Friday, November 15, 2013
New England Crimebake
Last weekend I attended New England Crimebake, a mystery writer’s conference co-sponsored by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. This was the seventh year I attended, and I was just as excited to be there as the first time. There are lots of reasons why, but I’ll just share three.
Celebration: Every aspect of the conference celebrated the art and craft of writing from master classes and expert panels to book selling and book signings. Well-known and multi-published authors made themselves available, and busy agents took time to hear pitches and give pointers. Late on Saturday, an announcement was made during a general session that someone in attendance has just signed their first book contract. Everyone cheered.
Commiseration: Writing is personal. We writers put our hearts and souls into our work then cringe when we send it out – even though we want to be published. One of my colleagues pitched to a couple of agents. Their responses? One agent told her the manuscript was too unique, and she didn’t know to which publisher she could sell it. The other agent told her it wasn’t unique enough. We cried with her then encouraged her, and now we’re joking about it on Facebook, and she’s ready to start pitching again.
Camaraderie: The conference held an overwhelming sense of camaraderie. Our friends and families love and support us, but they don’t always understand us. Fellow writers “get it” when you tell them about the time you had an argument with one of your characters. After an agent pitch session, two different attendees I didn’t know asked me how my pitch went then gave me a smile or a thumbs up when I replied that she wanted to see the full manuscript.
In addition to the “warm fuzzy” part of conference, I learned about writing techniques and the business behind writing, gained medical knowledge so my work can be accurate – thank you, Dr. David Page – and had time to work on the outline of my next story. Crimebake is exhausting and exhilarating…I’m already making plans to attend next year.