a great deal to be said for networking--so much of writing is a solitary pursuit. It's nice to be able to get out there and rub elbows with other writers from time to time. It helps to be able to ask other people questions when you get stumped yourself. And authors like to scratch each other's backs. That's maybe one of the things I like most about meeting other writers--most people really want other people to succeed. At least it feels that way to me. The more people read your book, the more readers there are, which is nothing but a good thing.
Who did I meet at this con? A veritable cornucopia of individuals--so many that I'm sure I'll forget some of them if I try to name them all. (Seriously--I just tried to write them down, but then I stopped myself, since I knew I'd never get them all. I would totally fail at giving my acceptance speech at the Oscars.)Let's just say I've added ten people or so to my Twitter follow list, a list which normally doesn't grow that quickly.
So there's the hobnobbing with other authors. There's also the chance to meet other fans--always a plus. And when you live out in the restaurant boonies like I do, there's also the chance to eat ethnic food. This time out I got in some Mexican (always a necessity), but the highlight was definitely Ethiopian food with my agent and his posse of authors. (We really ought to get some kind of matching leather jackets when we sign with JABberwocky. Because that would be awesome.) Up until this weekend, I had no idea Ethiopian food had its own cuisine, let alone that I would like it.
I like it, my friends.
I like it a lot.
If you're ever in Boston, you need to go to Asmara's. Get the 21. (What is Ethiopian food like? They serve it on these big flat breads called Injera, which is kind of like the lovechild of bread and a pancake. You rip off pieces of the bread and use it to pinch up food. So you get to eat with your hands, which makes it that much more awesome.
I need to go back.
Another big plus of cons is being able to go to panels and hear experts in the field speak. This was more useful to me a few years ago, when I hadn't been to as many panels. (Go to enough of these, and you start hearing the same advice. The trick is actually following it.) I tried to get on some panels myself, but didn't commit to actually going to the con until it was too late. Next year.
Was Boskone different than the other cons I've been to? Well, my experience was a very different one. In the past, I've always gone to cons with friends. This is the first one where I went knowing practically no one. It really helped to have my agent there and get to know some of his other authors--once I had some friends at the con, things became ever so much cheerier. But as far as cons go, this one was like many. Less Mormony than Utah cons, not as big as World Con, but still a con.
I had a fantastic time.