1. What would mystery/paranormal fans get out of the conference?
Fans have the opportunity to hear some of the best mystery writers in this country and abroad discuss their books, their motivation for writing, their plans for future mystery novels -- just about anything fans are interested in. Fans are encouraged to question the authors during the panels, converse with them during meals and in the hospitality room, and generally mingle with them throughout the conference. We'll have authors who write in all the mystery fields -- amateur sleuth, thrillers, suspense, historical, paranormal, police procedurals, PI novels. Mostly, fans will enjoy a weekend of fun events and be able to indulge in the camaraderie that goes hand in hand with a love for the mystery genre. Plus, they'll get to enjoy a whole lot of great food every day! :-)
2. What should aspiring writers/authors do to prepare for the conference?
Aspiring writers and authors will be able to meet with agents and publishers at the conference. If they have a work in progress, they should brush up on their two-minute pitches and be prepared to sell themselves and their work to these people. They can also attend master writing classes, learn all about weapons, wounds, police investigations -- all things that will make their writing more believable. They'll have an opportunity to network with fellow writers and fans. And, if they like, they can have their work critiqued by members of MWA, Mystery Writers of America, for a small fee.
For those aspiring writers who do not yet have a book out or are not at the pitching stage, there are lots of benefits to meeting writers at every stage of their careers. Meeting writers who have just finished their first book is inspirational to many, plus talking to more seasoned writers always gets new writers on the right track. In addition, there are so many wonderful panels. We don't know any one who has even the smallest of writing ambition who doesn't leave rejuvenated to try their hand at writing again. And nothing beats making the sorts of contacts you can make at Love Is Murder.
3. What sort of clothing should people pack for daytime and evening events?
We're pretty casual, even at the banquet. Comfortable slacks or jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, T-shirts -- anything they want to wear is fine with us! Most people wear pantsuits or skirts and sweaters to the banquet. The guys wear casual clothes, slacks or jeans with shirts of all kinds.
4. How many people attend the conference?
Anywhere from 250 to 300 people. We try to keep it on the small side so that fans can mingle with authors and no one misses out on the fun. Big conferences can be overwhelming. You can feel lost at them. We enjoy the way that everyone rubs elbows with everyone else at LIM. We've had people who come to LIM year after year because we're perceived as one of the friendliest conferences around. Anne Perry was with us back in 2005. She enjoyed herself so much that she asked to return in 2007, which she did, even though she's traveling all the way from Scotland to be with us.
5. Is there limited space for some of the demonstrations or workshops?
There's a limit on the two master writing classes, so folks who want to attend those should sign up soon. The same goes for writers who want to meet with agents and publishers. There will be plenty of room for anyone who wants to come to the other demonstrations and workshops, and there's no need to sign up for those. Just come to the room where the event is being held.
6. If I want to be on a panel, when should I register?
Authors must register EARLY if they want panel time. Slots ran out last year before many hopefuls got their registration in and they were disappointed. There was a time in our early years when every author who registered got a slot on a panel, but that cannot be taken for granted any longer.
7. How do I meet editors, publishers and agents?
Schedule a pitch time. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet face-to-face with an editor or agent. Writers get ten minutes alone with the editor and they are expected to present their novel in hits most inviting terms to an editor. Most editors do not take manuscripts at the conference. If they are interested, they will ask you to send the manuscript afterward. Slots for pitches are limited, so sign up soon.
What is a pitch session?
A pitch session is where you "pitch", or try to sell, your completed manuscript to an agent or publisher. You do NOT bring an actual manuscript, but rather you describe in the most seductive way possible why your book is worth reading and acquiring. In the case of pitching an agent, this means that you try to entice the agent to accept your book as something they will submit to publishers for a publication contract. If you are pitching a publishing house, your are trying to entice them to publish your work. At LIM we facilitate pitch sessions at PitchPerfect.
10. What is PitchPerfect?
This is what we call the time period when all of the publishers and agents assemble in a large room, all at different tables, ready to hear pitches People who want to pitch enter the room and line up behind who they want to pitch, moving to lines that open up or have fewer people qued in front of them, and thus make the rounds of the room. It sounds a bit confusing, but since the room is big and open it will be easy to see who is free. Things move very quickly. You will not have much time to make your book sound compelling enough for them to ask you to send it to them for further consideration. We suggest that you memorize your book platform so that you don't waste any time hesitating or stumbling over what to say.
11. What is a platform? And how do I use it to pitch my book?
David Morrell did such a wonderful job describing them to us a few years ago that we went straight to the source. The following is from his website:
A platform is a two-minute condensed description of your book that defines its genre while stating how the book differs from others in that genre. It's the 'hook' that captures the attention of an agent or publisher. A platform reveals the central theme of the book, pinpoints the main parts of the plot that reinforce the theme, and gives the agent or publisher a visual idea of how the book can be marketed to its target audience. An example would be: "Two aging baby-boomers turned homeless due to company downsizing plot revenge on the Chicago CEO who fired them." Other sentences would follow, but this first line describes the protagonists, the plot, and the book's location while also indicating the targeted audience for the book.