It’s Convention Time Again

By Sheila Lowe

When my first two books were published it never occurred to me to attend a convention. They were both nonfiction books about handwriting (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis in 2000 and Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous in 2001). I did a lot of traveling around, promoting at book signings and giving lectures about handwriting analysis, but that was the extent of my PR efforts.

By the time my first mystery was published I approached promotion differently. Luckily, one of the very smart members of my critique group did a ton of research about what to do when your book is released. Among other things, he provided a list of all the mystery conventions that year (2007) and encouraged the four group members, who all had books coming out at the same time with the same small publisher, to attend as many of them as we could. And we did, participating on panels, handing out bookmarks, schmoozing.

As a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, I’m a terrible schmoozer (though reasonably good at faking it), but by tagging along with my partners, I got to meet some new readers and fellow authors. Over the next few years, I paneled my way through Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, and Left Coast Crime, usually coming away feeling as though I’d fallen far short in the social department. The bars at these events are usually pretty lively, but my second glass of wine puts me into a stupor, so no point in taking up drinking. I need to find other ways to participate more fully and in less than two weeks there will be a whole new opportunity. I’ll be heading to Phoenix for the 2016 Left Coast Crime Convention.

I was delighted to see the basket of goodies I’m donating for the Silent Auction featured in today’s attendee newsletter. There’s a hand-painted “day of the dead” mask that represents the sugar sLCC basketkull tattoo featured in my current book, INKSLINGERS BALL, along with a certificate for a handwriting analysis and some other bits and pieces. Now I need your opinion: I’m considering including a packet of handwritten notes from the second half of my upcoming book, OUTSIDE THE LINES (to be released August 2). I’ve asked around and some readers have said they would love to have those notes. But what do you think? Does that sound at all interesting, or simply self-aggrandizing? I’m curious to know what others think of making this addition to the basket.

On Saturday morning of the convention I’ll be sharing a panel on Forensics in Fiction with Aaron Elkins, Ian Hamilton, Susan Cummings Miller, and moderator Lynn Raimondo. Being unfamiliar with Lynn’s work I ordered one of her Mark Angelotti books and promptly devoured it over a couple of days (when I should have been working on a forgery case). Now I’m working my way through the other panelists, feeling humbled to be in their exalted company.

Finally, having gotten my rights back from my former publisher and signed with Suspense Publishing for my entire series, three of the books have new covers, which I’m excited to share No one will ever confuse them for cozies again!

Left Coast is always fun, and, introversion notwithstanding, I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones; hopefully garnering some new readers, too. If you’re at LCC, please come over and say hello.