There’s nothing like a writing-based conference to fire up a writer. The undeniable buzz of energy, excitement, and glittery dreams is like channeling sheer inspiration. When I attend writing conferences, I come home revitalized and ready to write like a whirlwind.
So what’s the big deal? How does it work?
Conferences highlight people, information, connections, books, and fun. For a writer, that’s a sure-fire winning combination.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Charlaine Harris at a writer’s conference. I was so tongue-tied I could barely speak. She was gracious and didn’t notice I had two left feet, one of which was inserted in my mouth.
At a previous Killer Nashville, I had a “Where’s Waldo” moment, when I sat down beside the charming Dr. Bill Bass, the guy who invented The Body Farm. When I realized my presumption to take the seat next to the Guest of Honor, I could have crawled under the table and died. But once again, I was blessed to have found a kind soul who welcomed me and all my questions.
Conferences are chock-full of information. Experts are there to lend newbies a helping hand. They offer how-to tips from the most basic craft advice, to how to interact with publishing professionals, to the latest in crime-fighting techniques. Killer Nashville has five different tracks for writers and mystery fans.
Imagine a vast network of connected wires. Now plug yourself into that matrix. That’s essentially what you do at a conference. You meet other writers in similar phases of their careers. You meet published writers. And you meet publishing professionals.
Each group of connections is invaluable.
Those writers at your skill level? They’ll be your best buddies as you traverse the publication highway.
Those writers with book contracts? They’ll befriend you and oftentimes blurb your book when it comes out.
The publishing professionals? They’ll evaluate your book pitch and help you better understand what they are looking for.
You can’t have a writer’s conference without books. They are the heart of the matter. Sure, they’re products for sale, but they offer a wealth of insight. You’ll want to load up on craft books. You’ll need to get the books by the technical experts at the conference so that you can review their information again at your leisure at home. You’ll want to own the books of successful writers in your genre so you can dissect how they put their stories together. Killer Nashville is loaded with mysteries and thrillers, my favorite kind of entertainment.
If you don’t have fun, there’s no one to blame but you. Alongside the professional aspect of the conference, folks come to conferences to relax and enjoy an interlude with kindred spirits. Where else can you wax elegantly about different methods to kill a villain? Where else can you discuss point of view with people whose eyes won’t glaze over?
Conferences are havens for writers and readers. A conference is a place where people who love books get together to have a great time. I’ve been to Sleuthfest, Bouchercon, Writer’s Police Academy, and Killer Nashville. All of these mystery/police procedural conferences are fun, but Killer Nashville is my personal favorite.
See you there!
Maggie Toussaint is the award-winning southern author of the Cleopatra Jones cozy mystery series and the stand-alone mystery, Death, Island Style. Born in coastal Georgia, residing in mid-Maryland for nearly three decades, and then moving back home with her husband, Maggie has come full circle in life. She also writes romantic suspense, with eight published books in total. Find out more about her at http://www.maggietoussaint.com.
(The Killer Nashville Guest Blog series is coordinated by KN Executive Director Beth Terrell (http://www.elizabethterrell.com/). To be a part of this series, contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.)