1. There will always be more alcohol, but time is finite. Pace yourself so you don’t lose a day of the Con to the party the night before.
2. The hotel is built on a tesseract, or maybe it just feels bigger on the inside. Either way, you will be doing a lot more walking than you expect too and you will very likely get lost at least once.
3. Serpico. This little pizza place is about 5 miles up the road beyond the Town Center complex. It’s hidden behind a line of trees in an office park, but the service was wonderful and the staff were friendly. The Italian food was quite good and I look forward to visiting again.
4. Patience and a friendly smile will serve you much better than any other tactic. The registration staff was absolutely wonderful. Thank you to Megan and her team for treating me with respect and kindness even though we seemed to be plagued with technical difficulties. You guys are awesome.
5. Don’t travel alone. It may seem like a great idea to hop in the car and head six to eight hours east, and on the way to the con, enthusiasm and excitement may sustain you. But on the way home, you really want someone to talk to and to share memories with right away.
6. Be less shy. While the amount of incredibly talented people who attend Balticon can be overwhelming, the authors and pod-casters are wonderful people. Paul Cooley was incredibly friendly and it was a pleasure to share coffee with him. Veronica Giguere is as lovely a person as she is a voice actor. It was a pleasure meeting both of you.
7. There is something and someone for everyone at Balticon. You are a rockstar among rockstars. You may be overwhelmed at first, but you will find a place to fit and find friends for life. The small moments where people know your name and recognize your work will blow your mind.
8. Cosplay is for you and not for everyone else. Everyone who was in costume looked incredible. Personally, I loved walking around the con as the thirteenth Doctor, even though I’m not sure how many people recognized the costume. Thank you to “Donna” who tracked me down for a picture!
9. Be bold and admire bravery. The authors and podcasters who put themselves out there in front of a live audience deserve your praise. It takes guts to share your work in public. Have the guts to thank and encourage them.
10. Get involved. Go to more panels and especially more readings. Perhaps join a panel. Personally, I found new authors and podcasts to check out by going to panels and live readings.
11. Canadians are very possibly the nicest people on the planet. For examples, see Nutty Nuchtas and the folks from Skinner Co.
12. If invited, share a meal or a coffee or a drink with strangers.
12b. Invite strangers to share a drink or coffee or a meal with you. You will make new friends.
13. Everyone’s an introvert at Balticon. Which means no one is. Be yourself and you will be accepted for who you are – introversion and all.
14. Bring money for books and art. Support the authors and the venders. Especially if you haven’t had the guts to put your own creations out there. This is their passion and they need your encouragement.