So I didn’t go to BEA or bookcon this year. I’ve been to both before, and with everything else going on, the travel just wasn’t in the budget. But watching events on social media, I always rather wish I could.
I met my boyfriend at a convention in 2006 that I attended on a whim (I was working at the mall at the time, and literally had to force my manager to change the schedule he’d already made for the next week because I bought plane tickets on my lunch break!). So every time, I look if it’s realistic to pull off.
It’s not the books that lure me. Yes, they’re nice, but honestly, most of them I’d probably buy anyway, and they’re cheaper total than the conventions usually are. It’s getting to put faces with names. Meeting up with Brenda at the RWA bar, chatting with an editor of Tamora Pierce’s books at BEA, there’s something special about meeting people at conventions.
I’m an introvert, so for me, meeting new people is always an adventure far more frightening than any trip out of state, and rather intimidating. The trick? People are never paying as much attention to you as they are to themselves. So whenever I feel self conscious, I err on the side of just owning it with a self depreciating laugh. I know I can come across as arrogant sometimes, and if people heard half the self-censoring that goes on in my head, they’d think I’m very insecure. Finding that balance is an ongoing struggle for me, always. It’s why I love when I get to a convention with someone I already know. They will call me out if I say anything too stupid, and just knowing I have someone in my corner relaxes me. Even if I make only a few new connections at a convention, it’s worth it. I can only end up more comfortable, more confident, with every con!
Do you have any tricks for conventions? Any favorite convention memories?