I've spent the last three days at Salt Lake Comic Con and let me tell you, it was a crazy experience. The initial number I heard for attendance was 150K people, which would put it at the very top of the pile with San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con. That's pretty amazing for just their second year.
Let's start with the bad: Thursday wound up being a disaster of registration and lines. Something about too few volunteers on registration, and those not quite handling things properly. I honestly don't know the whole story so I certainly won't point any fingers. A lot of people wound up being pretty angry about it. My aunt, uncle, and cousins waited in line for hours in the sun before giving up. Contrast that to inside the center where we were wondering where everyone was.
The good news is that the line management seemed to go a ton smoother on Friday and Saturday (little condolence to those that only had Thursday passes). The worst I heard was a half hour in line on those days, as opposed to 2-5 hours on Thursday. Inside the center, most of the crowds were manageable, though mid-day on Saturday was shoulder-to-shoulder.
Moving on to my own personal experience. This was my first time participating in a big convention as a vendor. I spent most of my time either at panels or the Schlock Mercenary booth (thanks again to Howard and Sandra for having me!), with just a couple hours spent walking around. I thought being on this side of things was a lot of fun, if exhausting, and I was shocked to find out how many fans I actually had in the region.
I was fortunate enough to have friends like Brandon and Howard who sent new fans my way, and I had a fairly steady stream (better than most of my signings) of people come by and say they had read my books and ask about Autumn Republic. For three straight days!
I took several boxes of hardcovers with me, expecting (based on experiences at PHXCC and Gen Con) to sell about half of them. By Saturday morning I was taking mail orders. Based on my early math, the convention paid for my entire 11-day trip as well as a little bit on top and I won't have to ship anything home.
A few words on the rest of my trip: outside of SLCC, the highlights were getting to see the friends and family I left behind after wifey and I graduated school. I saw wifey's sister (who is working on a cool Powder Mage project for me) and grandparents, and hung out with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I also got to attend Brent Weeks' signing alongside Brandon Sanderson. Spending time with two of the modern giants of epic fantasy was pretty awesome.
Over all, both Salt Lake Comic Con and the trip itself were a giant success, but I'll be happy to be back to wifey and my own bed and office.