Crime Writer Capering

Last week’s big adventure was the Left Coast Crime Convention 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona, a meeting of mystery, crime and thriller writers and their fans. It’s largely (though not exclusively) a West Coast affair, but great fun for a Philadelphia writer to visit.

Over seven hundred people crowded into the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix to mix and mingle and listen to panels. I think the most instructive part was listening to long-published authors recount their favorite horror stories: unattended book signings, endless rejections, snail-like sales until success at last.

I’ve heard that crime writers are the nicest people. I think this must be true. I was fortunate to meet lovely people who were generous with their time and advice. So here are some tips from some well established pros (I don’t include myself in this number as I’m hardly well established):

Don’t over-promote yourself or your book. Sure you want to get the word out, but if you write a good book people will find it.

When you meet people, talk to them like people. Don’t constantly pitch.

Pay attention to your fans when they contact you. Treat them with respect because they are your base.

It’s better to build an audience slowly. Sure, every writer dreams of a best seller, but most aren’t prepared to handle the stress. It’s better to build up to it, and make sure you have an agent who can handle the pressure.

Finally, once you publish, enjoy the ride. Your book is in print. Take a minute to enjoy it. You’ve earned the right.

Now get back to work on the sequel!!

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