Greetings mystery lovers!
I'm Jon Jordan and I'm hosting this year's Bouchercon in St. Louis.
I've been a fan of the convention for a long time. I thought it would be nice to pay it forward and so, along with David Thompson, I decided to put in a bid. As you may know, David passed along last September. And while he can't be replaced, I'm making an effort to fill his shoes by bringing in a lot of people to help out.
A big part of the convention is the panel sessions. This year's panels will be put together by Judy Bobalik and my wife, Ruth Jordan. (Contact info here: http://bouchercon2011.com/programming.php)
To be considered for a panel, you of course need to be registered. We're also asking people to fill out a short questionnaire to make it easier to place folks on panels.
Many people seem to get into a comfortable zone when doing panels, always doing the same type with the same people. Our hope is to mix it up a bit and, hopefully, expose fans to authors they haven't read yet -- and expose authors to fans they may not have reached yet. Just because you may write books involving a lawyer, that doesn't mean there may not be other panels for you to do.
Judy and I have put together panels for a number of Bouchercons and have helped with other conventions as well. What this means is that we've heard a lot of feedback from fans -- and Judy, Ruth and I are getting really good at this.
We make an effort to play to individual strengths, but we also want people to do something a little different if possible. If you are on a panel, but at first glance aren't sure why, trust us, there is a reason. It's our hope to put panelists on a panel that will entertain the fans and bring new readers to authors.
Not everyone will get a panel; there are just too many authors signing up these days for Bouchercon for us to place everyone. Because of this, we will also be doing a number of craft sessions and the 20-on-the-20. To increase your chances, it helps to be available for all four days of Bouchercon. The more available you are, the better the chance of us finding a place for you.
I know that not all authors love the early morning panels -- but you know what? The fans are there and ready to go.
We know that authors love being on panels and we try to put as many authors on panels as we can. But panels aren't the only reason to come to Bouchercon. The sheer volume of attendees means connecting with fans, booksellers, other authors and any number of other people in the biz.
To sum up, I guess what I'm saying is that the panels are a big part of this, but don't hang your success at Bouchercon on a 50-minute panel you share with four or five other people. There's a lot more to it! Bouchercon is about celebrating the mystery genre, and we hope you'll be celebrating with us!
Photo: Jon and Ruth Jordan.
Jon Jordan is the publisher of Crimespree Magazine and the host of Bouchercon 2011. In the coming months, he will be "Blogging Bouchercon" on the SinC blog. For more information on Bouchercon, see http://bouchercon2011.com/. Jon can be reached at Jon@bouchercon2011.com.