Monday, October 6, 2014

First Shot at a Moving Target





I'm not a complete greenhorn to mystery conferences.  I attended ThrillerFest in 2013 to get some practice in pitching my first book to agents.  (Practice made Providence: I found one -- or she found me -- and my debut novel will be published by William Morrow and Faber & Faber next March.)  Since then I've visited Left Coast Crime in Monterey and returned in New York for T-Fest this year.  Surely I can handle Bouchercon, right?

Maybe not...

Bouchercon is the big boss, the black diamond run of mystery conventions.  The one convention I had heard of even before I'd started writing.  Just scanning the number of attendees was daunting.  Not to mention the names.  I've read his work, and hers, and his, and Good-Lord-I-wonder-if-I'll-meet-So-and-So.   

One glance at the packed advance schedule was enough to send me hunting for my most comfortable pair of shoes.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  Or maybe it will be a whole bunch of sprints, one after the other, depending on how quickly seats disappear at the panel sessions.  

Bouchercon is so darn big that I suspect they have to change cities every year, just to let the poor communities recover.  Like Tokyo after Godzilla.  I envision a horde of excited fans, writers, booksellers, editors, agents, publishers, and librarians storming through the Long Beach Hyatt, leaving stunned hotel staffers, exhausted baristas, and empty vending machines in their wake.  And one trampled debut author.  In the sudden quiet, a few bookmarks flutter gently to the carpet.

So clearly I need help, psychiatric and otherwise.  What does a first-timer do when he needs advice?  Turn to the community, of course!  Bouchercon has loads of faithful attendees, and some of them have been kind enough to provide helpful tips and recap past visits.  It's a trove of good advice.  Here's a few of the best, from friends-in-sleuthing:

From Gigi Pandian:
From Jen Forbus:

If we should happen to meet at Bouchercon, ask me for an advance copy of my book.  And if I look dazed, please point me towards a barista. 


Glen Erik Hamilton's debut novel PAST CRIMES will be published by WIlliam Morrow in the U.S. and Faber & Faber in the U.K.  Find his blog Larceny is Grand at glenerikhamilton.com, and follow him on Twitter @GlenErikH. 


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