Answer: A large pizza can feed a family of four.
I stole that from Julia Pomeroy, who moderated a panel last weekend. Loved it.
I've talked before about the reasons I go to writers' conferences and my first Bouchercon delivered on all counts and more. This was a unique experience because it was the first conference I've attended with a book out. I learned how hard my publisher has been working behind the scenes to promote it and saw the effects of their work as I continued to meet new people who'd already heard of, bought, or even read, Final Approach.
Arriving in Indianapolis was exciting all on its own. I'm originally from Ohio and my favorite season is fall. When the plane was coming in, I looked out the window and saw bright red and yellow leaves and felt very nostalgic for the midwest. It only got better when I stepped outside and felt the cold snappy air. I got a good dose of that on Friday night went I joined a group of attendees on a "Ghost Walk" through Indianapolis which, it turns out, has a gorgeous downtown that is especially alluring at night. I'm not much for ghosts but this was worth it for the ambiance. Street musicians and white lights strung through trees, plus a bunch of historic architecture... I was lost in thoughts.
One thing that impressed me was the size of this convention, the largest I've attended. Organizers had scheduled six consecutive panels at a time. Usually I've been at conferences with two or three to choose from, so this was a treat--even though at times it was difficult to make a choice.
I was fortunate to be paired with Rebecca Cantrell for Friday morning's First Novelist speed dating event. This was sponsored by Mystery Scene magazine and authors were paired alphabetically, which was lucky for me because Rebecca and I had a blast and pitched together very well I thought. Check out her new book, A Trace of Smoke, set in 1931 Berlin. I brought a copy home and can't wait.
Another thing that Bouchercon reinforced was the effectiveness of on-line social networking. I met several on-line friends who I know via Facebook and Twitter and connections like that are instant ice breakers. I visited with several indie book sellers and multiple authors because we recognized each other from the cyber world. Thank you, Internet.
My friend David made an amusing remark. He saw me schmoozing in the bar late one night (okay, early one morning) and told me later that I'd finally learned how to conference: "Going to bed early so you can get up and run on the treadmill is what you do at home . . . or if you're in the Army, Rachel. When I saw you in the bar I almost shed a tear of pride."
Leave it to friends. I'll have even more waiting next year, when Bouchercon 2010 is held in San Francisco. Can't wait!