What’s a Crime Writer’s Conference Like?

Left Coast Crime Conference, Sacramento, 2012

The Left Coast Crime Conference held in Sacramento, California brought together fewer agents and editors that I had noticed in last year’s conference. A quick scan of the program revealed only five panels out of the fifty-two varied offerings dealing with the world of finding fans and getting your book noticed.

That means ninety percent of the 45-minute panels featuring three or more crime writers focused on the craft of writing,  genres from quilt murders to killer thrillers, fact-finding, forensics, and law enforcement experts.

The bookroom where authors place titles for sale presents an opportunity to spend way too much money and carry more books home than you intended. Nobody mentions the Kindle in the bookroom.

Guests of Honor, this year Jacqueline Winspear and John Lescroart, were given special notice at hour-long interviews by noted authors Rhys Bowen and James Rollins respectively.

You can learn a lot at these conferences. Because you can’t attend each session the organizers make recordings available for a nominal price.  The conferences are held in large hotels and the panel rooms hold hundreds of fans and writers—all bunched up toward the front. These audiences are keen.

At the conclusion of each panel the panelists make their way to the book room.  Admirers and book buyers come to chat up the authors, get their book signed, and talk about their own books.

Each evening after the day’s panels are over, the program over the four days features an auction, a reception, a banquet and the award ceremony. Lots of conversations happen in the Hospitality Room where you sit down at a round table, have a brownie, and just chat up the person next to you.

Lots of unobtrusive peering at name tags to figure out if you’re talking to a well-published author, a two-book newbie like myself, a librarian, or a just another fan. Again like myself.

Good conversations happen exchanging likes and dislikes about your favorites. Really getting down and trashing a bad book nobody liked. Oh, that’s fun. I don’t know a single good writer who isn’t also an avid reader.

My thanks to the organizers, co-chairs Cindy Sample and Robin Burcell.

This entry was posted in Mar Preston, Mystery novels and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What’s a Crime Writer’s Conference Like?

  1. Cindy Sample says:

    Thanks for the great synopsis of Left Coast Crime 2012. We loved hosting fans, authors, killer experts and more. The panels were wonderful, or at least that’s what I heard, since I was running up and down the stairs making sure the event was perfect for everyone there. We’re thrilled that you had such a good time.

  2. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend a crime writer’s conference so your account was very interesting, Mar.

    Thank you for blogging it, mate 🙂

  3. Dan says:

    Never having attended a conference like this it helps me to understand what goes on there.
    Thnk you for the write up Mar.

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