It's a small con in Muncie, Indiana, sponsored by Ball State University. This year it was smaller than usual, due to the economy and perhaps the fact that Bouchercon was only a short time ago and relatively close.
The result was interesting: authors had, for the most part, only each other to talk to.
Only a very few tried the "Buy my wonderful mystery" routine on the group. There was tacit recognition that we were not going to sell a bunch of books, although authors know, of course, that buying books is good. (If we didn't, Parnell Hall reminded us with his song, "Support Your Local Bookstore.") Instead of fighting off crowds of adoring fans, we talked: about craft, about trends, about the future of publishing.
Yes, I know it happens at all cons, in the bar, in corners, even in passing. But this con settled down to pretty much just that. Authors asked each other tough questions about the business of writing and probing questions about the responsibilities of writing. We didn't have to pretend to be raking in the dough because people just can't keep their hands off the "Buy" button on our webpage. There was honest talk about all levels of publishing, from self to small press to big house.
I gotta tell you--it was great.