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April 16, 2008



I have no business at any of these cons. I go strictly to see writer friends that I rarely get to see.

That's why I don't go much - too expensive. I mean, they're writers, they can't be THAT good of friends.

But seriously, folks... look at this year's MWA shindig. I am going for the two days of panels, but because the panels are now two days (instead of one) I'm choosing to miss the Edgar Awards ceremony.

I figure it would cost me another $600-800 just to stay that extra night, after paying for registration, some sort of monkey suit, the additional meals, and another night in a NY hotel.

I went to LIM this year and it was great. Easy to get to for me, and a more intimate setting to hang out with folks. And the price beats the others.

I won't ever attend another TFest because of the money. Not that it may not be worth it for some folks, but for me - as a hanger-outer - it is not worth it. Not even close.

Give me LIM or LCC every year and I'm good.


Me again. It's all about me, isn't it?

Well, I thought I should spew some waste about if aspiring writers or fans shoudl attend all these cons.

Why not? Well, probably not all. If you look at the panels of the three or four major cons over the last few years, I'd guess that about 90% of them were all the same. Just the same people rehashing the same stuff.

That other 10% is the cool stuff - when you get some creative people running the thing who come up with unique and INTERESTING/ENTERTAINING panels.

If you're attending simply to improve yourself as a writer, pick one con a year and spend the rest of your dough on ink.

If you're going to buddy up to and hang around your favorite authors, find which cons will have your top three or four and go.

If you're going for no other reason than to be able to tell your non-con-going friends that you drank with Konrath or sat with Child or got a hug from Tess, then go to every single con possible. Spend every dime you have on them.

David J. Montgomery

Here are my estimated costs to attend this year's ThrillerFest:

Hotel (4 nights): $1200
Amtrak ticket: $200
Conference registration: $250
Food, Drink, Incidentals: $300
Total: $1950

That is a hefty chunk of change. And that doesn't even include such additional expenses, which I opted against, like CraftFest (a couple hundred bucks) or the Banquet ($150).

All I can say is, it better be a helluva lotta fun.

David J. Montgomery

"If you look at the panels of the three or four major cons over the last few years, I'd guess that about 90% of them were all the same. Just the same people rehashing the same stuff."

This is a serious problem with writers conferences. The panels are almost always lousy. So many people don't even bother going to panels because they know they're not going to be any good.

It's a real challenge to come up with good ideas. I know that. (I was the Programming Chair for the first ThrillerFest.) But I think the people putting on conferences have to do a better job of it. Fans deserve a more entertaining show for the money they're shelling out.

Patti Abbott

Another problem--you have to be good at coming out of the corner and meeting people. You have to be confident that you have something to add to the discussion. A lot of people that write are basically shy. And it's hard promoting yourself. We're taught not to. And you are very right about the panels being too much the same. From year to year and panel to panel, there's not much new. If I go again, it will be to a small conference near where I live.

Elaine Flinn

There's really not much to add to what David & Guyot pointed out as the plus and negative sides. David's cost breakdown is pretty damn right on too.

Too many authors (especially the newbies), however, never - or don't want to face the reality that financially most cons - and book tours -are a direct financial loss. You can't sell enough books at either to offset the costs. Even the 'after-sales' at book stores. This is especially true for pbo writers. Okay, so the costs are tax deductible - but if you haven't enough income to justifty the dough - after three years of loss, IRS will consider your writing as a hobby, and not a profession.

So far, I've been lucky and don't fall into that category - and honestly? Hell, I go to see my friends. Friends who have made the journey worth much more than the costs. If I'm lucky enough to pick up some new readers - see those I already have - then that's the icing on the cake.

But then, that's just me.

Elaine Flinn

Oh, forgot to add - those of us living out west have even greater costs than what David listed. So choosing a con for us has to be more than a one day affair.

