Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Writing Conferences - Let The Research Begin

After reading through last week's comments, I'm even more convinced that I'd like to go to a conference. But which one?!?

Seeing the current genre I'm trying to sell my work in is mystery, I decided to check out Mystery Writers of America's website to see what's coming up.

Here's what I found so far:

Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, October 15-18, Indianapolis, Indiana
In my quick review of the website, it seems like the convention is more geared toward writers interacting with fans, but it looks like a lot of fun (and not too scary). Plus the schedule is full of breakouts and all sorts of activities.

New England Crime Bake, Nov 13-15, Dedham, Mass
Featuring Sue Grafton, NECB is what I'd expect from a writing conference with manuscript critiques, private pitch sessions and "master classes." This one has some promise. Plus, I think I could drive there in 13 hours...

Okay, so next I checked out Sisters in Crime's website, which is where I found the Sinc Into Great Writing, which is a one day workshop before Bouchercon that features seminars by Donald Maass, Hallie Ephron, and Chris Roerden, and dinner with keynote speaker Nancy Pickard.

Hmmm.... I dunno, Bouchercon looks pretty cool, but then again NECR has Sue Grafton. And it's smaller. AND I've always wanted to visit New England.

What do you guys think? Have any of you been to these conferences? I'm not dead set on going to a mystery writing conference (get it, dead set), so any other suggestions would be awesome.

Happy Tuesday

14 comments:

Steph Damore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steph Damore said...

I'd also like to add that it's strange, this whole writing conference thing. I don't think going will secure me an agent, or irrevocably alter my writing career, but I still feel a need to go. I think mostly because of a desire for knowledge. You can only get so much experience from the internet before you have to experience something firsthand.

Bane of Anubis said...

Me left brain's wonderin' if there are stats on the effectiveness of conferences for securing agents...

And then, like you say, it's probably also a matter of pickin' the best one. More headaches :)

Dominic said...

Stats sure would help. So far it seems to me to be a word of mouth thing.

As for pickin' the best one, that's why I started out at MWA and SinC because I know they're reputable. But, ugh, there are A LOT to choose from.

Steph Damore said...

Oops, that last comment under "Dominic" was actually me. I forgot to check before posting and responded under my hubby's account.

J.J. Bennett said...

Okay, how about this. You guys put together a list of things you think you'll get out of a conference. I'm going to Nathan's over the weekend. I'll tell you anything you want to know. I'm sure I'll be blogging about it, but if I miss something then I'll be sure to give an update on what you want to know...How's that?

Steph Damore said...

Jen - sounds excellent! I'd love to hear your eye report. You better blog about it too!!!! I'll send my questions your way.

J.J. Bennett said...

Sounds like a plan! :) I'm on it!

Chris Roerden said...

Picking the right conference is a matter of deciding ahead of time exactly what you want to get out of it. Mystery writers with a book just out like to go to Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and - on the west coast - Left Coast Crime. If they get assigned to one of the numerous panels of authors, they can expose an audience of readers to their latest release. But writers looking to improve their skills will want to attend the Sisters in Crime all-day workshop the day before Bouchercon. The 3 presenters (Donald Maass, Hallie Ephron, and moi--Chris Roerden) were invited to present at the national workshop because we have top-selling books on the craft of writing and regularly lead workshops on aspects of writing. (One of my books for writers is Don't Sabotage Your Submission.) Writers who are looking for an agent would be wise to check the websites of other cons to see how many agents will be in attendance and making appointments to hear individual pitches. Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville, and the Harriette Austin Writers Conference are but 3 that I can think of at the moment that list the names of the agents in attendance. Conferences are also great for networking, but you'll usually find more writers willing to network at a writers con than at a fan con. The atmosphere is different. Size is also a factor--the Sisters in Crime workshop has a limit of 200. Bouchercon will have more than 1,000 attendees. Incidentally, for those who are not already members of SinC, the benefits for an annual membership of $40 are exceptional. As a member you qualify for the discounted workshop rate of $50 instead of the nonmember workshop fee of $150, thereby saving $60. It's a good deal.

Hope to see you there, Chris
www.writersinfo.info

Steph Damore said...

Chris - thanks for all the information. I'm already checking out the other conferences you mentioned. As for me, I'm interested in improving my skills and networking a bit (although it would be great to have a novel out to promote at Bouchercon too).

Any advice on how to prepare for a conference? Or just general inside conference advice?

Indianapolis is definitely doable for me (I live in MI) and the costs don't seem too bad either - especially since I'm a SinC member. Looks like it's time for a chat with the hubby.

Regina Milton said...

This post is great. I've been trying to decide on a conference as well. New England Crime Bake sounds awesome and I eventually hope to end up at a Malice Domestic (http://www.malicedomestic.org/).

Jen- please please update us about that conference. Not jealous at all!

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Steph! Welcome back! I missed you...

...and I have nothing else to say, for once. I'd like to contribute to the conversation, but I know nothing about these conferences, much less what it takes to write a good mystery. :-)

Still, it seems like you've gotten some great info already - wow! How did Chris find your blog?

P.S. I wondered who "Dominic" was - he sounded a lot like you!

Steph Damore said...

Hey Laura - I know, I disappeared for 5 whole days! I wasn't planning on staying up north that long, but I couldn't bear to come home when it was such a beautiful weekend.

And, I have no idea how Chris found my blog, but it was awesome of her to drop in and share her knowledge. I'm really leaning toward SinC and Bouchercon.

Steph Damore said...

Regina - Malice Domestic would be super fun - especially as a published author. Someday I will be there - and I'm sure you will be too.