When to Bar Con – A Primer

So you’re thinking of going to a con, but you’re not sure if you want to buy a ticket! Have you considered… the humble Bar Con? You could just go, get a room and hang out in the bar!

I was inspired by Piper J Drake’s excellent post on the subject, and wanted to add my own two cents. She’s seen a lot of shitty behavior in the con scene, and has some totally valid issues. That’s why I figured I’d write this primer.

There are a few good reasons to Bar Con:

  • All your friends are going to be there! Maybe you can afford to come to the venue, but a $300 ticket is too much. Totally understandable, and there are a lot of good room parties!
  • The content is garbage but a bunch of cool people will be around, and your friends know them. Maybe they’ll introduce you!
  • The con organizers openly support someone harmful and dangerous. Maybe you don’t feel safe inside the convention proper.
  • You want to hang out with other writers and feel the sense of community that only comes from being amongst your own misbegotten kind.
  • Maybe you just want to rent a hotel room and get away from reality for a bit, and this was as good an excuse as any!

But there are some reasons NOT to Bar Con:

  • You want to go to panels for free and think you can sneak in. (Stealing)
  • You’re going to ask people to let you stay in their rooms without kicking in your fair share. (Leeching)
  • You’re going to sleep in the bar. (Vagrancy)
  • You’re going to set up an impromptu sales booth inside the bar, which is someone else’s place of business. (Tacky)
  • You’re going to be an asshole and stalk agents and editors because you think that’ll get you a book deal. (Borderline Illegal)

In other words, if you want to Bar Con because it’s a fun place to hang out and network, AWESOME! You have a good reason to Bar Con.

If you’re planning on acting like a jackass by stealing from the con, the hotel and the bar to sell, sleep or stalk, DON’T DO IT. People will judge you very harshly, and you’re going to have a bad time.

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