Writer's Notes

Fans and Flowers: Mystery Fan Conventions

As I write this, I’ve just returned from the Malice Domestic convention, and in October 2017, I attended Bouchercon.

By Becky Clark

BClark cover Fiction Can Be MurderI launched my newest book, FICTION CAN BE MURDER, the first in a light-hearted mystery series, on April 8th. My publisher made sure copies were available for the Left Coast Crime convention in March, though. As I write this, I’ve just returned from the Malice Domestic convention, and in October 2017, I attended Bouchercon.

If you’ve never been to a mystery fan convention, it’s essentially a long weekend of hobnobbing with authors you love and discovering new authors you’ll soon love. Bouchercon is huge and caters to all genres. Left Coast Crime isn’t quite so big, but also covers the spectrum of crime fiction. And Malice focuses more on traditional mysteries, like Agatha Christie’s.

All these fan conventions have a similar agenda, to connect authors with readers.

There are tons of books given away and sold, and numerous opportunities to get them signed by the author.

There are also panels scheduled all weekend where four or five authors discuss a single topic … for example, small town settings, research in crime fiction, amateur sleuths, gender roles in crime fiction, writing a great villain … and a gazillion more.

There’s a New Authors Breakfast where debut authors have a minute or two to talk about their new book, so you get 30+ titles to add to your TBR pile.

There’s also an Awards Banquet honoring fans’ favorite books.

When I attended my first Bouchercon, I went strictly as a fan, but a fan with a purpose. I wanted to meet certain authors and ask them to read and blurb FICTION CAN BE MURDER before it came out. I culled my list from the Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Humorous Mystery Award nominees over the years (since FICTION CAN BE MURDER is humorous), then cross-referenced them against the authors who’d be attending Bouchercon. I figured it’s harder to say no to me in person.

It’s very stressful to ask famous authors you admire to do you a favor for which they get absolutely nothing in return. But I screwed up my courage and did it anyway. I probably asked a dozen authors, some on the spur of the moment. To a person, they were thrilled to help, most saying something like, “people did this for me when I started out and I’m happy to return the favor.” I was nervous for absolutely no reason. For folks who kill people for a living, mystery writers are a lovely and generous bunch.

At both Left Coast Crime and Malice Domestic, I was lucky enough to attend as both a fan and an author. I wrote about splattering fangirl all over the place at the Mysterista’s blog.

It’s still a bit surreal and I can’t help think this is all some weird cosmic prank, but there’s nothing quite like having people line up at my book signing table with a copy of my book, shyly asking if I’d sign my name to it.

They needn’t worry. The day I’m not thrilled by someone asking me to sign a book is the day I’m dead.




Here are the live links to the fan conventions —


Left Coast Crime …


Malice Domestic …


Bouchercon …


And the Mysterista’s blog post I refer to is here ….


BeckyClarkBecky Clark —

Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.”


Becky’s website ….

Follow Becky Clark on Amazon …

on Facebook at Becky Clark Author …

and at Goodreads …



Fiction Can Be Murder Ordering Links







By Thonie Hevron

Mysteries to keep you reading through the night.

11 replies on “Fans and Flowers: Mystery Fan Conventions”

Great post that really explains what these mystery conventions are like–what they are not are writer conferences. Have attended all you’ve mentioned, and for a writer these are great places to interact with readers and make some new friends/fans.

Thanks, Marilynn! And you’re right, they are very different from writer’s conferences, which focus on the craft of writing. I love those, too, but they are indeed a separate beast.

Gosh, (grovel, grovel) I w-was trying to be sorta kidding as I d-didn’t think I, I had a chance. But you are s-so gracious to a humble writer to agree. “Marijuana Murders” could use a nice blurb from you, that is, of course, if you have the time. I can give you several weeks to look at it–if you, if you really can. M-M-Ms. Clark I would be in your debt.

While your nervousness was Oscar-worthy and superb, your timing, not so much. I’m just starting a new manuscript so I’m going to have my nose down for the duration. HOWEVER, if you email it to me with your deadline, I can try. But if you don’t hear from me by the deadline, you’ll know it was yet another thing that didn’t get done, along with healthy eating, exercise, grooming the dog, and bathing.

Becky, you’re the best. My publisher is going to be sitting on this for months so you will have lots of time. I need to get a better idea of the pub date and the date for ARCs. Will advise. If you have time, great. If not, I’ll put my nervous groveling to work elsewhere. Cheers!

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