I just got back from WorldCon 2006 in in Los Angeles, California http://www.laconiv.org/
I decided to stay on Sunday and see Ray Bradbury and Robert Picardo (Holographic Doctor on Voyager). Robert Picardo's panel was left out of the main program, booklet and website -- and then the time was changed at the last minute, so there were only about 10 people there for the first half an hour. He was very enjoyable. I sat right in front of him as he spoke.
Anyway, people took at least 500 of my flyers. My book isn't coming out for a year, so I tried to get the picture of my cover in front of everyone. I was surprised at how many people said they'd buy my book, just from looking at the cover on the flyer.
A lot of what I heard at the conference was gloom and doom for new authors. Lots of work. Connie Willis said if you're having fun writing, then you're not doing it right, because it's supposed to be a lot of work. I agree with the hard work, but if you don't enjoy writing, then why do it? Certainly not for the non-existent money.
I saw Anne McCaffrey, Harlan Ellison, Connie Willis, Tim Powers, and many other writers.
An interesting thing happened as I was walking to the Hugo award ceremony. I stepped out of the elevator, started walking, then bumped into Gay and Joe Haldeman (2006 Nebula winner). Gay asked me to sit with them at the ceremonies. She is a wonderful person. I enjoyed my night even more because of their company (I got to sit a little closer, too).
At the ceremony, Harlan Ellison said it would be his last convention. He was a character, of course (i.e. refusing to come up onto the stage, trying to offend everyone, saying the F word, putting the microphone in his mouth, grabbing Connie Willis's breast . . . yes, he did do that).
I learned a great deal of information at this conference. On the way home, I thought of some more marketing methods I'll end up implementing. I'm glad I went, but I wish my book was already published, so I could have sold a few copies.