I've attended a number of writers conventions and conferences over the years, and have learned a great deal at most of them. Of course, the opportunities to network, to talk with other writers and publishers, abound at these events. But the most recent conference I attended--Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity (C3)--was a different animal.
I attended C3 last weekend (Sept. 13-15) at the Hunt Valley Inn near Baltimore, not sure what to expect, this being the first year of the event. I was pleasantly surprised. The organizers (chiefly the owners and friends of Intrigue Publishing) did an excellent job pulling together all the elements of the conference, despite a couple of last-minute changes in key speakers. I knew I was in for something special when I saw the paperback anthology of stories by many panelists and attendees that was included with the other conference materials. When have you ever seen that?
The three days were filled with panel discussions, all of which invited participation from those in the audience. No dry lectures here! Every panel involved a conversation among the experts sitting on each panel, the moderator, and the folks sitting in the seats before them. This was a refreshing change from many of the conferences I've attended in the past.
I'm not the most outspoken, extroverted guy. Like many writers, I tend to sit back and observe rather than dive into conversations. I generally have to force myself to be more sociable and expressive in public. But, as an independent publisher, I simply have to get over that. So, when I registered for the C3 conference, I volunteered for two panels, one on the topic of working with indie publishers and the other on book marketing and publicity. So, how did I do? Okay, I guess. I had fun. with no qualms once the conversations commenced (thanks to the moderators Denise Camacho and Sandra Bowman, who kept things ticking along). Would I do it again? Without question or hesitation.
But, like most writers conferences, the greatest benefit is in the networking. For me, the sharing of experiences and expertise is what these events are all about. C3 allowed writers of every stripe, from novice to best-selling, to hang out together. How often do you get to rub elbows with top-notch writers like Brian Keene, Jeffery Deaver, John Gilstrap, and Allison Leotta? Not to mention all the other writers in attendance! (And here I must give a shout out to D.B. Corey, Matt Iden, Bob Bailey, Tara Campbell, Richard Bradshaw, Allan Ansorge, Norwood Holland, K.R. Raye, Austin Camacho, Cindy McDonald, Penny Clover Petersen, David Stewart, Lane Stone, and so many others I managed to meet over that weekend.)
So, would I recommend the C3 conference? Suffice it to say that I've already registered for the 2014 conference.
The question is: Will you be there?