Just back from Bouchercon, the World Mystery Conference in North Carolina and learned a lot, like setting real expectations for myself and how to have fun in the process.
Picking which panel to audit when there are upwards of thirty per day can be challenging and we all want to make the best use of our time. So take the time to study the schedule and make your choices in advance.
Start by picking the panels speaking about the subjects you know least about or are the most curious about. Be smart enough to realize that you don’t know everything and that some of these writers really know their stuff.
I like attending panels that are related to my genre: discussions on how to portray a great villain, or how to keep the pace going in a thriller.
Technical panels can help as well: how to get the most out of social media? What to blog about. What not to blog about. How not to piss off your Facebook friends and is Twitter a real thing?
Best of all I like attending the panels with the old masters like Clive Cussler, Lawrence Block, Nelson DeMIlle, people who have been to the mountaintop and aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind. They’re not pandering to the audience and aren’t pretentious and the pearls that come out of their mouths . . . priceless . . . and they’re funny as hell.
Whether you’re a reader or a fan, writing conferences are great fun and educational.
Check one out some time – Here are some of the major ones: