Every Bouchercon attendee comes away with something different. This is largely because the convention can be what you want it to be: everything from a deep immersion into the crime fiction genre to a frivolous, weekend-long party with rarely-seen friends – and every variation in between.
What every Bouchercon attendee shares is the sense of community. It is a time to bond with like-minded people in a central location. No one need feel like a fish-out-of-water, as the crime fiction tribe is about as friendly as they come. Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you at a panel – you never know, it just might be the author of your favorite new book and in the next moment, the two of you will be having coffee and donuts over a delightful discussion about books.
If you know yourself to be a shy person – and let’s face it, the book community is full of introverts – sign up for a short volunteering session. This will help you to acclimate to the new surroundings, will likely give you some unexpected perks, and most of all will engage you in interaction with other attendees. Some of my closest friends in the community are those I first met while volunteering at Bouchercon. It is easy to pass the time talking about favorite book and authors as you stuff envelopes with convention materials; or work a shift at the registration desk where you can smile and welcome your favorite authors to the host city. Later you will feel good about yourself because not only did you get out of your comfort zone, but you also contributed to making Bouchercon the success that it is.
As fans, we are the lifeblood of Bouchercon. The authors are here to interact with us! Each of them is more than willing to chat with you, sign books, and provide suggestions for further reading. Remember, they are readers as well, so they might just want to know what new books you are enjoying. What could be better than a communion over the power of the written word?
On your first day, you may feel like that new member of the family who just married the shy second cousin, but give it a few hours and it will soon feel like a full on family reunion with people you have known for decades. The more times you attend the more you will feel like a vital member of the community. Because you are! Bouchercon is about the people. Sure, the books play a major role in both getting us there in the first place and in entertaining us while we are there – but in the end it is our fellow readers who make it so special. Egos get checked at the door, because in the end, we are all united under the same flag: Fans of Crime Fiction.
2018 Raven Award Recipient