This post started as an email to the DorothyL list and, mid-way through, I realized I was really writing a blog entry. So I sent what I had to the list and came back here to finish it up.
The El Paso LCC was a terrific convention… well organized and lots of fun. Like the Doubletree in Monterey last year, The Camino Real was a pleasant, open, and bright venue with a floor-plan that encouraged people to hang out and chat. There were many large and small gatherings, day and night,
throughout the lobby, bar, and convention floor. The pleasant, warm atmosphere of the hotel, and the convention itself, was especially appreciated considering how unappealing the city itself was.
(El Paso is a hell hole)
All the authors I spoke to enjoyed the convention as much as I did. It was unlike any LCC I’ve been to before… perhaps because the authors appeared to outnumber the fans, aspiring writers, and booksellers. As a result, the LCC had the feel of a "professional" gathering…with authors having the opportunity to spend more time with one another than usual at these events. That’s not to say
fans were excluded… far from it. I think the fans there got to spend more time with individual authors than ever before. But I think author/attendee ratio gave the conference an entirely different vibe than past ones. It felt very collegial, very casual, without the sense that anybody was really there to
"sell" themselves and their work. It felt to me more like a very long party than
the promotional and networking opportunity, which is how too many authors treat these events.
I was struck, as I have been many times in the past, by how friendly, supportive, and open the mystery writing community is… particularly the authors, who could easily be snobbish, egotistical, and intimidating. Coming from TV, where there is so much ego, competitiveness, and back-stabbing among writers, the overwhelming kindness and congeniality of the authors is truly refreshing and, at the risk of sounding maudlin, heartwarming. Bestselling authors are as open and approachable as the first-time authors proudly clutching the ARCs of their soon-to-be-published paperbacks.
This convention, more than any other I’ve been too, gave me the chance to spend time with authors and fans alike. Even the panels I attended seemed to have a more casual, easy-going, light-hearted quality about them.
I credit the organizers for a lot of this… but also the authors, who came not to sell books, but to enjoy the company of their friends… and to make new ones.