What to do at Writers Conferences and Mystery Conventions

I've written about this topic before, but it won't hurt to repeat my advice since it's a new year and conferences and conventions are popping up all over the calendar.

If you're attending a writing conference, pick the topics that are most vital to you and your writing career. Take notes, collect cards, and pick up all the free material. And probably, most important, smile a lot and talk to everyone. You might end up with a critique partner--and a new friend.

For either con, wear comfortable shoes because you never know how far you have to walk. And, because meeting rooms always seem to be cold, be sure and take along a sweater or shawl. (It wouldn't hurt to have a few snacks to nibble on--hotel meals can be expensive.)

If you're a writer and going to a mystery con, there'll be many big-name authors around. Again, pick the panels and presentations that most interest you. If you have a book and are on a panel, you'll be expected to sit in the book room to autograph any books of yours someone might buy. Don't be depressed if you're next to someone famous with a long line and no one or only one or two people come to you. It happens to all of us.

Visit with everyone. It's wonderful if you can make friends with readers as well as authors. After all, readers buy books. Of course authors do too, but you might get a new fan or your books if you are genuinely friendly. Don't just hang out with people you know. Invite someone to join you at a table for a meal if they come in alone.

And again, take notes. Believe me, you won't remember what you wanted to, there's just so much going on it can be mind boggling.

Cons and conferences are expensive. Get the most out of them that you can.

And here's my favorite. The Public Safety Writers Association conference in Las Vegas. http://www.policewriter.com/

Check out the new logo, isn't that great?



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