He's right: cons are humbling. They're also gratifying...when someone recognizes you or (squee!) has read your work. It's fun to
(Okay, I know that's a shocker to hear me talk about bars. But yes. I actually drink a beer from time to time. Just the one, though.
Every quarter hour...)
(Yes, you. No, not you. YOU. We know you're faking, Fakey McFakesalot.)
Cons are a great place to bond with writers and readers. The fans are out there and want to be heard. And, chances are, they know a hell of a lot more than you. Or me, I mean. Yes. They definitely know more than me.
Without attending cons, and forcing myself to sit on panels, I'd be FREAKING OUT over doing readings and such. As it is, I'm nervous but not nerve-wracked. Savvy? Sometimes people think there's no point in attending cons before they're published, but that's when you get to practice without so many eyes on you. You can play with your public persona (and yes, you need one of those, even if it's pretty damned close to who you are) and figuring out what works for you.
Things change with a few books under your belt. You're supposed to be "on." People ask and expect things of you, including being on panels. (WorldCon, gulp. and pray.) It's a little easier having played at being a professional and developing the habits that make it so. Cuz once you do "arrive" (or so I've heard, as I certainly haven't) you'll have enough on your plate.
Anyway, I loves them, yesss I does. And I hopes you'll loves them too!