Wednesday, November 09, 2011

How To Get the Most Out of The New England Crimebake Mystery Conference

From the Crimebake committee: 

Welcome to Crime Bake

Top Ten Ways to Get the Most from Your Conference

#1. Be Prepared. Make a list of your goals, outlining what you’d like to achieve while you are here: Talk Kansas and Kalifornia with Guests of Honor Nancy Pickard and Barry Eisler, talk art and artistic thievery with Anthony Amore, pitch Terri Bischoff your charming Maine lobstah cozy, etc. Get ready to make the most of every hour!

#2. Do Your Homework. Read the program. Know which sessions you’d like to attend, and why. Study the panelists and their bios—note the agents who represent your sub-genre, the authors who write the dialogue, plot, character, etc., you came here to master.

#3. Make Friends. A stranger at Crime Bake is just a friend/agent/editor you haven’t met/pitched/flattered yet. Introduce yourself to everyone hanging at the bar, sitting next to you at the panels, lurking around in a trench coat at the Banquet. Anyone with a Crime Bake badge is fair game.

#4. Participate! There’s a time for discretion—and this is not it. Ask questions during the Q&A at every panel; sign up for a pitch session with an agent (if you’ve got no particular project to pitch, ask a market-related question); network big-time at Breakfast with the Authors.

#5. Meet Everyone. (And we mean everyone, living, published, and unpublished.) Don’t be shy. This bears repeating: Don’t be shy. Approach anyone and everyone you ever wanted to meet: Ask Hallie Ephron about Hollywood’s take on her thriller; treat John Willig to a martini (the bar is where the agents and editors hang out—truly, madly, deeply); buy Michael Palmer’s novel and chat him up while he signs it. If you really are shy, grab the nearest Crime Bake staffer and wrangle an intro.

#6. Ask for Assistance. The conference and hotel staffers are here to help you—whether you need an introduction or a blanket, a last-minute pitch session (because you’ve finally gathered your courage) or a cab to the nearby new mall, Legacy Place (but why shop when you can buy John Willig a martini?).

#7. Keep an Open Mind. The agent you pitched doesn’t do paranormal cat mysteries—or does cozies and just signed one too much like yours. The author spelled your mother’s name wrong when s/he signed the book you hoped to give her for Christmas. You spilled a drink all over that agent you were wooing at the cocktail party. Whatever happens—good, bad, or contractual—remember that this is a learning experience and rejection is an inevitable part of the process. Nothing worth spilling blood over—except on the page.

#8. Go for Blood, Er, Broke. This is a jam-packed weekend—don’t miss out on anything. Spring for a master class, stay up late in the bar, dance the night away Saturday night. This is an immersion experience: Immerse yourself in the writing dream. You can sleep when you’re published.

#9. Buy Books! Buying books for your favorite Crime Bake authors to sign is not just fun, it’s another smart way to network. Buy them early (that is, before the given author’s panel) so you don’t have to stand in line so long. Remember: Someday we’ll be buying yours.

#10. Stay in Touch. Exchange business cards and e-mails, join MWA and SinC, form your own writers’ group. Set yourself up for a great year of writing, networking, and publishing…until next year’s spectacular 11th Annual New England Crime Bake!


MaxWriter said...

Excellent list, Judy!


Rhonda Lane said...

Great list. Here's hoping we're all still vertical on Monday. :)