After much consideration of my options and my budget, I have made a decision: I will not be attending Lunacon this year.
As my “hometown con,” Lunacon is the convention that I have attended the most times. I have many fond memories of late nights spent in the hotel bar at the Hilton Rye Town, and at room parties, etc. But I won’t be going back this year. And maybe not ever again.
There are several reasons. The first is economic: Rooms at the Hilton Rye Town are very expensive; the basic rate starts at around $132 per night; after taxes, the effective rate is closer to $150. Meals in the hotel’s restaurant aren’t cheap, either. Nor are drinks in the bar. Also, I currently have no one to give me a lift to this thing, and renting a car in NYC costs a fortune. Using mass transit to reach Rye Brook, NY, is a pain in the ass, and hiring a taxi there is no picnic.
In the past I absorbed these costs; because I had a day job in addition to my writing, I wrote it off. But now I have only freelance income, and I need to be more careful about how I spend my money. There are not likely to be any editors at Lunacon with whom I have not already made contact for professional purposes; the fans who attend this con have historically shown little interest in the kind of fiction that I write; and almost no one has ever shown up to one of my readings at this con, nor to my signings.
I might have overlooked all that if I thought it would be an enjoyable weekend getaway. But last year, my experiences with the hotel and its staff were disappointing, to say the least. The service in the restaurant had gone from slow to abyssmal. They no longer offered brunch. Meal times were not convenient for a convention weekend. In general, I found the staff to be discourteous and dismissive.
Summed up: this con isn’t fun for me anymore, and I don’t see any valid business purpose in attending. So I’m out. I’ve canceled my room reservation at the hotel. And I’ll spend some of the money I’ll save by not going on my wife, whose birthday falls during the following week.