I attend two different types of conferences: writers conferences and fan conferences. Writers conferences provide an opportunity to improve writing craft, meet agents and editors and learn how to promote books. Fan conferences focus on the readers of a specific genre, in my case, mysteries.
In Colorado I have attended four excellent writers conferences: The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold Conference, The Pikes Peak Writers Conference, The Northern Colorado Writers Conference and the Castle Rock Writers Conference. These are one to three day eventss. Early on, I paid most attention to the workshops on improving writing craft: plot, character development, setting, show don’t tell. Over time I started attending more panels on how to pitch to agents and editors and how to sell your manuscript. Finally, I graduated to sessions on promoting a book. I still go to at least one writers conference a year, often on the faculty to teach one or more workshops, but I also attend as many workshops as possible. I find it important to continue to improve my writing skills so I always sit in on a number of sessions on writing craft. I’m most loyal to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference because I sold my first novel, Retirement Homes Are Murder, as a result of a pitch session to Deni Dietz of Five Star at the 2005 conference.Fan conferences focus on the readers and are enjoyable because, as a writer, I have a chance to mingle with other mystery writers and fans who are enthusiastic about all flavors of mysteries. I go to at least one of these a year and have attended Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime and Malice Domestic. At Left Coast Crime this coming March I will again host the Meet the New Authors Breakfast, I have particularly enjoyed moderating this event because I have an opportunity to introduce newly published authors. I’ve been doing this since 2008, and it’s great to follow the careers of emerging authors.