Go to any literary or multi-media convention and you’ll see a slew of published writers. Now everyone knows that writers are shy and introverted (or not), so why do they brave the crowds to spend precious weekends hanging out with total strangers?
Certainly the visibility doesn’t hurt. With today’s decreased book sales, writers have a real economic reason to go out and make new friends who will hopefully try their books, and to remain visible to long-time readers to remind them of new books to come. Publishers are less and less able to do much in the way of marketing for the average title, so writers are left to create their own visibility opportunities, and cons are certainly a great way to be visible to the core fan audience.
Believe it or not, many writers also just plain enjoy meeting readers and fans in general. It’s just plain fun to go sit on panels and talk about fandom-related stuff, favorite books and movies and the kind of geeky technicalities that makes other people roll their eyes. Most, if not all, writers are also fans themselves, so they get a kick out of all the things that make a good con tick—panels, costuming, celebrity guests, etc.
Writers also enjoy networking with other writers at cons. Since writing is a largely solitary activity, writers enjoy the chance to connect with their writer friends, and it’s easiest to do this at a con. Look around and you’ll see writers holed up together at meals, over drinks and during parties talking shop. It’s also good business—at my last convention, I was invited to appear at three different conventions plus asked to send a short story for an anthology. Lots of writers can tell you how they got an invitation to submit a manuscript or some other project by networking at a con.
And another reason–It’s a day away from the keyboard but related to the genre, so we don’t feel guilty. It’s work related, but also fun. Maybe that should be reason #1!