Let me start by saying that I live in California. I bring that up first because my approach to Cons is greatly influenced by this fact.
When we started out, the idea of travelling to all the major cons was out of the question. Between a mortgage, the time required and convincing our wives that going around the country several times per year for board games was a good use of vacation time….well, we needed to find another way to get started in the industry.
We then learned about local cons and events and now we are hooked. We looked up a list of all the cons up and down the west coast and we have been targeting various events we want to attend as we have games become available to play.
I have to admit, when we started I was really disappointed with fact that is felt like all the cons were on the other side of the Rockies, but it turns out we have some really good cons/events we can attend in the Los Angeles area and the bay area. There was also an UnPub event in San Diego this year.
This is a bit beating the dead horse, but finding your local events and getting your games played by the public is a big deal. Just to have your games in front of the public is a big deal. Most of all, IMO, the confidence you can take from playing your game with one event goer who really likes you games and want to share it with their friends is worth finding out where your local events are and making a point to attend them and get your games played.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We are thinking about starting a regular Google hangout with other designers. We can try to design a game together, we can talk about designers we are working on, you can ask us questions. We can make it whatever we want. What we really want to do is get to know the people that are willing to read all the way to the bottom of our posts. Please contact Chris on Twitter or send him an email and if we are able to get a minimal amount of interest, we can work on putting something together.