It's my hope that I will be laid off from my newspaper-editor job (and handed a decent-sized severance check) in time to attend my first-ever Bouchercon in San Francisco.

For those who have attended this conference before, what advice would you offer a newbie like me who wants to make the most of this opportunity? What's the best way to do meaningful networking there? Tell me about the conference culture, and share your experiences.

Thanks.

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Say hi to the person next to you--at a meal, the bar, in a workshop audience, in line for coffee or to buy a book, where ever, and introduce yourself. You'll never meet everyone, but at least you'll meet some people that way. And don't leave it up to chance to find someone you know from on-line. Set up a particular meeting time & location, because Bouchercon is a mob scene.
I love going to conventions - I've been to either Bouchercon or Left Coast Crime every year since 2000. Just go with the flow and have a great time. AS others have said, just talk to people. What happens is you'll be chatting to someone and then someone will say to that person "Are you coming to dinner?" and will then invite you along too and the next thing you know you're out to dinner with 20 people. So now you know 20 people :o) Everyone is lovely and really friendly. Don't try to go to too many panels. I used to try and go to one every session but now I just pick and choose. I pick panels either with people I know and like their books, panels about topics I like, and sometimes I'll just go into a panel for no reason - and discover a new to me author whose books I have to have. I'm going to San Francisco and can't wait. I see people who have become friends and get all my hugs for the year :o)

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