ReaderCon and GenCon are the two best cons I’ve been a part of this year and have gone in my top five best convention experiences period.*  As testament to how good a time I had at GenCon, it has taken me nearly a week to recover.  This may be in part due to my hectic convention schedule this year (I’ve been at a pace of a con about every other week, with a couple back-to-back appearance) as well as the fact that I lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle.  And GenCon involves miles and miles of walking each day.  (Which means if you’ve spent the rest of the year living in your mother’s basement, you have to start working out at least a few weeks in advance).

This year marked the first year in the new space of the expanded Indiana Convention Center, which meant a lot more room.  Which was a good thing because there was record breaking attendance this year (over a 20% increase from last year to this year).  I had a great time at my signing (who wouldn’t when R.A. Salvatore is the first one to buy your books?) as well as hanging out with my fans (I may never get used to saying the words “my fans” much less get used to actually having them).

The Writer’s Symposium was made of awesome.  We had over 2800 folks attending the Writer’s Symposium (that’s an increase of 25% from last year).  I got to share space with the likes of Greg Wilson, Brad Beaulieu, Paul Genesse, Jenn Brozek, Kelly Swails and so many others (whom I’ll now get in trouble for not naming).  Not only were the panels informative, but they were entertaining.  Most of my panels were at 8 a.m., but I made up for it by crashing the Steampunk panel and we all ran amuck during that time.  Best. Panel.  Evah!

The networking was meh.  I mean, here I am having to mingle with the likes of R.A. Salvatore, James L. Sutter, Jim Lowder, Elizabeth Vaughan, THE John Helfers, Jean Rabe, Matt Forbeck, and Anton Strout (Guest of Honor!).  Plus having to deal with some of the best fantasy and science fiction artists.  Course, there’s also nothing like hitting various night spots like the Sub Terra and The Succubus Club with the likes of William Horner and Larry Connolly.

GenCon is one of the rare cons that my family gets to hang with me.  The boys wore everyone out Friday, opening and closing the convention.  Then turned around the next day to be a part of the costume parade.

The Apex Publishing booth also was a beneficiary not only of the additional foot traffic and better location, but also of our new intern.  We kept describing McKenzie Johnston as magical (and had to fend off rival/neighboring booths from poaching her) as she came SO close to breaking the all time sales record (coming up short by about $9, which mind you, she started to auction off the Apex executives to make up that $9 difference).

So, yeah, if I’m going to have an up and down con season, it’s good that the two ups were all time ups.  You’ll be seeing me at each of these next year.

*Not counting Mo*Con, as my opinion would be biased to say the least.