Conferencing From The Other Side of the Table

Last weekend I went to Left Coast Crime, a mystery conference that was held in Phoenix this year. It is a fan conference, with around 700 people attending. It was my first time at LCC, but won’t be my last. A nice combination of readers and writers, interesting panels, a fun banquet, and lots of friends also attending.

Though I’ve been going to conferences for a number of years, this was one of my first conferences as a published author. I was able to pitch my book at the New Author’s Breakfast. I also had a panel–Main Street Murder. The moderator was Jenn McKinlay, and Kate Carlisle, Cheryl Hollon and Jennifer McAndrews were on the panel. Added to that, I was traveling with Sherry Harris, one of my Wicked Cozy Author blogmates and a very good friend.

A few tips that I added to my toolbox after this weekend:

  • Have a one sentence pitch ready. “What’s your book about?” comes up, and the worst thing you can do is to take more than a sentence to either hook them, or answer their polite question. If they are also an author, remember to ask them what their book is about too!
  • Bring business cards and bookmarks everywhere. Everywhere. You never know.
  • Act interested and smile all the time you are on your panel. Resting face doesn’t photograph well.
  • For that matter, smile all the time. Be friendly. Say hello. I normally am, but it is a good reminder.
  • I write under a different name. A lot of people met me as Julianne. I have to figure out how to handle that. “Call me Julie” is the easiest. Note to self, if I write another series under a different name, I need to make it sound like Julie.
  • Practice gratitude. All the time.
  • Make time for friends. Though I am a real introvert, I only retreated to my room for one nap. Other than that, I was out and about.
  • Leave room in your suitcase for books. And pack fewer clothes. I should know that one by now, but I have to keep learning. And shipping books home.

Sherry and I did a recap over on Wicked Cozy Authors. Here are some of the photos of the weekend.

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How about you, dear readers? Any conference tips?

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Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery series. Her first book, Just Killing Time, is up for a Best First Novel Agatha award. Clock and Dagger will be out in August.

4 thoughts on “Conferencing From The Other Side of the Table

  1. Loved getting to see some of your pictures from the event, and – great tips! Thanks for the tour of your adventure. 🙂

  2. Sorry I didn’t meet you Julianne. But I recognize you from your photos. We passed each other in the Atrium and on the way to panels several times.

    This was my 3rd LCC, always meet new and interesting writers. My favorite panels were sourcing experts in law enforcement / government agencies; small presses, crossing genres, and humor! The five writers on the humor panel could all do stand up comedy. They riffed off each other like they were on a late night talk show. A real hoot.

    I spoke Saturday afternoon about writing thrillers in Italy. As I told the small group who came, “I’m competing with the Liars panel and the Sex panel. What are you doing here?”

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