If you write, start planning to attend GenCon Indy this August

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When I attended GenCon Indy for TeleRead last year, I interviewed a number of self-publishing authors, game industry execs, and other people with interesting stories to tell. I’ve posted a few of these, but life has been so busy over the last few months that I have had a hard time getting around to doing most of them. I’m going to try to change that in the weeks to come. I’ve got another interview transcribed and posting later tonight.

That being said, it’s worth noting that if you’re wanting to come to GenCon in Indianapolis this year, August 14th through 17th, it’s a good time to start planning ahead. (Actually, the best time to start planning ahead is shortly after the last one ends. I gather it can be tricky to find a hotel room near the convention center by this point.) And as I’ve said before, you might not think it at first glance but GenCon is an excellent convention for writers—be they traditionally-published, small-press, self-published, or aspiring to one of those—to attend, to network, to promote, and to learn.

There’s a whole area of the great big main room set aside for writers to interact with fans and convention-goers, and each other. And 50,000 people come to the con every year; if you only meet a small fraction of them, that’s still hundreds or thousands of potential customers.

It’s a good event for learning more about your craft, too. The GenCon Writers Symposium has a lot of interesting and useful panels to offer on all aspects of the writing and publishing process, and many expert writers who’ve been there before. Jim Butcher is the writer guest of honor this year, but there are plenty of others there too. And it turns out that Indianapolis has been voted the number one city for conventions by a USA Today poll. I can believe it!

And here’s another interesting bit of news: a downtown bicycle rental program is launching this month, allowing visitors to pay $8 for 24 hours of unlimited 30-minute bike checkouts. It’ll be great for getting around the downtown area, assuming the bikes don’t all get snatched up right away by conventiongoers.

And what’s more, I live here now, just a couple of miles away from the convention center. If any TeleRead readers plan to be in town, let me know and perhaps we could meet for lunch. By the time August rolls around, I should be quite familiar with all the best spots.

4 Comments on If you write, start planning to attend GenCon Indy this August

  1. It’ll be my first time at GenCon, but I’m incredibly excited to attend both as a gamer, author, and freelance writer. I’ll definitely be at the Writers Symposium, both in the audience and on a couple panels and am boggled by the line-up of other authors and can’t wait to meet a good number of game developers and publishers I’ve been working with!

  2. GenCon writers track is a wonderful place for authors. I went 2 years ago and am going again this year.
    This time we have one of the close hotels which makes it even easier.
    I keep impatiently checking the writers events page to see what I can sign up for.

  3. It is even possible to get any sort of meaningful interaction at these Megacons? I used to attend a 17,000 person industry con and although I did end up talking to many people nothing really ever went anywhere since everyone is having the same massive number of single serving meetings that you are and the overall result is a wash. Yeah if you have a booth and are trying to sell things to consumers that can make sense, but Megacons are just so impersonal that I am sure I more use out of hours of face to face interaction with a few writers at a 200 person con than I would being one of 5000 people in some writing panel in Hall A watching a more famous writer.

  4. Networking at these events is all about making connections, trading business cards, talking to the other person long enough to prove you’re a real person. Once you have their card, you can follow up with them after the event via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or whatever, saying, “Hey, remember me, we met at GenCon…” and get into actual discussions.

    And even aside from that, most of the authors I interviewed at their booths on the exhibition hall floor said that that getting to meet and talk with their readers was a very valuable experience for them.

    And apart from that, it can be a lot of fun just to wander around the place and enjoy the sensory overload. Where else can you mix business and pleasure like that? :)

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