Sunday, July 10, 2011

ThrillerFest lives up to the hype

What an amazing weekend. I've been to conferences in other industries before, but have never felt the sense of community as I did in New York City.  Who would've thought such a big city could create such a cozy sense of belonging?

I was starstruck at first.  Come on, we're talking Steve Berry, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter here.  The first day, I just sat with my jaw hanging open as they taught what they knew at CraftFest.  Talk about learning from the masters.  I'll just say that I have almost an entire legal pad of notes, and I didn't even make it to the conference until Wednesday afternoon. (Silly day job.)

But I was soon talking to other authors, which is totally out of character for me.  I met a wonderful woman from New Zealand who is going to be my new critique partner.  I met another quite nice lady from New Hampshire who practiced pitching with me.  I walked up to another author (a NYTimes best-selling author, by the way) from Indiana and introduced myself.  I pitched agents without soiling myself.  And I went up to Karin Slaughter, one of my idols, and said hello.  She even said hello back.

So what's the take-home point?  Conferences are all about networking.  They're not about creating a hierarchy, or about pointing out who is successful and who is not.  They're about creating a tight-knit community of like-minded people who need one another to get to the next level.  That's the real reason for conferences.  I'll do well to remember that the next time I attend one.

Oh, and as for ThrillerFest?  If I can't attend next year, I think I'll cry.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God, I LOVE Karin Slaughter. I would probably faint if I saw her in person. LOL. I've always wanted to go to Thrillerfest but it never materializes. Maybe next year.