And Patti's right about the panels - I keep telling myself to go to all of them, and then don't. And for the same reasons -most of them are reruns. She's also right about coming out of the corner and learning how to be affable. I'm still working on that myself.

Harry Hunsicker

I had a brief visit with the Bouchercon 2008 panel chair at LCC a few weeks ago. I think everybody will be very interested in the panels this year. They're working on some really innovative topics and author pairings.

Patti Abbott

If that's true about Bouchercon, they should get that info on their site. If I thought I would really learn more than genre definitions and insider stories, I might go despite standing in corners between panels. Sometime I think the most valuable events are the ones where one person interviews another rather than trying to tag four people with a panel topic. Or people reading their work.

Elaine Flinn

Now Bcon 2008 is one I'm really looking forward to...just knowing the Jordan's are involved means we'll have some fun with the panels.

And TFest? Not this year - we're remodeling. Enough said. But I agree with Guyot - the costs for TFest continue to climb. And having it in NY again makes it even more costly than necessary - especially with the economy now.

Patti Abbott

Clarification-I mean reading his/her work is a *good* thing.
Also, it may be that Bouchercon is for two distinct groups of people: fans and fairly successful writers. There are probably other conferences where new writers or short story writers would be more comfortable.


I suggest that newly published authors go to as many conferences as they can afford. My first year, I went to every place that would have me. Did I sell a lot of books? No. Did I make a lot of friends in the industry with whom I can now stay in touch by phone and e-mail? Oh, yes. Have those people given me good advice, scoop on what's going on, intros to other people and occasionally crash space on tour? You betcha. Plus, like I said, I made great, interesting, and fun friends. I'm not doing as many conferences as I was before, but I definitely don't regret hitting a lot of them when I was starting.

And since you brought it up, the insanely high cost of Thrillerfest is a topic that's definitely been raised in more than a few places. It's keeping several people I've talked to from going, and I've heard the term "millionaire's conference" more than once. Hopefully the organizers are eventually going to be listening, but I haven't heard much evidence that they are.

Elaine Flinn

You're hearing the same thing about TFest, Dusty -that I heard last year when I was there - and the echos are even louder this year. I told several board members what I'd been hearing then - and alas, they still opted to stay in NY. Maybe, if attendance is down enough this year, they'll rethink it. If fans can't afford to go - then what's the point? I mean, socializing among writers is fine, but isn't the presence of fans the main idea and draw of any con?

Jon Jordan

The panels for Bouchercon in Baltimore will be on the site once they are all set.

This early in the game there are still a lot of people still in the process of registering. Having helped previous Bouchercons with this I know that it makes sense to wait to put everything in place.

We may be able to put up some of them with out setting the times in stone.


I don't see the need myself, though I had a very good time in Chicago. Chicago rocks.

Tasha Alexander

Ummmm.....what's a person got to do to get on the list for Dave's Backyard Hootenanny???


I can't remember ever learning something at a writing conference. I never got any "networking" benefit, although I don't go looking for that.

To me, they're entertainment. Pure fun. Entertainment that's write-offable.

David Montgomery

Conferences are great for networking. In addition to all the writers, I've gotten to know agents, editors, reviewers, booksellers... All kinds of people through conferences.

I think I've learned some writing craft stuff, but the main education comes about the business. Spending time with the right people at a conference can be like grad school for the publishing industry.

