This weekend I'm attending the big local fan convention in the Minneapolis area, CONvergence. Plenty of authors attend, and one is often one of the Guests of Honor. Authors shill their stuff, sign copies, sit on panels about stuff and things, and talk shop in the bar. Many decide to do a lot of cons, making this a core element of their other-than-actually-writing career, and thus see their peers often.
This is part of the dying paradigm, and I have no intention of making this transition because superior alternatives to each element already exists.
From the safety and comfort of my home, damn near everything that the convention scene offers is easily replicated and in a form that is both decentralized (by comparison) and under my control:
- Panels and Interviews: Google Hangout, alone, handles this; private Discord servers, Soundcloud for podcasts, etc. are also worthwhile.
- Tables: Amazon author page, and a few others for niches Amazon doesn't handle.
- Signings: Purchase personalized copies.
- The Bar: Go to the fucking liquor store (or order in), and have friends over.
Far cheaper to set up and keep running. Far more likely to produce significant returns, and sooner, at the cost of more personal involvement on the business side of being a professional writer- but in this new publishing paradigm you have to do that anyway, so you might as well get on it and master that shit early.