To answer part of this question I need to ask another first….”Why am I a writer?” The answer to that is “Because I’ve been an avid reader of crime fiction my whole life.” As a reader, my relationship was always with the book, its characters and the world within it – not with the author; I’m not a truly fanatical “fan girl” type, I suppose. But that didn’t stop me becoming an admirer of certain authors whose work always delighted and transported me.
Bouchercon is a fan convention, and a wonderful convention to attend even if you don’t think of yourself as a “fan” but as an “admirer”. I’m delighted to meet the people who’ve created the worlds I enjoy visiting, and characters I have come to know. I attend panels where I can hear them speak about their work, spend time with them at the bar of coffee shop, and, in some happy cases, I have become truly friendly with them and have taken the chance to learn from what they can tell me about writing, and the publishing world.
There’s also another fascinating aspect to Bouchercon – I’ve met authors whose works I had never read before meeting them, have really liked the person so have read their works… and have found entire new worlds to explore, new characters to follow, and new go-to authors.
And when you’re an author yourself, Bouchercon is a wonderland of fellow authors, readers and potential readers of your work, and gives you the chance to mingle with bloggers, reviewers, publishers and agents; never underestimate the power of meeting those who can help your career face to face.
So, whether you’re an author, an unpublished writer or “merely” (and there’s no “merely” about it!) a reader, Bouchercon gives you the chance to meet people whose work you admire, from whom you can learn a great deal, or those who might be able to help you steer your career path. When Bouchercon is in Toronto in October 2017 there’ll be a great chance to meet lots of your fellow members of Crime Writers of Canada too – I hope you come and join the party.
Cathy Ace is the author of the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries and the Cait Morgan Mysteries, the fourth of which won the Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery in 2015. Cathy is current Board Chair of Crime Writers of Canada.
This article first appeared in Crime Time, the members-only newsletter for Crime Writers of Canada, in February 2017, and is reproduced here with the permission of the author and Crime Writers of Canada.