I just returned from FyreCon. It's a brand-new conference in Utah mostly aimed at writers and artists. Lots of great ideas presented and discussed. Lots of old friends and new friends. Good times. I'm hoping to return next year. This promises to be a great networking event.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended Furlandia in Portland. If you haven't encountered furries before, it's a different world in a lot of ways. These are the people who like to dress up in full animal costumes and have fun. I had a great time at the convention and sold a lot of crocheted cuddly animals.
Both of these cons cost me money. I didn't sell enough to even come close to the cost of the gas to travel there, the cost of the hotel room or meals, or the other incidental costs of attending. But I feel like I got my money's worth at both. I'm there not just to sell my book, which ends up being more about letting people know I write and getting exposure than it is direct sales. I'm there to meet new people, to gain new perspectives on writing and art and the world at large, and to just have fun.
So if you have a convention or writer's conference in your area, go attend. You'd be amazed how nice the people are. Go make some new friends. Network. Have a great time.
Now to plan a writer's retreat for this summer so I can actually finish writing some of these books I'm working on so I can get to the new story ideas I've got stewing...