Annual Mystery Conference for Writers and Readers – held in Boston
This conference was all new to us – this was a writers’ conference. So far, we’d only attended Fish & Wildlife conferences. Things are definitely done differently in this realm – no tug-of-war with 30 men and women on either side until someone lands in the mud. This was indoors! Much of the discussion actually ran along similar lines….crime scenes, investigations, etc.
I enjoyed the Meet & Greet type question and answer sessions. I had a table with my name on it and the chairs filled up with folks who wanted to talk to me. I never realized how much of the info in my head of the mundane-to-me information was so imperative to their stories in their books! Crime writers like to get things right, like how a crime scene would really look in the real world and what an officer might do when he approaches one.
Even tidbits like how to tell the direction of travel on a back woods road by looking at the water in the puddles….I lived that every day, they never thought of something like that!
We sat in on a few sessions and learned more about this world of writing. One session that we came ill-prepared for actually went well. I’m told I speak well off-the-cuff. We were seated with an agent and each given our turn to “pitch” our next book to those around the table and to the agent. Our pitch was critiqued and we were coached on how to tweak things for an actual pitch to the agent we want to pick up our book. I had nothing prepared besides the book I’ve been thinking about in my head. I started with that explanation and went from there. These people actually leaned forward in their seats…caught me off guard! Maybe I really should start working on this new book idea…
I did have one session where I knew I was set up to talk on Canine CSI. We had brought Saba, my current cadaver dog, with us. She is beautiful and calm and stole the show, of course. Well, this was to happen in the meeting room where everyone was having breakfast….okay, there might have been around 300 people finishing their meal and I thought to myself most of them would be moving on to other sessions….Nope. Most of them stayed in their seats and the time came for me to start talking. Saba did her thing discovering the items I have hidden around the stage and podium area. Those seated nearby were able to see first hand, but you got the feeling that the crowd got what she was doing as well. And then, I just talked and showed my PowerPoint presentation. It flew by and next thing I knew people were clapping and it was over. I never give the presentation the same way twice, but I guess this time it was what these folks were looking for because I had many people come up to me with comments and a few more questions.
Later, while at a table signing books, our current agent came to me because she had heard things about my “next book”. She was so excited the feeling became contagious and I’m going to move forward with it.
We were so thrilled that A Good Man with a Dog was taking off well amidst this elite group of writers and lovers of reading. We found out that the copies made available by the conference had been sold out – so both Kate and I went to our respective vehicles and pulled out every spare book we had. They sold them as well…
I really felt out of my element most of the weekend amongst these seasoned and new writers, but enjoyed being welcomed into their arena. Looking forward to next year’s conference.