Monday, October 18, 2010

My Bouchercon Report

First, I had a fabulous time though Bouchercon and the hotel were overwhelming at times.

Attendance was close to 2000 making it difficult to find people you were looking for. The hotel itself was confusing with different levels where things were going on. The street level housed registration, many of the large events and the mammoth bookstore. In between were two other levels that could only be reached via the escalators and a hidden elevator where the panels were held--some around winding corridors. And the Atrium Level where the restaurant, bar, Hospitality Room, and the continuing coversations were held. I was on one of those continuing conversations and enjoyed it

I had a great roommate--Gay Totl Kinman and thanks to her had lunches in some fabulous restaurants.

Went on a 3 hour cable car (actually busses that once were cable cars) of San Francisco and we went everywhere! Fantastic.

Found out that big name authors know very little about e-books. (Learned this from the e-book panel and little else.)

Saw lots of big name authors, know some of them well enough to chit chat a bit.

What I enjoyed more was visiting with people I didn't know and handing out my card. Also had some great conversations with people I did know.

None of the bookstores had any of my books--didn't really expect them too, didn't even bother with the signing bit. I saw rather well-know authors who had no one come to their signing because someone like Lee Child or Michael Connelly were signing.

My conclusion? I'm not going to anymore Bouchercons and going to stick to the smaller cons like Mayhem in the Midlands where I know I'll get on at least two panels and will sign some of my books even though I'll have to haul them with me for the book store.

I also figured out how some people win the awards at Bouchercon. One of the big publishers sent out copies of a certain author's books to many readers (I was one of them) to familiarize people with the book. If you've read a book you might vote for it. I received one of the winning books though I haven't finished reading it. The book was reviewed many times on DorothyL. Since DorothyL has 3000 members, I know this helped sell the books too.

Am I glad I went? Sure. Loved seeing as much of San Francisco as I did. Met tons of folks though I missed seeing some I'd planned on seeing. It is not the best choice of cons for anyone who thinks this is a place to sell books if they are with a small press. (Some of the small presses were in attendance with their books.)

One big publishing company gave away tons of free books with the authors sitting at the table to sign them. I did not take any because I didn't want to load down my luggage anymore than it was already.

That's my overall view. I hope Sunny will post her opinion. I only saw here in passing a couple of times.



Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I do want to add that word of mouth also helps sell books and these are usually good books that deserve to win awards.

BillieJohn said...

Great report, Marilyn.

As some of you know, I considered arranging for a hospitality room for OTP authors and maybe some of their friends. However, this turned out to be WAY more expensive than I thought, plus it was complicated by the fact that I would have just gotten back here after a 3-week trip to the west coast, then I would have another to the West Coast for Bcon and another a month after that for the Cruise. Overwhelming!

I considered trying to do this without my personal presence at the conf, but that was too much moolah to put on the line and not be on the scene to make sure things went well.

But, consider THIS: The Bcon committee was willing to allow the hotel to rent us the hospitality room (a major breakthrough!) and I found a number of dealers who would have stocked books for us. (You should always ask me about this point, folks! Deals can be made!)And we could have signed and sold books in our own suite, no problem.

Now, the 2011 BCon is in St. Louis...just 90 miles down the road from me, so it has crossed my mind to go for a repeat plan. I would, however, want to know how many OTP authors and even friends of OTP would be this would take a lot of promo and time and costs, and so on.

Personnally, I think it could be huge for authors and OTP alike...but I am interested in what you think.


Billie Johnson,

Monti said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for the interesting info on Bouchercon. It sounds much like the Romance Writers of America conference which I attended for many years until it just got too big. The conferences were wonderful; you met tons of authors; there were dozens of outstanding workshops. However,with 2000 or more attendees, you can get overwhelmed. I did and decided it was not worth the $2000 or more it cost to attend.

Glad you enjoyed the beautiful city of San Francisco!


Monti said...


I'd like to participate in St. Louis--home of the Cardinals!!! If we had a big presence there, it would be worthwhile...


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Though I vowed not to go to another B'con, I might consider St. Louis under the circumstances you mentioned.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Well, found out that St. Louis Bouchercon is the same weekend as the Cuesta College Writers Conference and the Central Coast Book Fest--since there's a possibility I may be asked to present at the conference, looks like St. Louis is out for me.

Kit Sloane said...

I agree (as I usually do) with everything Marilyn says here! Bouchercon really is "something else." I was unable to participate this year due to a sick horse (don't ask), but maybe that was okay. Beyond the chatting and the panel, it's pretty daunting unless you are a hyper-social being and then even you'll get worn out!

Useful, I think, to figure out "what's in it for me," first. Then do the budget and hope you aren't nursemaiding a sick mare. She's fine now, btw!


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm sorry you didn't make it, Kit, because I looked for you everywhere--but now I know why I couldn't find you.