A note to authors who’ve asked for conference recommendations… There are many wonderful conferences with much to offer attendees. It really depends on what you specifically are hoping to gain from attending. Do know your specific conference goals before you elect to attend and bear those goals in mind during your attendance. Here are a few that I have found productive. This isn’t an inclusive listing by any means, but conferences I’ve found productive for specific reasons:
1. ITW ThrillerFest (includes AgentFest and CraftFest). Industry heavyweights teach at this conference. Craft, business and industry status. An author seeking an agent can speak to many at once. And the caliber of workshops is amazing.
2. Ninc. (Novelists, Inc.) Whether a retreat or full conference, Ninc is always terrific for insights and experience-sharing. The late night chat sessions are worth the conference fee all on their own.
3. ACFW. The American Christian Fiction Writers conference is to the Christian authors’ community what ThrillerFest is to the Thriller/Suspense community.
4. ACRA Bootcamp. For the author learning craft, this bootcamp is a perfect choice. It’s held in Jacksonville every year by Ancient City Romance Authors. The focus is on craft, not romance, and that makes this a great regional conference.
5. RWA National conference. If you’re looking to learn craft, to have face-to-face appointments with agents and/or editors, RWA might be the right choice for you if you’re writing romance. There are a lot of ancillary activities with other industry professionals (including librarians) that make it a productive conference. Those are a few of my favorites, though I have many others. As I said at the start, it depends on what you’re seeking at a conference. That’s the criteria I’ve always used to determine whether or not to attend.
6. Edgar Symposium. In New York, this one-day symposium is mystery focused with panelists and interviews.
7. Left Coast Crime. In 2012 in Sacramento, CA. This mystery-centric conference is touted as one of the best.
8. Malice Domestic. This year is the 24th annual conference. It’s in Bethesda, MD. Again, good reputation and mystery centric.
9. Buchercon. This is a national level conference in Cleveland, OH. In my humble opinion, one of the very best for mystery authors.
10. DragonCon. Atlanta, Georgia. Notorious for being the world’s largest fantasy/SF convention. Fans are very active at this conference and it is indeed an event.
11. Crime Writers Conference. Hosted by Sisters-in-Crime, and content varies but it is always an informative and insightful conference.