Crime Bake is 11 years old this year. I have been to every one save the first. This year I am even on the committee, which is an interesting new perspective on how this group of dedicated volunteers pulls off one of the best conferences for mystery/suspense writers around. Though registration for the November conference only opened last month, we are already 3/4 full. So I thought now was a good time to post my top ten reasons for going to Crime Bake.
- We keep it small. The mix of writers, librarians, editors, agents, and readers is kept small enough so that by Saturday afternoon you recognize people, and by Sunday breakfast you’ve made new friends.
- There are master classes offered on Friday afternoon, with incredible instructors delving into subjects like character building, plotting, writing query letters, etc.
- Friday night there are seminars offered–one in branding, one in practicing your pitch.
- Agents attend, and there is an opportunity to do a one-on-one agent pitch.
- Manuscript critiques are offered.
- There is a banquet on Saturday night.
- There is dancing and a costume parade after said banquet. This year’s theme is Femme Fatales and Lady Killers. Costumes are not required, but they are fun.
- The range of panels, and the writers on the panels, are incredible. An opportunity to learn, to be inspired, and to listen.
- Everything possible is done to keep the cost reasonable for the conference, including a rate at the Dedham Hilton, where the conference is held.
- You can put names with faces. So many of us belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Guppies, and other online groups (Facebook anyone), but we’ve never met in person. There are Friday afternoon receptions, a pizza party and other opportunities to talk. Real life conversations.
- This year’s guest of honor is Joe Finder, and he is going to be on a panel, teaching a master class, and be interviewed.
OK, that’s eleven. I could have gone on. Every year I leave Crime Bake inspired. If you are thinking about coming, don’t wait too much longer. I suspect the “sold out” sign will be going up soon. And trust me, this is a conference you don’t want to miss.
See you there?
J.A. Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource. She is a mystery writer who has her story “Her Wish” published in DEAD CALM, an anthology by Level Best Books. She is a huge social media fan, and tweets under @JulieHennrikus. She also blogs with the New Hampshire Writers’ Network. She wrestles with allusions of athleticism, is an avid theater goer and a proud member of Red Sox nation.