Friday, January 21, 2011


More musings on conferences...

I know everyone's signed up for Bloody Words 2011 time to move farther afield, to the bevy of mystery conferences held in the U.S. These are also great places to meet readers and get the good word out about Canadian writing. Also, great for networking with colleagues. For readers, it broadens the field of criminous reading.

There are more conferences than I can mention in this short blog but they're easy to find. Try the Mystery Scene magazine website as one source. I'll stick to the ones I've attended in the past. First up is Left Coast Crime being held in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 24-27th. This is a mid-sized conference and one that's easy to navigate. It's a good spot to find whatever type of mystery or crime novel you're into and best part is the location. It travels, to left coast destinations, which usually means hot spots in the cold winter. My favourite was in Monterey, CA while I unfortunately missed the one in Hawaii. What's not to like about those locations!

Cosy-lovers love Malice Domestic, again a mid-sized conference which got its start in Bethesda, Maryland (just a short subway ride to Washington, DC) and then moved to DC for several years. Well, this year it's back home in Bethesda. It's a warm, welcoming, fun conference and being held April 29-May 1st. It's home to the coveted Agatha awards, the ones that the attendees nominate and vote for the winners.

Bouchercon is the hummer of mystery/crime conventions. It's big and it also travels throughout the U.S. each fall. This year it's being held Sept. 15-18th in St. Louis, Missouri. You're sure to find the top names in American, often British, and sometimes Canadian mystery writers at this one.

Now, all offer panels, signings, dealer rooms, banquets, readings, and lots of opportunities to rub elbows with writers and readers. Just pick and choose what suits your writing and interests. Or combine the conference with some tourist time and choose the location that appeals.

The idea is to get out there and promote. It's all about the promotion these days because no matter how well-written, riveting, and satisfying a mystery you've created, if you don't promote it, it won't get the readers. But, all writers know that. And readers do want to hear about the books, do want to meet the writers, and do want to feel a part of the mystery writing world. Conferences are the way to do it.

One last, quick plug for home turf...there's also Scene of the Crime, held on Wolfe Island (Kingston area), this year on Aug. 13th. It's a one day mystery writing festival that features readings in one church, lunch with the authors (some of the top names attend), a panel in the other church, dinner with the authors and all sorts of opportunities for one-on-one schmoozing. And, what better place than an island to talk murder? Get the details at

As I said, I've barely skimmed the conferences that are out there. And we won't even start to talk about the great ones in the UK. With a new book coming out next year, I'm trying to broaden my conference horizon. Which would you recommend?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

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