Bouchercon

Bouchercon is held in a different city every year. The people hosting it are doing it as volunteers. They donate their time because they love the mystery community and they love the convention. Every year I go I have a wonderful time.

And every year I hear people bitching. Bitching about every little thing. And almost of the bitching is from people who have never donated their time to putting one together or helping at one. None of the people involved gets paid. It’s usually three or more years of volunteer work. And the last year is really crazy with a lot of work involved. And these people do it for free. No money. Nada. They do it because they love it.

Panels: Any idea what it’s like to try and make 300+ authors happy? Balancing personalities and times and interests? And then adding the last minute registrants? And how about explaining to that self published author why they don’t get to be on the panel with Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly? And how about coming up with enough ideas and making them interesting? It’s no small job.

Picking a location: Once someone picks a city and decides to put in a bid, many things come into play.

What kind of discount will the hotel give? Can they supply enough room for everything needed to be done?

Things pop up like food and beverage minimums, and room fill rates. And how about availability?The hotel picked is generally the place that fits most of the needs. No place is perfect. No place ever will be perfect for everyone. A hotel with lower room rates may have facilities charges. That means higher registration rates.

Closer to the airport usually means further from the cool stuff to do in the city. It’s all a matter of balance. And finding a place that fits most of the needs at the best cost is no easy thing to do. The length of the contracts would scare most people.

I’m guessing putting together the goodie bags everyone gets is no small task. It’s hard to get review copies of books, it must be a real treat asking for 1500 copies of something.

And a lot of money doesn’t come in until the last couple of months. Putting deposits down for this stuff must be a real treat when you only have a handful of registrations paid for.

I could go on and on, but I think you get what I’m trying to say. Putting on a Bouchercon is a lot of thankless work.

The price is till pretty cheap. Considering that it is the biggest convention for the genre offering the most to see and do, it is still pretty cheap. Other conventions with a lot less authors and events charge as much or more. Hell, the cover price of the free books is generally higher than the registration cost.

Bouchercon is a great convention. I’ve enjoyed every single one, and I’m sure I will continue to do so. I always find good panels. And I always see people I love. I always find good food. I always have an unexpected fanboy moment. And the truth is, there are so many mystery fans there you are guaranteed to find people you’ll love hanging out with. It’s a 4 day part for the mystery community. I think you would have to make an effort to not have at least some wonderful memories.

So to Deen Kogan and Sonya Rice, Mary Helen Becker and Al Abramson. Al Navis, Dana Stabenow , and all the other people who have been brave enough to host Bouchercon: THANK YOU.

Thank you for giving me a place to go every fall and see old friends and meet new ones. Thank you for giving me memories that will last forever. Thank you for all your hard work.