Writers Conferences

by Nancy J. Cohen

This weekend I am attending SleuthFest, the annual mystery writers’ conference sponsored by Florida Chapter of MWA. I’m giving two workshops, meeting with my agent, and networking with as many other authors/fans as I can.

This last part is the reason most of us attend these things. If you’re shy, it can be hard to penetrate a group of strangers and start a conversation. But it’s easier than outside our writerly circles. “Is it your first time at this conference?” is a simple question to get started. Or, “what do you write?” is another one. We have the same shared interests and the same dreams of success. Most of us travel down similar paths on the road to publication. We know the hopes and disappointments that impede or bolster our progress.

As for the workshops, I received some good advice. “If you learn one new thing, it’s worth the attendance.” All you need is one nugget of wisdom to make the entire conference worthwhile.

Readers can attend many of these conferences, too. Malice Domestic and Bouchercon welcome fans of the mystery/crime genre. Come and hear your favorite authors speak and buy their signed books for yourself or for gifts. You’ll make new friends and learn about some great new reads.

And don’t forget to check your local libraries and bookstores for places that host author events. We’d love for you to join us. Here you can ask questions to make new friends, like “What’s your favorite genre to read?” or “What’s on your bookshelf right now?”

Books and reading draw us together. It’s how we all started as writers. It’s how we continue as readers.

Do you belong to book clubs or online reader groups? Where do you go to discuss reading and writing with like-minded friends?

Since I’ll be at SleuthFest, I will respond to your comments early next week.

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