Bouchercon Tips



Bouchercon 2001 with Charles Todd

I’ve been going to Bouchercon since 1999 and I am a huge fan. It’s my favorite time of the year. Here’s some things I’ve picked up over the years. It’s such a great environment because no matter how different we all are we all love mystery and crime fiction.

If you are using a camera: Pictures during panels and signings are cool. Pictures around the hotel and convention area are cool. If taking pictures of people you aren’t actually friends with in the bar or at a restaurant ask first. Folks hanging in the bar are relaxing and may not want that relaxing on the social media.

Bringing books to get signed? So are a lot of other folks. If you have a LOT of books, maybe get 4 or 5 signed and get back in line. Most authors will sign everything but you don’t want to be “that person” holding up the line for folks with just one book.

Bouchercon 2002 Austin, Lee Child talking with a fan

Bouchercon 2002 Austin, Lee Child talking with a fan

Talking to authors (and pretty much anyone) : Generally speaking here are two places to let people be, while they are eating and while they are in the bathroom. Seems to weird to have to say it but these are places where folks like to have some personal time. If authors are hanging around chances are they will be happy to chat, if they are already talking to someone wait for them to finish and then introduce yourself. Openers like “I’m a big fan” work well.

Dress for the long haul. Bouchercon can go on for a long time. Wear comfortable shoes, and comfortable clothes. If in an out of the hotel do it in layers.

You will not be able to do everything and see everything. It’s impossible. Plan ahead and leave time for hanging with new people you meet.

Reed Coleman and Steve Hamilton signing books in Chicago. Photo by Mary Reagan

Reed Coleman and Steve Hamilton signing books in Chicago. Photo by Mary Reagan

Keeping in touch: There is a really good chance you will meet people you want to email with or keep in touch with. Business cards are a great way to do this. Also, authors? If you have business cards you may want to remember that not everyone needs your phone number….

People at Bouchercon are usually trying to do a lot and sometimes they don’t have time to stop and chat. Also after a long day folks like to relax with a few cocktails. A lot of people only see each other once a year at Bouchercon. If someone seems a bit short with you or maybe says something a little weird late at night it’s most likely not personal, remember where you are and how much is going on.

If you are an author you should walk through the book room. These people are your sales team. Stop and say hi, offer to sign books.

Jon_PaulAlso for authors remember, panels are great but the most important thing you can do is meet fans. They are around all weekend everywhere. Lots of chances to meet them.

And a big one that I over looked at my first couple conventions, remember to eat. I like to do a big breakfast and I carry snacks. In ’99 I forgot to eat for two days and didn’t know why I felt wonky…..

I’ve made a lot of friends at this convention and I make more each year.

Looking forward to seeing old friends and new this year!