Unlike Chris, I have been to quite a few mystery conventions. And, like Chris and Hilary, I find them tons of fun. But I'm also not one of those introverted writers who freezes up in front of a crowd. Unchained from my computer, I enjoy chatting, hanging out and meeting new people.
If you want a great experience at a convention, try to go out of your comfort zone and try to meet new people. And, this may be obvious to you, but don't lunge at everyone with your bookmarks (it comes across as a bit, um, aggressive), or complain incessantly about your panel placement/horrible publisher/book deal. Instead, ask people about themselves. Before you know it, you'll have ten new friends/contacts/drinking buddies.
I don't get to go every year, but I went to Baltimore and San Francisco and had a blast at both. Baltimore was one of my first cons, and it was huge and a bit overwhelming. San Francisco was my second Bouchercon, and it was full of familiar faces and I got to hang with fellow Criminal minds in San Francisco and find out how fun they are.
If you love mysteries, you'll also see some of your favorite writers.
|Here I am with Sara Paretsky. It's a terrible picture, but I have to keep it because I'm such a fan girl!|
Here's a tip: Go to local Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America meetings, if you're lucky enough to have them in your vicinity, before tackling a big con. That way you're sure to see some familiar faces and not feel so overwhelmed.
If cozies and/or traditional mysteries are your thing, then you can't miss Malice Domestic. Held every year in DC, it's super convenient for me. And Malice is where I won my award (the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best Traditional Mystery Competition) and got nominated for an Agatha.
Like Bouchercon, you never know who you'll meet in the lobby or see in the halls. At the last Malice, I met the delightful Becke Davis from B&N's mystery book club.
Talk about super convenient--this festival is literally a 15 minute walk from my house. More intimate, it's only about 20 or so invited mystery authors. You're sure to have some time with the honored guests, and get to meet many of your amazing fellow writers. About 250 writers come to the whole festival, and attendance (by readers) is over 20,000 every year.
If you're a writer (of any genre) and would like to go to the festival, just fill out a simple form online at vabook.org, and then send your books in.
Now--I'm going to add lots of photos like Hilary and Chris for your viewing enjoyment...
So--what are your favorite festivals and conventions?
|Best First Novel Agatha panel at Malice Domestic|
|Southern Festival of the Book with JT Ellison and Laura Benedict|
|Another favorite author: Laura Lippman--at Bouchercon|