Wednesday, April 22, 2015

La Dolce Conventions

by Clare O'Donohue

Q: What are your favorite writing conferences/conventions to attend?

This is a tricky question for me because I don't attend many conferences or conventions. I'd like to, but my work schedule is already a labyrinth that involves multiple cities, various clients, and not nearly enough sleep. Fitting in writing is hard. Fitting in talking about writing has proven, more often than not, to be one item too many on the agenda.

I've not attended much in the way of conferences, which as Susan rightly pointed out, are about writing. I suppose because I first became aware of this world after my books were published I didn't think I would need the support. Lately, I've begun to realize I've missed something. I've attended Love is Murder, a Chicago (and therefore local to me) conference. But looking in the future, I'd love some advice on great conferences I should put on the list.

In terms of conventions, I've attended Malice Domestic several times, and really enjoyed the continuity and (forgive the pun) coziness of it. There are many author friends who are Malice regulars that don't attend other conferences and it's great to hang out. Plus it is one well-oiled machine, leaving less time spent being confused and more time spent having fun. I wish I could go every year, but that's not always in the cards.

I've wanted very much to attend Left Coast, which is, by all accounts, a terrific convention. I hear Hawaii is the location in a couple of years... hmmmmm.

The one place I've been a regular is Bouchercon, that moving target of a mystery convention/reunion. So, by default, this is my favorite. I like seeing friends, and making new ones. I like that it's a wide variety of subgenres represented. And I like that each year brings us to a new city. Admittedly, I don't often tour that city beyond the restaurants in the area of the convention, but I do get to see a lot of the hotel bar.

I also have to say that while neither a convention or a conference, Chicago's Printers Row Lit Festival is one of my favorite events. It's outdoors during June weekend, includes lots of hanging out with friends, and a fair amount of book sales.

I'm hoping that going forward I can spend more time at writer events, conventions, conferences etc... so it's my turn to ask a question. What is a "can't miss" I should put on my list for 2016?


Robin Spano said...

I think you do very well for someone who can't find the time! I've never been to Malice Domestic either. (I don't write cozies.) But I've heard similar reports from friends who do--they say it's a warm and wonderful atmosphere.

Good point re: festivals! A totally different type of gathering again, and amazing in their own rights. (And like you say, better for book sales.)

Catriona McPherson said...

Seriously? You've never been to Malice? I'd have sworn we've sat together in that bar.

Unknown said...

I've been to Malice, not Left Coast.

Lori Rader-Day said...

Left Coast is good. It's like Bcon but smaller.

I like Magna Cum Murder in Indy. Even smaller.

Susan C Shea said...

If you're asking for advice, I'd say save up and go to LCC in Honolulu in 2016. Unless there's some unforeseen calamity (like the economic meltdown that I heard dampened attendance for the last one in the Islands), I think the turnout will be high. And Waikiki...

I went to Malice once and I can see that it's great for a lot of authors and fans, but it was so big and I felt so small that it didn't click for me. Will try again when my next cozy comes out, I'm sure. BCon, on the other hand, is huge but I have always felt much welcomed - all a matter of first impressions, I think.

Dru said...

I'm going to my first LCC in Phoenix in 2016 and B'Con at New Orleans.


Unknown said...

Lori - Magna Cum Murder is going on the list, and Susan - I love the idea of going to Hawaii for LCC. Dru - I know I'll see you at New Orleans (and hopefully before that). I'll start thinking about Phoenix as well.