Bouchercon can be intimidating for a writer just starting out.
I remember my very first, when I found myself in the signing room sitting next to Robert Bloch. At least I can now say I shook hands with the man who wrote Psycho! Not so long after, I sat next to Sue Grafton. Needless to say, her queue was out of the door and mine was non-existent, but Sue was kind enough to share her wine with me and even send a few book buyers my way. That’s the sort of thing you remember about Bouchercons years later, as well as the fact that there was only one waitress on duty and the bar closed at eleven o’clock. It’s really the people that make it what it is.
I know there’s a lot of business involved, especially self-promotion, using the opportunity to get your name better known, but don’t forget the parties. I’ve made many lifelong friends at Bouchercons. I even met my agent at one in Pasadena, and he’s still my agent twenty-five years later. So by all means do the business, make the rounds, but don’t forget to take a little time to talk to the fans and make friends with other writers.
Author of the Inspector Banks Mystery Series, Peter Robinson‘s work has been shortlisted for, and won, many awards, including a record-breaking four Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Novel (in 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2012). He served two terms as President of Crime Writers of Canada, and is still a stalwart member.
This article first appeared in Crime Time, the members-only newsletter for Crime Writers of Canada, in December 2016, and is reproduced here with the permission of the author and Crime Writers of Canada.