First, I had a fabulous time though Bouchercon and the hotel were overwhelming at times.
Attendance was close to 2000 making it difficult to find people you were looking for. The hotel itself was confusing with different levels where things were going on. The street level housed registration, many of the large events and the mammoth bookstore. In between were two other levels that could only be reached via the escalators and a hidden elevator where the panels were held--some around winding corridors. And the Atrium Level where the restaurant, bar, Hospitality Room, and the continuing coversations were held. I was on one of those continuing conversations and enjoyed it
I had a great roommate--Gay Totl Kinman and thanks to her had lunches in some fabulous restaurants.
Went on a 3 hour cable car (actually busses that once were cable cars) of San Francisco and we went everywhere! Fantastic.
Found out that big name authors know very little about e-books. (Learned this from the e-book panel and little else.)
Saw lots of big name authors, know some of them well enough to chit chat a bit.
What I enjoyed more was visiting with people I didn't know and handing out my card. Also had some great conversations with people I did know.
None of the bookstores had any of my books--didn't really expect them too, didn't even bother with the signing bit. I saw rather well-know authors who had no one come to their signing because someone like Lee Child or Michael Connelly were signing.
My conclusion? I'm not going to anymore Bouchercons and going to stick to the smaller cons like Mayhem in the Midlands where I know I'll get on at least two panels and will sign some of my books even though I'll have to haul them with me for the book store.
I also figured out how some people win the awards at Bouchercon. One of the big publishers sent out copies of a certain author's books to many readers (I was one of them) to familiarize people with the book. If you've read a book you might vote for it. I received one of the winning books though I haven't finished reading it. The book was reviewed many times on DorothyL. Since DorothyL has 3000 members, I know this helped sell the books too.
Am I glad I went? Sure. Loved seeing as much of San Francisco as I did. Met tons of folks though I missed seeing some I'd planned on seeing. It is not the best choice of cons for anyone who thinks this is a place to sell books if they are with a small press. (Some of the small presses were in attendance with their books.)
One big publishing company gave away tons of free books with the authors sitting at the table to sign them. I did not take any because I didn't want to load down my luggage anymore than it was already.
That's my overall view. I hope Sunny will post her opinion. I only saw here in passing a couple of times.