Authors At Thrillerfest 2010 Reflect On The Value Of Attending Conventions

The RT staff always has a great time at the Thrillerfest convention and this year was no exception. In our November issue of RT we asked authors for the best writing advice they'd ever received. Here, we get their opinions on why they go to conventions and what they get out of them.

Joseph Finder, Vanished
Conventions are . . . All about hanging out with my writer friends (there's no nicer group of people than writers, I've found), but I also like meeting industry professionals like publishers or agents, because I'm still learning about the business. And of course it's a rare opportunity for me to get to meet actual "fans" and buyers of my books and hear from them what they like (or don't!)

Kelli Stanley, City of Dragons
Conventions mean . . . I constantly meet new writers, new fans and new readers, and always learn something new about the craft or the industry. I strengthen old ties, make new ones, meet with my publishing team and New York book store and media contacts, and return home reinvigorated. I'm currently on a deadline for the sequel to City of Dragons, and ThrillerFest is helping to give me a boost to the finish line! . . . I consider these conferences "musts"--not just a wonderful time spent with friends, but a genuine hand up the publishing ladder. And next year, I'm looking forward to attending my first RT Convention in LA, which I know will be a "must" every year, too!

Anna DeStefano, Secret Legacy
Conventions are . . . Great for aspiring writers -- network out of your comfort zone, go talk, go to panels and works. Do things outside your comfort zone, and get outside your box and learn something.

Allison Brennan, Love Me to Death
Conventions provide . . . The social [aspect]. Authors are sedentary people. It's my chance to go out and socialize with people who love books.

Graham Brown, Black Sun
Conventions provide . . . early on it was knowledge - I literally had no idea how to write - so I learned about dialog and POV and pacing and story structure. Later it was for pure enthusiasm - writing is a lonely business and often a writer can get down or find him or herself sort of out energy for this long lonely slog - but then you go to a conference like ThrillerFest or RT and you get energized in a dozen different ways and I always come back feeling I can't wait to get writing again. I usually write in the hotel room and on the way home on the plane. Conferences are perfect for that.

Lisa Gardner, Live to Tell
Conventions mean . . . Meeting authors. [I am excited to see] Lisa Scottoline.

Stephen Jay Schwartz, Beat
Conventions mean . . . Meeting a community of fellow dreamers. It's like we all have a seat at the Algonquin Round Table.

Kate White, Hush
Conventions provide . . . Fans. It’s great to see fans. I went to RT this year. You get a sense of who’s reading your book and some of it is marketing. And you need to be aware that it’s a business . . . and like Lisa Gardner said, its great to just go to the panels and take notes and see what people have to say.

Matt Richtel, Hooked
Conventions provide . . . Support. Writing is a solitary pursuit. Writers seem to like to drink. Neurosis and booze make for an interesting combo. This group is really supportive. They're more like mentors and friends and drinking pals. ThrillerFest fosters optimism in an otherwise cruel business.

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Drive Time
Conventions mean . . . I'm always inspired. I'm always empowered. I always meet new friends. I always learn one wonderful new thing about writing – and it always seems to be exactly what I need for my newest book. Bottom line, there’s an unmistakable gestalt about an author/reader conference: the energy created when all those minds come together can fuel a whole year of bestsellers. And next year – we’ll do it all again!

Jennifer Allison, Gilda Joyce: The Dead Drop
Conventions mean . . . participating in panels. I loved having a chance to participate on a panel for YA authors and meet some writers whose works I've admired for years, like R.L. Stine and Ridley Pearson. What a wonderful opportunity to meet other writers: the whole environment was inspiring and just plain fun! I loved attending ThrillerFest!

To find out which authors have already signed up for the 2010 RT Booklovers Convention and learn about the panels, workshops and parties that you can attend this year, visit the RT Convention Homepage.