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DragonCon Atlanta: Letting Your Freak Flag Fly!

Superman, Supergirl, Nightwing at DragonCon Atlanta

Superman, Supergirl, Nightwing at DragonCon Atlanta

(Okay, maybe some people have taken that a little TOO seriously.) I have been told by some of my writer friends that you need sci-fi conventions to help market your books. I am a few years away from needing to market any novels I have written and it’s a good thing. It will take me that long to rinse the ‘crazy’ out of my hair.

DragonCon is one the country’s largest science fiction conventions in the country (definitely not in the same league as San Diego’s ComicCon, but pretty big.) I asked a cop directing traffic and he was told that the convention generated 200,000 people and the same day was the first college football game in own.

CONS:

  • Some costumes – Hint. Just because they make it your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.
  • Personalities – I heard two guys discussing (very fervently) about which actor was the best Jor-El.  Two guys, I might add, who probably never had a date. With a girl.
  • Originality – I lost count of how many Jokers, Harley Quins and DeadPools I saw. I guess crazy is in vogue. The best was an African American man and his son as TWO Falcons. It worked on every level and was the only I saw there. Plus you could see a Dad who was making his son a hero!
  • Traffic in Atlanta – my hotel was 3 miles away and it took me 2 hours to travel and find parking (duh, it’s Atlanta, traffic sucks when they DON’T have a big event.)
  • Traffic TO Atlanta – Labor Day weekend, NC vs SC in Charlotte the day before, people drive on 85 like it is a NASCAR event. Saw two semis jack-knifed on 85. People cut each other off every 2 or 3 seconds.
  • Convention Not Newbie Friendly – web site and on site doesn’t make it easy to understand where the hotels are, where the panels are, or even where you register. It is clearly geared ONLY for EXPERIENCED DragonConners.
  • Hotel Space – my room was $100 and the size of a shoebox (actually, that gives a bad name to shoeboxes!) It didn’t help that my hotel was on a major road and police sirens blared half the night (again, duh! Atlanta.) Every decent hotel was booked up.
  • Timing – it’s Labor Day Weekend and the first college football game. C’mon! Could traffic, hotel accommodations, and foot traffic be a little less congested on a NON-holiday weekend?
  • Registration is confusing and non-user-friendly. This is not a good way to GROW this thing. Cater to the newbies too!
  • Put some damned addresses on the website! 
  • Answer the damned phone – they put a message on the phone number that they are NOT answering the phone until after the convention. Nice customer service.

Pros:

  • DragonCon has a very cool app. If it had walking maps to the 5 hotels that host DragonCon and a simplified interface for newbies it would have been perfect.

Suggestions:

  • Make tracks for people with linear interests – for example, their should be a list of panels for people interested in writing and make it so they can attend ALL the writing panels by timing them and putting them in close by venues. These same people may in interested in comic creation as well. Common sense scheduling.
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