I attended a couple of days of Thrillerfest, the annual convention/conference/celebration of all things thriller thrown by the International Thriller Writers, back in 2008 and was looking forward to returning this year up until a few months ago.
Thrillerfest is held at the Hyatt in Manhattan every year in mid-July and is extremely well-attended, well-run, and an excellent opportunity for an aspiring novelist to do a little networking with some of the biggest names in the thriller genre as well as pitch a manuscript to literally dozens of agents.
My plan was to make the drive down to New York again this July, but then something happened that made me reconsider - I signed with Medallion Press for publication of FINAL VECTOR, my debut thriller. I'm still unagented, and attending Agentfest next month in order to try to interest an agent in my latest manuscript is extremely tempting.
However, if I delay a year and instead attend Thrillerfest 2011 next July, I can go as a published author as well as member of the International Thriller Writers and maybe have the chance to appear in a panel discussion or workshop or some other such fancy-dancy thing.
The theory I'm going with is that the exposure as well as the networking possibilities would be much greater if I have a book to flog than if I don't. And this year I don't, since FINAL VECTOR's release date isn't until February. Plus, if I go next year I will have the chance to hopefully sell some books and gain some readers, and that sounds awfully appealing, too.
I know what you're thinking - why not just go both years? But with a day job and a family to support and three kids to put through college, doing the Thrillerfest thing this year and next year would be financially irresponsible, which is a fancy way of saying we don't have the cash for that.
So next year it is.
But I have to admit, I received my latest ITW Thrillerfest update today and it's going to be awesome. Plus, I learned recently one of my favorite authors, Tom Piccirilli, will be making the trip from Colorado to New York for this year's Thrillerfest, and it would be way cool just to shake the guy's hand and maybe ask him to sign a book or two for this groupie.
Oh, well. Pretty soon Thrillerfest 2010 will be just a memory and I can begin planning the trip next year. Maybe by then I'll even have a second book to promote...