Okay, I’m not proposing that you do anything illegal here. What I’m proposing is that if you’re an author or an unpublished writer you should consider attending writer’s conferences or cons as us authors like to call them as a path to success. Cons provide a wealth of information that writers find very useful: how to start a novel, how to plot story lines, how to develop strong characters, how to promote and market through social media and the list goes on. It gives you a platform to be visible as a panelist to “strut” your stuff, to act as a moderator – showing that you can manage the authors and the audience and if you’re not quite comfortable doing either, you can always be a volunteer. Regardless, it affords you the opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with like-minded individuals and who knows you may run into your “writing” hero.
When I decided to become serious about my writing, I quickly joined the Maryland Writers’ Association and was eager to attend my first con. I remember it was on a brisk Saturday morning in spring and I dragged a couple members of my writer’s critique group along with me. We were the first ones to arrive. After receiving my “goodie” bag of freebies, I started going through the list of workshops and one in particular caught my eye. It was being taught by Leslie Esdaile Banks aka “L.A. Banks.” She was so engaging as a speaker sharing how she got started writing and that we should consider writing a “business.” Unfortunately, a few months later, she succumbed to cancer. However, I was glad I was in her presence at this con. Since then I’ve attended the Eastern Shore Writers Conference twice and was a panelist at the Love is Murder conference in Chicago earlier this year.
Fast forward a few months later and I’ve taken on a new role as the Author Panel Coordinator for the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, September 13 – 15, 2013 at the Hunt Valley Inn. This con will bring together readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and steam punk. My job is to communicate with all registered authors and ensure that they are placed on the panels of their choices so that they can “strut” their stuff. This is not an easy task as most of the authors would like to be placed on the “hot” panels such as “New Writers Talk About their First Novel,” “What Makes a Hero,” “Men Writing the Softer Side/Women the Rough Stuff,” etc. So, the juggling begins when all the choices come rolling in.
With all of these moving pieces, I’m thankful that I’m very organized in coordinating and putting things together. Overall, it’s a very exciting process and I look forward to meeting, mixing and mingling with all the authors and fans when they all come to con their way to success!