Michelle Gagnon

I'll admit to a bias, since I'm one of the volunteers who signed up to help promote Thrillerfest. And I understand the complaints regarding the expense and the fact that it's in New York. However, I would argue that (at least for me, a relative newbie) that's what makes it one thriller writers should make every effort to attend. I volunteered to help promote it mainly because my experience last year was so positive. There are huge advantages to holding it in NY, which for better or worse is the publishing capital of the country. More than 35 top agents are showing up this year to hear pitches. In the past year I attended LCC, LIM, Bouchercon, and a slew of other, smaller conferences where if a few agents showed up you were lucky, and there were no pitch sessions set up, at least that I saw. At Thrillerfest 2007, my books sold out on the first day, thanks to the fact that I was on a well-attended panel with Jeffery Deaver, and people who probably would never have heard my name otherwise saw me on the same podium and bought a copy of my debut. Plus, I have Thrillerfest to thank for both of the blurbs on my upcoming thriller, since I had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with Douglas Preston and Jeffery Deaver...while I've been at other conferences where the "big names" who supposedly attended showed up for the banquet and were noticeably absent or unapproachable the rest of the weekend. The fact that it's in New York provides the opportunity to meet editors and book store owners based there, as well as the most bestselling authors I've seen at a conference (although I understand that Bouchercon was a very different beast last year since it was helpd in Alaska). And since the conference is still relatively small, it's not as if there are a few hundred other people also trying to get a word in with Lee Child.
That's my two cents, which admittedly is based on my own personal experience. So as David said, for a newcomer, Thrillerfest is one I'd definitely make the effort to attend. And granted not all fans can make it, but I think the population density in New York means there is the potential for many more fans to show up from the tri-state area than might be able to make it to Chicago or Florida.
Also, one final thing-- RWA is in San Francisco this year, and the registration fee alone is $450. I live here, and even with that as my only expense I can't really afford to go.

Michelle Gagnon

And btw...can't believe I missed Dave's Backyard Hootenanny last year. I can only imagine the panel topics...

Cozy Crime

As I retired librarian who is not made of money, I must say, I am a bit insulted by the comments of Michelle Gagnon.

I am sure you are a fine person, but let me give you my "personal experience" to contrast yours.

First, there are many, many fans and authors living outside of the tri-state area. Do they not matter as much as the ones living inside your ropes?

Secondly, the fact that 35 agents are showing up means nothing, but I don't fault you for this, being new to the whole conference-going lifestyle. What good is 35 agents in New York for a writer living in New Mexico or Arizona? WHereas, if there was a conference they could afford to attend, which had three or four agents attending, well, that's three or four agents the writer could pitch to, isn't it?

And I don't know what conferences you attended where the "big names" were noticeably absent for the weekend. To date, I have attended thirteen conferences, many more than yourself, and I cannot remember one where any of the "big names" as you put it, were not gracious and available the entire weekend, be it in the hotel bar, the lobby, the panels, luncheons, etc.

Lastly, I am not a fan of thrillers. I enjoy cozies, so there is not much reason for me to attend a Thrillerfest. Like I'm sure there is not much reason for a thriller writer to attend Malice. But I worry about the future of our beloved genres. We have become so obsessed with labeling and segregating authors and readers in categories, it reminds of the 50's and 60's before MLK. I don't like it one bit.

I apologize to all for sounding a bit stern this morning, but there are times this librarian has to stand up and say "shh."

Michelle Gagnon

I'm so sorry you took my comments the wrong way, since I absolutely did not mean to offend anyone. I would however argue that many if not most of the writers that I know, regardless of where they live, are represented by a NY-based agent. There are of course wonderful agents who live and work elsewhere in the country (and some of them will be attending Agentfest this year, too.) And I think it's fantastic that you have had such a positive experience meeting "big names" at other conventions. Sadly, that hasn't always been my experience at the eight I've attended. And I agree, the last thing we need is a segregation of the crime fiction field. But I think there are wonderful conferences (like Malice) specific to certain genres, and equally wonderful conferences with include everyone under the same umbrella.
Apologies if I insulted anyone, that was never my intent. I was just trying to present one opinion based on a positive experience I had at Thrillerfest last year.

Michelle Gagnon

One last thing- the Thrillerfest people just announced that The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will be in attendance,demonstrating the weapons, tools and vehicles the ATF uses in day-to-day operations. As a thriller writer, I think that could be a really cool and unique panel.

David J. Montgomery

Michelle, I don't think you said anything wrong, and I echo your comments about ThrillerFest.

