Each year, there are several mystery writers and fans who will attend Bouchercon (or Bcon) for the very first time. Bouchercon newbies, you should read BOLO BOOKS’ definitive guide to Bouchercon here:
A few things I would add to BOLO BOOKS’ comprehensive list:
-Bring comfortable shoes. This year, events will be set at various hotels so you will be walking a lot.
-Pack light. There isn’t a dress code but some people dressed up their jeans with nice shirts and shoes, and many people were dressed in business casual. I’m not a dress person, so I only needed 1-2 dresses for dinner, etc.
-Definitely print out the schedule to decide which panels you want to hit. Don’t be afraid to leave a panel if it doesn’t suit you. I sat in the back so I could walk in and out of panel rooms without making a fuss.
-I really enjoyed the Wednesday SinC Into Great Writing workshop last year led by Alexandra Sokoloff, and the workshop this year sounds great, too. It’s free for Sisters in Crime members.
-I packed a canvas bag inside my suitcase so I only paid for one bag on the way to Bouchercon, and then two bags for the return trip. On the way home, I stuffed my clothes in the canvas bag and put the free books I picked up at the convention in my suitcase. I saw some people walking around with rolling suitcases. I may do that this year since I’m not in the main hotel. Instead, I booked a place on Airbnb which has many homes and condos within walking distance of The Vinoy.
-I also packed snacks and one reusable water bottle.
-Don’t forget your business cards. This year I may put some pins on my badge so people know I am a member of Twin Cities SinC and MWA-Midwest as well.
-Don’t be afraid to take breaks and/or naps as needed. You can’t do it all, folks.
-It’s important to network at the bar, even if it’s just for a little while. It is a *bar*, so be careful and hang out with a group.
Can’t wait to meet you in person in St. Pete!
With Owen Laukkanen
Past SinC Presidents Catriona McPherson & Leslie Budewitz