1. Decide what convention you want to attend and check your calendar for date conflicts.
[You will also want to decide if you'd like to present at the convention and send any panel ideas you have to the head of programming.]
2. Register for the convention either online or by snail mail.
[Not as important because you can often register at the con on the day, but it is generally cheaper to register ahead of time and required if you are presenting. Some cons also have swag such as ribbons which you will also need to purchase ahead of time.]
3. Book a hotel room.
[Though commuting to local cons is an option, I highly recommend staying either at the convention hotel or at a nearby hotel. Cons are tiring! Also, both parties and panels run into the wee hours of the morning and you don't want to miss out.]
4. Take the time off work.
[I forgot to take the weekend off of work for Capricon this year and ended up having to cancel a panel I was supposed to run and missing an entire day of the convention. :(]
5. Prepare for any panels you are on, for any costumes you might want to wear, and check the con schedule for other events you may want to attend.
[You may want to email other panelists to discuss how the panel will be run and what you might want to talk about.]
6. Pack clothes and toiletries for a normal vacation.
[You may also want to pack snacks and beverages so you are not relying solely on hotel and consuite offerings. Although some attendees choose to subsist on free consuite food and drink, long lines and allergy contamination issues have made this a not viable option for us.]
7. Be sociable and have fun.
[Though you might be looking at a con as a business marketing opportunity for your books, that doesn't mean that you can't also have fun. Also, to market your books you will need to be open, friendly, and sociable. Networking is important too. The cons I've had the least fun at are the ones where I have mainly kept to myself.]
This list is mainly a reminder for me, but I hope that it helps you too.
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