Michelle Gagnon

Thanks, David. Does this mean I'm still invited to the hootenanny?

Elaine Flinn

Let me join the chorus, Michelle! Your comment wasn't at all offensive or one that required an apology.

While I'm still of the opinion that having the con in other cities (ala Bcon) would be more fan friendly, and less costly for everyone, I thoroughly enjoyed both TFest's that I attended. I won't be going this year - we're doing some remodeling that week and have family coming in from Maui.

I'm just sorry to learn your previous experiences were less than what you'd hoped.

JT Ellison

Wading in from the newbie perspective...

I'm not an accomplished convention-goer, so I can't speak to more than what I've attended. But I fully credit Murder in the Magic City with jumpstarting my career. I met people who introduced me to people, which resulted in my first published short. In short order, I had a deal. I went to Thrillerfest a month later, a green as green can be. I was received with unbelievably open arms. My idols were at that conference, my literary heroes, and they were accessible, honest, and happy to share their expertise. What a boon to a new writer.

I've never been to a conference like it, and alas, I fear I never will again. There was something utterly magical about Phoenix -- whether it was the heat, the proximity of readers and writers of all levels, or just Arizona dust.

Thrillerfest in New York last summer had its problems, but it is the premier event for thriller writers. The cost is exorbitant, but like Michelle said, many of us have New York based publishers, editors and agents, and there is nothing, and I mean nothing, so important to a writer's career than meeting your people face to face. Wasn't there a conflict with BEA in LA this year that necessitated staying in New York? I thought I heard that was the reason.

Cozy raises the point that I think we're all concerned about. These conferences seem to be getting more and more "writer" based, rather than "reader" based. At this point in my career, I am more interested in meeting readers than I am meeting agents. For a yet-to-be published writer though, it is invaluable. To launch your career, it's just one of those costs of doing business.

I'd love to see Thrillerfest continue to thrive by creating a balance between the writing side and the reading side. I think they've made strides toward that by separating out the unbelievably cool Craftfest. And I was thrilled to see that the ATF will be present, because that lends this con something no on else has.

But we need to hear more opinions like Cozy's, (Cozy, Michelle is an absolute doll and you'd love her if you had a chance to meet her, trust me) and the other readers, to see what THEY want from the cons. The same old, same old drives everyone mad.

JT Ellison

Can I echo Elaine here too?

I'd like to see it move away from New York as well. A movable Thrillerfest Feast would be a good thing.

Come to Nashville. It's CHEAP to have a conference here!!!


"The premiere event for thriller writers."

I'm not picking on JT here - she knows that - but this is a statement I've heard thrown around by many.

My response is... uh, yeah, it's the ONLY event for thriller writers.

I was in Toronto when the ITW thing came about, and ThrillerFest (then nameless) was born.

I remember the comments and the rants and what everyone agreed they wanted in an organization and event.

From my memory, after the fantastic Phoenix event, ITW and TFest became exactly what everyone was vowing to never be in an organization and event. But this is simply my perspective and personal opinion. Speaking of which...

If ITW wants to hold TFest in NY every year, good on ya. I think it's stupid, and elitist, and in the end going to hurt them, but they have every right to do it.

I think they are pricing themselves out of the mainstream of conference goers, but their attitude seems to suggest they want just that. The "premiere event" - meaning, you gotta pay if you wanna play with us. Can't afford us? Go to one of those lesser cons, meet fewer agents, have less chance of a career.

Again, an attitude that is counter to the original intent of the organization, but hey, good on ya.

I think what they tried to do with the whole Killer Year thing was a joke. KY was a very cool thing for a very cool group of writers going through a special once-in-a-lifetime thing together that same year. It would have been even more special had they not been sucked in by the hype of ITW, and had their private, cool thing turned into just one more marketing toy in a sea overflowing with marketing toys. Thank God it seems as if someone came to their senses, so we won't see Killer Year Class of 2014, but too bad it happened so late, and took away some of the uniqueness for the 2007 gang.

