Category: Conferences

Traveling Isn’t For Sissies: My Adventures At Left Coast Crime

With in-person events back in the universe, those of us who’ve spent two years holed up in our writing caves finally have to “people” again. Not as easy as it sounds for introverts. Nor are the perils of travel anything to laugh at—not until later, anyway. Adventures and escapades, mishaps and epic fails become the stories we love to tell. Here are mine, from my recent adventures at Left Coast Crime 2022, a convention for mystery fans, both readers and authors, sponsored jointly by the Southwest Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime and both California chapters of Mystery Writers of America. Their purpose is to “host an event where readers, authors, critics, librarians, publishers, and fans can gather to pursue their mutual interests.” This year’s conference was especially important since the last in-person Left Coast Crime, held in San Diego, California, March 2019, was shut down the very day it began. I flew cross-country twice in the space of 24 hours. Now we were back. The day I left Ohio was clear and sunny with a bright blue sky and only a few scattered clouds. I had no clue what to expect. My only acquaintance with Albuquerque had been learning […]

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6 Ways to Improve Your Pitch

Come this Thursday I’ll be leading a workshop at the New York Pitch Conference. This is where I sold my first book (The Fiction Class), met my agent, and met the editor who bought Maggie Dove in its first incarnation. So it’s a happy place for me. But it’s also a really intense place. People come from all over the world to pitch their novels to editors from the big traditional publishing houses. There’s a lot at stake. My job is to stay calm. (In the picture below, I’m the short one in the middle. 🙂 ) I’m also there to help the participants write their pitches, which usually involves me saying many times, “You can cut that.” Which brings me to some pitching advice. 1. Keep in short. I have read a 150-word pitch for War and Peace. It can be done. The idea is not to cram every last fact down the editor’s throat, but rather to entice her with your book so that she will ask to read it. Then you can start cramming down facts. 2. Make sure you include setting in your pitch. So many people buy books because of where they’re set. (Read Sharon’s […]

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Author Swag: Love It or Leave It?

Our topic this week is Author Swag.  What’s that, you ask? Basically, author swag is anything an author gives away to readers to promote their books.  Bookmarks are the most common, but I’ve seen all kinds of creative items–miniature book replicas on a keychain, notebooks, pens, coasters, mugs, tote bags, mousepads–all customized with an image of the book or the series the author is trying to promote. One author I know just posted online that she’s packing an entire suitcase with swag for an upcoming conference. Yikes–should I be doing the same? So here’s my question, actually questions (plural): What is the most creative or useful author swag you’ve ever received? Do you think author swag helps sell books? Keenan: The most creative swag I’ve received was an eyeglass cleaning cloth from Debra Goldstein. I kept that thing long past its usefulness. I don’t think swag sells books but it’s good for name recognition. I read somewhere a buyer needs to hear your name seven times before they will purchase, so the bookmark they take home would count towards that. Connie: I’ve never seen a personalized eyeglass cleaner, but that would be definitely useful!  Alexia: I also got one of […]

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