Here's why. There's no way to tell who anyone is there. There are very few authors that I knew by sight and editors or agents? Forget about it. Yes, everyone is wearing badges around their necks* but unless you know the names, that doesn't tell you much.
There are also very clear 'tiers' at World Fantasy, I didn't know what to expect but it was pretty clear once I was there. The best sellers are in their own tier and are surrounded by orbiting fans or lower-tier writers, who are also fans. Next down but well above me are the established writers tier. Below that, is my tier, the unpublished writers here to network. (there are also the agent and editor tiers) The thing is, people tend to mingle only with the tier they're in. They don't mingle down (it was rare to see a best-seller or an established writer actually hanging out with fans or lower tier writers).
I get part of it. World Fantasy and World Con are an excuse for a lot of these writers to catch up with old friends and colleagues. Writers tend to be an insular bunch and we don't get out much. So, naturally, they're going to want to spend time with people they already know.
Anyway, my point isn't to talk about the cliques of WFC. It's more that I didn't know what to expect and the expectations I did have were probably too high. I didn't serious expect to sell Angel Odyssey or land an agent but I did hope. This year, I'm just going to enjoy myself. I'm going to listen to author readings and go to parties. I'm going to introduce myself and be entertaining and charming. I'm not going to meet anyone specific or with any goal in mind. I'm not going to pitch anything.
I will know a few people there this year. I can't reccomend highly enough going to one of these big cons with a friend. Things get pretty lonely. That said, I'm not going to cling to the folks I do know. I AM going to do my level best to be friendly and relaxed. Which means, I may start drinking again.
Here's to you, San Diego!
*It funny to see strangers meet, look at each other's chest and then smile politely