But again, this is just me. I don't even write books. And the people who went to TFest NY last year and are raving about it this year - that same, specific group of people - seem very happy, so there you go. And though I don't see the joy lasting, to each his/her own.

Lastly, I would caution new writers, and say don't believe the hype that getting involved in ITW or TFest will jumpstart your career like nothing else. It's not going to hurt you in any way, and you'll meet a bunch of people that will be fun to say you're friends with. But look, meeting James Patterson or David Morrell, or saying you're buddies with Lee Child isn't going to help you earn-out. And once you add up the money and time involved, you may find you were better off spending that dough buying copies of your own debut, and spending that amount of time honing your writing skills.

But like I said, I don't even write books.

Patrick Balester

I attended my first writer's conference this year at Love is Murder, and consider it to be a very valuable learning experience. I met a lot of great writers and several influential reviewers, including this blog's host, David Montgomery. The panels were well worth attending, but, as a new writer, that's probably to be expected.

I keep in touch with several people I met there...I suppose that's what they call "networking". I prefer to think of it as keeping in touch with some really cool people I met.

Will I feel the same way in a couple more years? I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Elaine Flinn

"Wasn't there a conflict with BEA in LA this year that necessitated staying in New York? I thought I heard that was the reason."

Nope. That's not the reason. L.A. has more than one hotel.

David J. Montgomery

I think that, like all new organizations, ITW has made some missteps along the way. They've done some good stuff and some lame stuff. And although I'm a member of ITW, this is a large part of why I'm not much of a joiner. I don't like big organizations and the type of bureaucratic thinking that goes along with them. I do support ITW -- but I wouldn't mind seeing some changes in the organization's thinking.

As for ThrillerFest... Having the conference in NYC every year is a double-edged sword. The plus side is that it allows the conference to attract a lot of editors and agents who wouldn't attend if it were in Wichita. It also attracts a lot of popular authors (the people the fans want to see) by virtue of its desirable location and proximity to the center of publishing. In theory, it also allows them to attract a large local fan base.

On the other hand, it means the conference is expensive -- out of the reach of a lot of the ordinary fans -- and is probably only going to attract fans from the Tri-State area. Of course, that has a hitch, too, in that there is so much in NYC competing for people's attention. It's very hard to attract attention in the midst of all that activity. (This is true of the conference attendees as well. Last year, it seems like a lot of events weren't well attended because people were at the theatre or out shopping.)

On the other hand, if the conference varied locations, it would add exposure to a new local fan base every year. It would also be cheaper to stage in probably any other city. (The downside would be you wouldn't attract as many publishing people, and it would be tougher to get some of the big names.)

But I think the most important thing, regardless of where you hold events like these, is that the organizers must give the attendees a GOOD SHOW. This is especially true if you're trying to be a fan conference and not just a writers conference. (Several times at ThrillerFest last year, I heard authors look around and say, "There are no fans here.") The fans want to be entertained. They want to have a fun, memorable experience that is worth spending a couple grand on.

It's very difficult to figure all of this stuff out, and ITW is still a new organization and ThrillerFest is still a new event. I think we need to give them time to find their way and decide what they're trying to do and how best to do it.

MWA has been around for decades. Bouchercon has as well (and still has its share of troubles, controversy, etc.)

For a 3-year-old organization, and a 2-year-old conference, I think ITW and ThrillerFest are doing a good job. But I also think they need to continue to study what they're doing, assess what their goals are, and figure out what the best way of achieving those goals is. I would hate to see what started out so positively degenerate into something so much less.


