I’ve mentioned before that I have dipped my toe in the waters of crime festivals and conventions, and I have to confess that I still haven’t been brave enough to commit to a whole weekend attendance – but I have just managed a whole day at this year’s Crimefest in Bristol.
Armed with a day pass for the programme on the Saturday I managed to fit in three panels, saw interviews with Lee Child and Sue Grafton, as well as the interview of David Hewson and Søren Sveistrup to mark the launch of The Killing.
It was a very enjoyable day – and when I found a few people I knew from twitter (bloggers and authors) things got even better.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but if you’re considering making your first foray then my top tips would be:
- Take snacks – you may get too caught up in conversations and panels to catch a meal, and hotel food can be expensive.
- Know the real names of your Twitter friends (and ideally what they look like). It’s very difficult having to peer at people’s name badges all day.
- Read the programme early on in the day – since I came home and read it I keep thinking “saw that name badge – oh they were an author!”
- Be prepared to see authors completely out of context (PD James in the hotel lift, Lee Child on the mean streets of Bristol).
- Find time to chat to people. The schedule can be busy and it would be easy to hurtle from one panel to another via a signing without making the time to speak to real people.
- Take a big bag (perhaps on wheels) for all those signed books you will be returning home with.
- Beware of FOMO (fear of missing out) if you choose not spend the same amount of time at the event as all your friends!
If you’re an old hand at these events – what would your tips be?