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Why I Go To Conferences and Other Events

While I was at Malice, a friend who is a New York Times bestselling author told me that her agent said, “At this point in your career, you no longer need to do personal appearances.”


I don’t know what to think about that. I mean, I understand. At a certain point, your name is well-known and the bookstores are delighted to stock your books. So, I guess you don’t have to do so much to promote yourself.

But…I get a lot out of conferences. Oh, sure, I’m still tired and I’m terribly behind. But, I had learned about a new sort of book on tape at the Howard County Library, I met some authors who I hope will become friends, I re-kindled my friendship with other authors, a group of us discussed promotional methods that work, I had the chance to brainstorm a plot with Casey Daniels as we drove to Festival of Mystery, I chatted with another NYT bestseller about when to switch agents and why you should ignore some advice from your author friends, I visited a college bookstore that will now carry my books, I moved a lot of books (the bookstores at Malice sold out of my books and Mystery Lovers sold a lot of copies as well), and I spent time with my fans. Whew.

So faced with the pile up on my desk, I wondered: Did I spend my time wisely?

Then I sent an email to Charlaine Harris asking for a favor. She emailed me that she’d get back to me after she returned home from her tour.

Her tour?

Gee. If Charlaine Harris thinks it’s still important to “circulate,” shouldn’t I be out there pressing the flesh, too? I mean, you can’t get any more popular than Charlaine!

Here I am with my Midnight Ink brothers and sisters at Malice before the big dinner.

That’s me begging forgiveness from Meredith Cole. I left her out of the list of people who were at the Mysterious Women panel at Howard County Library. And she was sitting right next to me. How ditzy is that? Meredith wrote Posed for Murder, which is about a photographer in New York who becomes embroiled in real life murders when her fantasy pictures are recreated by a killer.

Deb Sharp is one of my favorite people. She writes the “Mama” series. The upcoming one is Mama Gets Hitched. Deb explains, “Mama likes getting married so much that she’s doing it again for the fifth time!” As a former journalist, she’s committed to doing her research. For one book, she rode a horse across central Florida.

Jan, one of my Pittsburgh fans, made the Stovetop Cookies from my website. Need I confess I gobbled them down on the ride back to D.C.?

I love photos of doors. This one of a church in Pittsburgh was particularly appealing.

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