What is a book conference?

Husband John and I just returned from THE GREAT MANHATTAN MYSTERY CONCLAVE in Manhattan, KS.   Held each fall on Halloween weekend, this is one our favorite “accessible” book conferences.  I say accessible because, more and more, we are favoring the smaller book conferences and conventions held closer to home.  The “biggies” (Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, for example) still draw huge crowds often numbering well over a thousand, and we attend one of those every so often, but smaller and nearer still appeals most to us.   We are not big party people.  We (Radine especially) tend to feel lost in a crowd.  And, of course, there’s always the travel expense!

So, why attend book conferences (usually considered learning events for writers) or conventions (these include fans) at all?   Consider these suggestions, and–whether you are a reader or a writer (or both, of course)–think about which seem most likely to you:

1.  A chance to enjoy schmoozing and networking with friends, new and old.

2.  An opportunity to learn more about writing–hear new information in the field, find out about changes throughout the profession, discuss ideas that work well for others and/or have worked well for you,  listen to what publishers and agents are doing, and so on.

3.  Simply put, think of it as a business meeting.  Other professions have them.  Why not writers?  Stick to business.

4.  A chance to share what you have learned about writing in panels and talks.

5.  A publicity and sales event.

6.  A party.

I say ALL of the above.  And the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave is one of the best examples of all of the above.  It was well-organized, everyone was friendly, the meetings were fun, there was time for chatting informally with attendees between events, the panel topics were well-chosen and balanced and panelists knew what they were talking about, the add-on sessions were of great value, AND THE FOOD WAS FABULOUS.    Besides that, Claflin Books and Copies did a brisk selling business for all of us.  What more could we ask?   http://www.manhattanmysteries.com

Radine    http://www.RadinesBooks.com

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