I volunteered at something called Wordstock a few weekends ago. It’s a great place for writers and readers to mingle, to listen to established writer’s ruminate on everything from what makes a good plot to how to sell your manuscript.
I was placed on the author signing team, which was a nice way to meet, however briefly, some authors. Some authors were wildly popular and others almost entirely neglected–and the size of the fanbase did not seem proportionate to any quality the book itself had.
One of the best bits of any con is checking out the vendors. One of the best I ran into was a site called TypeTrigger. It’s a Twitter-like sight where they give you a prompt every few hours and you need to write a story (or poem, or whatever) up to 300 words. It’s a good way to get a minimum of writing done every day, and it’s very interesting to see the different takes on a prompt.
The site is in beta now and is invite only, but it should be opening up soon. Check it out when you can.