As in the past, I found Sleuthfest to be rewarding in many ways. The organizers and volunteers who keep it running smoothly do so with enthusiasm, grace, good cheer and attention to detail. The author attendees are outgoing, pleasant and welcoming to all, be it novice writers, newbee authors, or long-time published, experienced authors. I find that authors are also up for any and all fun activities coming at them. Hmm... I'm thinking of the Flamango Award given to a male author voted by the women to be the latest hot (looking?) author. Each year the nominees must wear a fluffy pink boa, and the winner must parade around the event (Agents and Editor's Cocktail Party) wearing it.
Five things I learned:
#1. Knowing already that NYT best-selling author, David Baldacci, writes superbly, I learned that he is also a great speaker. During his key-note speech, he related stories of his author's life that had us both in stitches and in tears.
#2. I learned that Jeff Linsday, the author of the Dexter books is a renaissance man with a quirky, self-deprecating personality. I suppose that's no surprise given what he writes. Aside from having a career as a playwright and crime novelist, he's been a musician, sportscaster, voice-over artist, dishwasher, teacher, coach, steel worker, cook, detective, greeting card salesman, and sailing instructor. Wow! No wonder he can create such interesting characters.
#3. The third thing is personal. I learned that no matter my book budget, I will always go over it in purchases. I suppose I should continue to give myself a budget anyway, I dread to think what I'd buy if I didn't.
#4. The fourth thing is something I relearn every time I attend a conference that's well-done like this one, I am going to come away inspired to write, no matter the economy, the trends, or the latest bad news about the book industry.
#5. This year I put myself out as a panel moderator, and got the job of monitoring Nancy Cohen's "Preparing for Your Book Launch" program. Which by the way, was excellent and very comprehensive in its content. I learned that I enjoyed being involved in a bigger way, and that next year, I will offer to be on a panel.
Of course, there were many other things to learn at the various panels and workshops, and the trivia game, and just from spending time chatting, laughing, and drinking with the authors. But I know of several other authors who will be posting information about the panels and workshops, so thought I'd give the event my personal twist.