Well, comewhat belatedly, I also support Michelle's comments. I saw absolutely nothing in them that could offend anyone and probably some excellent advice for new authors in the thriller genre. If twenty-odd agents attend thrillerfest, then we must assume they are looking to sign up authors of thrillers. Sounds like a good thing to me.
And fans and authors of cozies go to Malice anyway -- so why fuss? Furthermore, New York is a very large city with the greatest concentration of publishing industry folks and literate people.
(Besides, I love New York and don't need much of a reason to go.)


Hi there,

I’ve been following this topic with interest, and since JT made a comment about what readers want, well, here I am ;-)

I think what’s often forgotten is that every year, there’s a small but significant number of attendees at every conference who have never, ever, attended one of these things before. They’re unclear about panels, they’re not quite sure why they should stand in line to get their books signed, and they often don’t know anyone.

If I hadn’t had pals to show me the ropes in Toronto in 2004, it would’ve been a horrible experience. But they let me trail around after them, I started meeting people, and it became one of my all-time great memories.

If there were one thing I could change about conferences, there’d be a bigger focus on ‘newbies’. There’d be a noticeable effort to make them comfortable. Which, by the way, is the thing that I think is the biggest bummer about Thrillerfest at the Grand Hyatt. I’ve got no problem at all with T’Fest’s cost, or their focus, as long as they’re up front about it (and they are, I think). And I agree with the comments David just made.

But after the great experience at Phoenix, word got out about how much fun it had been, and I started hearing: “I’ve never been to a conference before, I’m going to Thrillerfest”. I was looking forward to another great experience as well. And then I got to the Grand Hyatt. The Hyatt is a fine hotel, but it’s massive. And finding conference events was not easy, and finding the bar wasn’t easy, and many attendees spent more time out in NYC than they did at the conference. So the whole time I was there, I kept looking around, wondering if there was some poor person sitting alone, having worked up enough nerve to come to the conference, and not being able to find anyone to hang out with. It would’ve been a relatively simple fix, just some signage and a hospitality suite, but I have no idea how easy the Hyatt is to work with.

It seems to me that the structure of conferences is sort of intrinsic: receptions, panels, banquet, and of course, the bar. But within the structure, organizers can be creative.

One last comment: I don’t think of them as writers conference or readers conferences. They’re just fun weekends for people who love books – that’s what draws us all together, right?

Elaine Flinn

Rae's comments about Phoenix vs the Grand H are right on the money. Phoenix had an intimacy that is impossible to recreate at the GH. It was that very feeling (in Phoenix) of being a part of 'the crowd' that so many enjoyed. LCC in Monterey had that same atmosphere, and I'm sure LCC on Hawaii will have it again. And I also agree that a hospitality room that is easily found (!)would make a big difference. It would be great if organizers would also create a volunteer group of writers to act as 'greeters' to attendees. I make a habit of saying 'hello', and I know others do so as well...but a group of 'official's' would be terrific.


Coming from a more academic (?) or at least nonfiction background, I was quite surprised to see how panels were conducted at mystery conventions. On other panels at non-mystery events I had participated in, the moderator had read each one of the panelists' work and often the panelists were at least familiar with each other's books so we could have dynamic discussions and debates. So it's not only about promoting but having a dialogue and sharing information. I think that the audience at mystery conventions want entertainment and humorous panels, but I think there's a place for more thoughtful exchanges as well. That's why my favorite aspect of mystery conventions are the one-on-one discussions (Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke, Paula Woods and Walter Mosley, etc.).

David J. Montgomery

I wholeheartedly agree with Rae's suggestion that more needs to be done to help people who are new to conference-going get the most they can out of the experience. I think that is very important. All of us remember what it was like to attend our first conference -- chances are we didn't know anyone, didn't know what a panel was, had no freakin idea what we were doing. If we were lucky, we met someone who took us under their wing and helped us enjoy ourselves. I think conferences need to do more along those lines to help people enjoy themselves.

When I did the program for TFest I, I proposed an informal seminar (so to speak) right at the beginning of the conference called "ThrillerFest 101" -- an orientation guide for people attending for the first time. It didn't end up happening, but I still think it's a great idea.

