by Stephen Buehler
February 25th-28th I and along with 699 other authors/readers attended the Left Coast Crime Mystery Writers Conference in Phoenix, AZ.
I met many new friends, renewed acquaintances with people that I only see at conferences and hung out with old friends. I sat on a panel, A Brief Dance with Death: Short Mystery Fiction – moderated by our own Sarah M. Chen and the audience seemed to get a lot out of it.
Travis Richardson, Sarah M. Chen and I also hosted cocktails for the Author/Reader Connection and talked to three attendees that wanted to know more about short story writing. I also spoke with (maybe ‘buttered-up’ is a better word) the editor who I hope will buy my book after I turn it in. I would love to work with her.
As you may remember from my last post, The Branding of Stephen Buehler, I talked about Author Speed Dating, where authors get to sit with a table of 8, pitch whatever they want and 2 minutes later, get up and pitch to another table. I felt I succeeded in getting my name and brand out there. The event wasn’t as crowded as was hoped for as it was the first event of the whole conference and attendees were still arriving. I demonstrated my magic trick with my business cards and learned from that too. I learned that my trick was difficult to follow for people that early in the morning and I hadn’t made it completely clear they they were about to witness a magic trick. When I put one card behind my back and asked what card I held in my hand in front of me (there were 2 different cards) people couldn’t remember. Sometimes they were too excited and distracted with the package I had handed them when I sat down and other times the trick was just too quick for them. The concept of doing a trick was right but next time I’ll do something that astonishes them without making them think. The rest of my pitch, about what I’ve written, was entertaining and I think plenty more authors/readers know who Stephen Buehler is and that was my goal.
But all that’s over. I’m home, back to reality. What now? Leaving the event, my hopeful editor reminded me that I have a lot of work to do (as I have to turn in my manuscript soon). So that’s one thing to work on, and probably my primary task to accomplish. Another thing is to establish contact with the new people I met. I made plenty of new Facebook friends but I like to try to do more than that and write each a personal email. Attending a conference always gives me a boost of hope and vigor of achieving my goal of writing and publishing.
But that hasn’t happened yet. When I got home I had to prepare for a 3 show engagement of performing magic the following weekend, which is now over. (Whew!) The magic shows went extraordinarily well and I’ll probably write about that in my next blog. So, for me, now starts the post-conference work.
I know I mentioned that a writing conference gives me a boast but I always feel slightly blue afterwards. Why can’t everyday be a conference day of hanging around authors you admire and respect? Have somebody else make your bed? Not feel guilty about hanging around the bar until late into the night knowing you only have to push a button and let an elevator transport you to your room? Because life is not a conference… though conferences do make life a little more interesting.
How do you feel after a conference?
Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not –An Unreliable Anthology. He is expanding his novella,The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner. www.stephenbuehler.com