By Steve Weddle
A couple of years ago I went to a conference. I wrote about it here. Great fun.
Of course there was the $43 to get the urine out of Dave White's pants (totally my fault, but still).
And the hotel room that was around $200 a night. It's one of those where they tell you it's $120 conference rate or whatever but then there's tax and a separate room tax and then a separate room-with-a-door tax. I mean, it was Philly, so it wasn't like DC with its extra $87 for-the-hell-of-it tax, but it wasn't cheap.
And the conference registration fee, which was worth every penny.
I mean, you start adding up NoirCon and Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime and Murder in Muskego and one in Canada and one in Florida and Malice Domestic. You could go broke.
So maybe you have to choose. Or maybe you go to all of them and use your $150,000 advance to pay for hotels and bacontinis. I dunno.
I guess what I'm wondering is what many folks have asked me via email and in person.
Are you going? Why? Why not?
I guess it's become popular these past few years to say that people won't attend conferences because they can meet in the Gopher Chat Rooms and on MySpace, or whatever the kids are into now. You can twitter away all day chatting with people. You don't have to wait in line at a signing table to meet authors. You can shoot them a message online. Email them. MyFace chat. You can connect for free, without having to battle the "Bring Out Your Dead" piles of flesh at the Atlanta airport or $12 hotel bar bourbon.
Then you've got the folks who say that nothing beats hanging out in person and getting to know people.
But, as a man with fiscal responsibilities, I have to look at the ROI of something like a convention or conference.
I wouldn't give back my trip to NoirCon. Met some nice people there, as well as a couple of complete assholes.
So my thinking is that conventions and conferences are most certainly worth the time and the money -- if you choose what works best for you. For example, I doubt there's much overlap between NoirCon and Malice Domestic.
What do you get out of conferences that you don't get out of chatting online and emailing and MyFacing?
Do you have a favorite conference? One you'll never again attend? One you'll never miss? One you wish existed?
Speaking of authors I'll probably never meet -- Frank Wheeler, Jr has a new book out. Right now. Like now, folks. It's called THE WOWZER.
Fortunately, Jerry’s pretty good at his job. And since Tom Haskell runs the sheriff’s office and the drug-protection racket, Jerry doesn’t see much of a moral dilemma. That is, until he starts thinking about getting out of the trade, and then things get complicated fast. For starters, Jerry’s girl Maggie flees the state after learning about a disturbing diagnosis tucked inside Jerry’s psych report.
And now Sheriff Haskell is dragging his feet paying Jerry his cut of the drug money. Is Haskell just reluctant to lose his top muscle? Or is he plotting to take out the man who knows his dirtiest secrets? Fans of hardboiled, “country noir” fiction will love gnashing on Frank Wheeler’s violent and darkly comic debut, sneaking a glimpse into the mind of a killer whose inner monster is about to be unleashed.
Because I love you all, I will send to one of our commenting people an electronic version of this book. So, to the comments, folks.