Elaine Flinn

What a shame they didn't take you up on that great idea, David. That and a crew of 'greeters' would really lay out the red carpet for first time attendees.

Oh, well...

David J. Montgomery

To be fair, we considered and discarded a number of ideas. But this one I think could be valuable if done right.


Maybe have the Hooters girls do it? I bet them Thriller fellas could afford it!

David J. Montgomery

That's actually not a bad idea. With the Hooters Casino in Vegas shutting down, the girls could probably use the work.

Elaine Flinn

Now, David! Just *how* do you know the Hooters in Vegas is shutting down, huh?

Michelle Gagnon

I think they did actually do something like that at Thrillerfest last year, there was an option to have a "first thrill" sticker on your name tag or something like that...but I don't seem to recall any Hooters girls. Although if I remember correctly some of the Grand Hyatt panel rooms were kept roughly at the same temperature as a meat locker, not sure how the ladies would hold up to the cold in those little shorts...

David J. Montgomery

The Hyatt is a really nice hotel (although ungodly expensive -- those $8 beers were killers), but the meeting space is less than ideal. I'll confess to frequently not being able to find what I was looking for. (I'll grant you that was probably my fault, though. Too many $8 beers.)

J.D. Rhoades

David: you actually got served by the surly bartenders? What's your secret?

My biggest gripe with the GH was that it was, across the board, some of the worst service I've ever had, anywhere.

David J. Montgomery

I guess I had good luck at the bar. On the other hand, the maid wouldn't give me any wash cloths.

Patrick Balester

I'm new to conferences, but a frequent traveler. Whether service at the bar, or fresh sheets and wash cloths, I've found that a bribe (or a good tip) can usually overcome that problem. Bring lots of small bills (unmarked, preferably).

Kathryn Fox

I have to say that I appreciate ITW because I am an Australian thriller writer published in the US. In terms of cost, it's enormous for me to travel to NY, and takes about 30 hours to get there, but I found it worth the expense. It was a great opportunity to meet a concentration of book sellers, editors, readers, and have conversations with well known and respected authors and a certain reviewer! Learning about the business side of writing from people in the know, was invaluable. I learnt so much so quickly, my head was spinning. (And some of the booksellers and authors still stay in touch!!!)

It's impossible to put a true price on that.
In a publishing industry where to have a book published is like winning the lottery, then having that book sell is like being struck twice by lightening, the opportunity to network, speak to industry people in person and make an impression is worth far more than the cost of the conference/travel. I save pennies because the way I see it, competing in a sport at national or international level requires travel to major events. At times, so does being an author.

Kathryn Fox

Oops, forgot to mention: I have to say that the service at the GH was a surprise. I couldn't even get served at the bar (must be invisible) so bigger male people ordered for me. Not a ploy, I still paid.
The kiosk in the lobby at the GH, now that was an experience. I ordered a white tea and got a black coffee. The barista argued with me that I had definitely ordered a black coffee. Funny thing is, I avoid conflict, but for once I was confident I was right. I don't drink coffee. Even when I explained that politely, he raised his voice a couple of decibels and kept telling me he knew what I ordered. It felt like a comedy skit for a few minutes. Dare I say, I was the only one in line at the time! Welcome to NY. It's all part of the experience of travelling! I'll be back this July, can't wait! Have also signed up for Bouchercon...

Rebecca Cantrell

Wow! This sure touched a nerve. I'm going to Thrillerfest this year because it's in NYC and I can meet my editor/publicist/sales team while I'm there. I used to go to conferences all the time when I lived in CA, but now that I'm in HI most are too far away and expensive. The Maui Writer's Conference (and especially the Retreat) has been very good for me. I've learned a lot. And I got my agent there, plus met several mentors and wonderful fellow writers with whom I'm still in touch. That said, it's too darn expensive for me to go this year.

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About Me

David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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