So Dragoncon came and went and I figured I’d (re)start the Business Post by talking about the convention itself.

I’ve previously written about how there are two types of conventions really (or three, depending on how you count them). The business focused writer conventions (20booksto50k, NinC, Inkerscon, etc.) and the fan focused conventions (Dragoncon). 

Doing these conventions, your focus and how and what you want to do will vary. Now, Dragoncon is slightly different, because there are SOOO many authors (especially from the LitRPG/Progression Fantasy genre) involved that it has become basically a second (smaller) convention for writers. But there are some particulars in there that make it tricky.

Let me discuss all this with you.

Dragoncon – What it Is

So, what’s Dragoncon? It’s a fan convention that focuses on a wide variety of geeky pursuits, ranging from Scifi and Fantasy TV shows to Anime to writing to cosplay and everything in-between and outside.

It’s huge, though these years, it’s smaller after the pandemic (during the pandemic?) at around 60k I believe is the number I heard. 

It’s spread out over 5 hotels (Westin, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton and the Sheraton – sort of) and the AmericasMart for gaming and vendor hall. It’s huge. The vendor hall itself is 4 floors long, and there’s an art show and charity auction and more.

At the bottom of the Westin is ‘barcon’ where all the authors gather around and shoot the shit. We have a lot of that.

My Experience This Year

This year was particularly interesting. I had my very first signing at a convention and – as usual – had a ton of events. I had 9 panels, the Gather and a signing (total of 11 events) which meant I was slightly busier than the year before. 

New for me this year was the Gather where I brought books to sell and the signing (where Dragoncon arranged for a bookstore to bring in some books too!).

Unfortunately, because I had 5 events on Sunday, I couldn’t make it to the LitRPG Under the Sea event which was going on outside of Dragoncon in the acquarium hosted by Aleron and Matt Diniman and others. It would have been nice, but I literally could only make the last hour of it and it would have left me no time to chill out. Which, let me tell you, was necessary.

The signing itself was great, even if many of the direct LitRPG fans were at the event and I signed a bunch of books especially for the Nameless Restaurant at the signing and at other panels.

The panels themselves were mostly great, with some amazing panels. I did a few on Asian / East Asian inspired fiction that was very well attended, a couple of diversity panels where we got real about being POC or LGBTQ+ characters, etc. and then there were the usual LitRPG panels and some more random ones.

All in all, some great panels to do and I loved that everyone who learnt about the Nameless Restaurant, my cozy cooking fantasy were super enthused. And we managed to sell a TON of the book to others, even for the bookstore, which made me super happy.

Hopefully the LitRPG event if they do it again is better scheduled to not mess with Dragoncon schedules. Because, frankly, that’s why I’m there and I’m not really looking to do other events if possible. Dragoncon itself will always be my priority when I go down including the panels.

I did still mask when travelling through large crowds or if I had to travel or wait around for the most part, but I didn’t at Barcon. It’s too loud and even tryng to conserve my voice (and drinking a metric ton of water) I still have lost a lot of it.

So far, no COVID but we shall see.

The Authors

Let’s talk about meeting authors and barcon. It was / is strange for me, because unlike many of the LitRPG authors, I tend to have author friends outside of the genre who turn up to such events. So I end up being pulled in multiple directions. In this case, I had literally 4 major groups I wanted to chat with, some of whom crossed over a little and some who didn’t.

It all meant that I was often unable to chat as much with the LitRPG authors as I wanted. Because we’re such a close knit community, I get to chat with the LitRPG authors anyways if I want to, so I felt less need to do that at these events. 

All of which meant I spent less time than usual over at the LitRPG corner. 

Hah! Corner. There were quite a few times when the LitRPG corner became the bar. Like, there were at least 40+ LitRPG authors in attendance, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was 60+ in total. Aethon, MDP, Shadow Alley, many, many individual authors; etc. were all there. 

Overall, it was a huge gathering and a bunch of narrators including Neil Hellegers, Andrea Parsneau, Travis Baldree and Jeff Hays were around.

So much fun, especially to meet Travis in-person at last! And it was, mostly, quite well behaved. Now, part of that was enforced by the Westin staff who were overwhelmed and thus people couldn’t get a drink that easily; but I didn’t notice anyone getting completely shit-faced drunk (among the authors. Normal congoers… eh.).

The Contradiction

It is tricky though, because while Dragoncon is a ‘fun’ event that is meant for fans, you are often going there as a guest and/or panelist and/or in a professional capacity. And because of that, you are forced – or should be – to uphold a certain level of decorum.

Which might not be what you want to do. I mean, there’s SOOO much to do and a lot of it is fun.

Now, I say decorum, but there’s also places and times to cut-loose of course. There’s no reason you can’t do fun events (see the Buffy Sing-a-long!); but getting shit faced drunk or doing drugs till you can’t focus… maybe not so much, eh?

Unless, of course, that’s the image you want to project.  (Yes, I’m looking at you Hunter S. Thompson).

Anyway, that’s my Dragoncon. Unlike many others, I didn’t take photos, so… sorry! I have nothing to show you. You know me. I’m not particularly good at that.

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