For budding crime thriller writers, it’s a challenge to connect with readers and other writers and to learn about the marketplace. That’s the reason for conferences like Bouchercon. I’m just back from the 2014 version in Long Beach, California.
Overall, I learned a ton. However, I arrived with apprehension after receiving an email inviting me to join the “Meet the New Authors Breakfast”. Did I want to stand up and tell readers and other writers the most important thing they should know about The Case for Killing? In fifty seconds? Along with fifty-two other debut writers? At 7:00 a.m.?
My instinctive response was to run. But I know I need to self-promote, so I agreed.
Long Beach hasn’t seen rain in months, but the first day there, the breakfast hung over me like a towering cumulus. When I arrived at the event the following morning, the same cloud obviously hung over other presenters. Faces were grim, breaths were deep and laughter was nervous.
I said things like “No one’s listening anyway,” and “Who’s going to be here at 7:00 a.m.?” Useless platitudes. A microphone and speakers made sure people had to listen, and the large room filled. I acquired an advanced case of stage fright.
Well, I certainly didn’t hit it out of the park, but the fifty seconds got done. It turns out that when you’re staring into the eye of a storm, they go by very fast. I wish I could have used humour like other presenters did. Sadly, it’s just not my strong suit in those situations. I did say I once practiced law and I’m told some folks responded with a gentle hiss. Yeah, I’m probably going to stop mentioning that.
Anyway, despite the panic, I’m counting those fifty seconds as a great experience. Mostly that’s because I met a lot of interesting debut writers. It’d be nice, though, if my heart returned to sixty beats per minute some time soon.
Thanks for the opportunity Bouchercon.
Logo used with the permission of Bouchercon 2014.
Copyright © 2014 Peter Fritze