Hi! I've been known to be pretty reclusive, but I'd like to start attending some good and informative mystery/crime writing conferences. Does anyone have any suggestions of those you found particularly fun and interesting?
There is a distinction between fan conventions and writer's conferences.
Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and Malice Domestic are great examples of fan conventions. They're big and fun and feature lots of your favorite authors talking about their books.
Sleuthfest is a good example of a writer's conference. Though writers are on the panels, they are more likely to be talking about craft. At Sleuthfest, there are three tracks: one for beginning writers, focused on things like writing dialogue and creating tension. The second is a marketing track - how to get an agent, how to promote your books. The third is a technical track - speakers such as coroners, arson investigators, police detectives, private eyes.
At a fan convention, a panel on "exotic locations" would be "How I use exotic locations in my work, including some interesting anecdotes." At a writer's conference, the same panel would focus more on "How you can research and use exotic locations in your own work."
Both kinds of events are great to go to. Just consider what it is you want.
I think folks working on the "fan conventions" will feel like I did reading this. And how is that? We have more authors than fans registered for Bouchercon2007. Maybe this one will be more of a writer's conference than fan convention? Many on the Bcon07 steering committee also coordinated Left Coast Crime in 2001 in Anchorage and that one has made some best-selling crime/mystery writers who wouldn't be today if they hadn't attended that conference. Author Mike Doogan comes to mind. That's also where Alaska Sisters in Crime first sent authors to rural Alaska and it was such a success for the authors and communities, that it is happening with this year's Bouchercon. Both Authors to the Bush/Authors to the Schools. Most of the panels are writers talking about the craft. We have the marketing track, including a panel of agents and one of publishers. We have the technical track with a full day of CSI put on by the Alaska State Police museum (it's an award-winning program and very comprehensive over a full day), the search and rescues, the detective, investigators, coroners, etc. There are panels on how writers can better use the internet. Also, since we live here, I guess we're not seeing it as exotic, just a wonderful place that everyone should experience at least once in their life time. When reading the history of the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, this was intended to be a writer's convention more than a fanfest.. but we wouldn't be writers without the fans, and so are working hard to balance the two. I've not been to a great number of these conventions, so this is mostly responding from what I know about the upcoming program at Bouchercon. I think sometimes these things get labeled, despite having different people organizing each of the conferences and doing the program. I hope you'll keep an open mind and look at the programs and participants, the big picture. I have not been to any other B'cons, but just know this one is going to be the experience of a lifetime for all of us... especially those of us who live here.