Sleuth Fest 2016: Do I dare?


Sleuth Fest 2016 is being held in February here in Deerfield Beach, Florida. This is Mystery Writers of America’s premier conference. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet other authors in the crime fiction/mystery writer league. Seminars are held to provide attendants ways to hone craft skills. There is also time given to pitch your completed, unpublished manuscript to agents. The list of offerings:

* Agent Appointments to pitch your finished work

* Critiques of your 10 page manuscript submission

* Forensic track with current forensic techniques and hands-on forensic workshops

* Social events to mingle with agents, editors and your favorite authors

* Auction to purchase critiques of your work by bestselling authors

* Sessions on the craft of writing

* Sessions on marketing and promoting your work
* Practice your Pitch sessions with experienced authors


You’re not promised a one:one with an agent as the 10 minute time slots fill up fast and I’d be coming in kind of late to the party. Yet, the introverted part of me that cringes at the thought of physically putting myself into a social situation like this also feels it would be grand experience. Do I dare?

Anybody want to meet me there and hold my hand? I’ll pay your plane fair. I’m serious.

I want to go and give it a try, but my social anxiety cripples me.

I need a fan club!

49 thoughts on “Sleuth Fest 2016: Do I dare?

    • Thanks Pamela. I really want to do this, but I’m terrified. Both of failure and success. You want to come hold my hand? We could room together and sip margaritas in the sunshine.

  1. I would be in the same boat you are in if I was there. I would love to go to something like that, but the introvert in me says, “Woaaaaaah! Let’s not have any crazy ideas!” Hahaha! 🙂

  2. Absolutely! If I lived closer, I’d go in a heartbeat. It’ll be scary at first, but Sleuthfest is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Go, Susan. You owe this to yourself. Make sure to post pics afterward, and have fun!

  3. I say definitely go for it. The two times I’ve been to ThrillerFest I’ve absolutely loved it, and although I’ve avoided much interaction, I did better the second time around, and I think I’ll do even better the third. I also did an agent pitch session, and it wasn’t that bad at all. So do go for it. You’ll be so glad you did, and you’d be going at the perfect time since you have a finished manuscript (for agent pitching, anyway).

  4. I certainly hope you will dare. In fact, I urge you to.
    I say this from the POV of
    a) someone who co-founded the network TV version of this event in Canada, and ensured that it was a caring environment filled with very approachable and encouraging experts/co-creators
    b) attending the big international authors’ festival in Toronto, scared and nervous as a first-time author. My post-accident stutter was very bad at that time and going out also filled me with fear that the dreaded PTSD would strike and expose me as a crazy person. Slowly, I discovered that almost everyone I met was also suffering from imposter syndrome. They were relieved when a stranger came up and said hello and asked them about themselves. That included several well-known authors!

    So go, and know that you will gain a lot simply by signing up for events in the programme, and by approaching people directly. Give yourself some realistic goals, too.

    In fact, I dare you!
    With a warm hug,

    • Thanks for your kind words to help allay my fears, Cynthia. I’m in the process of signing up and finding the hotel already booked solid. Yikes. I’m going to have to see what’s close.

  5. You need to start somewhere, and I will be at SleuthFest to hold your hand! Seriously, each time you attend a writers conference, you meet more people. Soon it becomes like a family reunion where you meet old friends you’ve made on the conference circuit. You have to be brave and approach perfect strangers. The good thing is that we all have something in common–a love for reading and writing. So you can start a conversation easily with “What do you write?” or “Where are you from?” or “Have you been to SF before?”

    • Thanks for the tips, Nancy. I’m already getting excited. At first I thought I should volunteer for something to help get me acquainted, but I chickened out on the commitment. Perhaps I’ll be more prepared to volunteer next time. I’m determined to do this thing, as it come at a perfect time. My manuscript has been edited and gone off for the final proof. I sure hope I haven’t waited to late to get a 1:1 with my desirable agent.

  6. Even if you don’t get an agent appt with the person of your choice, there might be last-minute vacancies. You’ll also meet the agents at the cocktail party and at other events, so practice your short pitch!

    • Thanks for your support, Nancy. I will need to do that. My aging memory doesn’t recall as quick as it once did. I probably need to spiff up the synopsis I have prepared for my editor, but I’ve got to memorize my ten minute elevator pitch.

  7. Susan, go for it, especially if it’s close by! And wow, the sisters P.J. Parrish will be there. How I love their Louis Kincaid thrillers. I’m highly introverted too (I think most writers are) but sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone. I bet you’ll love it once you get there!

    • Thanks for that strong vote of confidence, John. I took the plunge and made my reservations. I’ll be there from Wed. Feb. 24th to Mon. the 29th. There is one agent I would love to pitch to as this book seems to be something that is right up his alley, based on his preferences listed on the web site. I do hope I get that chance. I’m excited about it, but almost cripple with fear. I’m such a social klutz. I’m all flip-flops and tank tops…it’s been more than ten years since I went to a cocktail party. I hardly have a clue how to conduct myself or what to wear.

  8. I have talked myself out of attending more conferences than you can imagine, so I understand completely! (And yes, the expense is also an issue.) I hope you find some friends who will be there, too, and go and have a wonderful time!

  9. Absolutely go, Susan! I’ve gone alone basically everywhere, and yes, it is scary when you put your foot in, but by the time your second foot follows, you feel like you’ve been there your entire life and you can’t think to be in any other place.

    I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time 🙂

  10. Sounds like such a great event! I can completely relate to your introvert leanings; I feel that way about these types of events, too — never sure whether to stay or go.

    • The other issue for me that I didn’t talk about in the post is having to get up so early four days in a row. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable these past few years dragging out of bed at 9 or 10 🙂

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