Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Networking or not working?

by Dietrich

What an appropriate and timely question by Jim as Bouchercon happened this past week in Dallas. Just coming off a book tour for my latest, I’m sorry that I missed the conference this year. From the photos and comments I’ve seen so far it looked like a good one. Guess I’ll have to content myself with having attended Left Coast Crime held here in Vancouver earlier this year. Great panels, a lot of readers and writers, and best of all, the organizers let me put together the Noir at the Bar which turned out to be a total blast. Like all the conferences I’ve attended it was awesome, although I’m still kicking myself for missing out on the Criminal Minds lunch which included eight of our own Criminal Minds as well a few alumnus.
LCC Noir at the Bar Blake Crouch, Hilary Davidson, Rob Hart, Sam Wiebe, Frank Zafiro, SJ Rozan, Thomas Pluck, Kellye Garrett, Vicki Delany, Lisa Brackmann, Robin Burcell and me.
Now, to the question: As far as networking, I admit I never think of going to a conference in those terms. For me, it’s a party, a chance to connect with some old friends and maybe meet some new ones. 

Once checked in, I start running into people wearing those lanyards in the halls, restaurants, cafes, on the street, at the various panel discussions, and at the ever popular watering holes. So, if attending a conference is networking, then I guess, like a lot of other writers and readers attending, I’ve been working and putting in some serious overtime.

Writers, readers, agents, editors and publishers: throw a scotch on the rocks at the conference bar and you’re bound to hit one. So, if you’re new or just introverted and haven’t been yet, but you want to connect with writers and readers or get in front of somebody on the publishing side of things, there’s no better way to do it. And if you’re just there to party, that’s hard to beat, too.

One tip, if you’re new to it and you’ve got a book out, have an elevator pitch ready. There’s nothing worse (personal experience) than being asked what your book’s about, and standing there going “uh, well, uh …” looking like a deer in the headlights.

Sure, there are other ways to network: social media, writer events, reading groups, associations like Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of Canada, Thriller Writers of America. And there are writers’ festivals and events available in just about every city.

Okay, so I didn’t get to Bouchercon this year, but as I mentioned, I did just return from what’s turned into an annual book tour down the coast to California, filled with reading events, a Noir at the Bar, and a two-day writers’ workshop. And I guess as well as catching up with old friends and making some new ones, each event was a new opportunity to network. I even got to ride in a police car – in the front seat this time, doing some research for a story I’ve got percolating. 

And now that I’m back on home turf, I should mention the next Noir at the Bar here in Vancouver is tonight at our usual haunt, the Shebeen Whiskey House. If you’re in town, you can see from the poster, we’ve got an excellent line-up of authors eager to network and read from their latest; it’s going to be one you don’t want to miss.


Susan C Shea said...

Sounds like you create your own writers' conventions wherever you go. I was glad to be part of it last time around and hope to do it again on your next swing south.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Susan. I just got back to Vancouver, and I'm already thinking about the next trip south. I'll keep you posted.