As nikkidj said, I attended Wednesday and Thursday, the CraftFest and AgentFest days.
AgentFest was intense, but a wonderful experience for a novice writer (me). Next time, I will know better what to do; preparation gets you only so far. Going through the process clarified a lot – about the selling-a-book business and about the selling of MY novel.
CraftFest was uneven:
The talk by Ken Follett was all by itself probably worth the price of admission.
Some of the individual sessions were excellent – see this link for Janet Reid’s appreciation of Mark Tavani’s talk:http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2011/07/forget-your-weaknesses-attack-your.html
Hallie Ephron gave a great talk on generating suspense. What I liked most about it was how she got us all participating. She has a lovely stage presence, very comfortable with questions, clearly knew her craft and was skilled at discussing it.
Michael Palmer’s session was a regurgitation of this information on his website:http://www.michaelpalmerbooks.com/writing-tips
Sort of useful, full of personal anecdotes.
A couple were silly (I won’t name names).
That said, the presenters were speaking to a roomful of people who ranged from published best-selling authors to total newbies – like the man who raised his hand to ask “What’s a query letter?” aargghhhhh
The universe of thriller writers in attendance ranged from cozy mysteries with hints of suspense, medical and legal thrillers, spy stories, military adventure, to horror and erotic paranormal thrillers. The camaraderie amongst the writers was a delight, something I wasn’t expecting and had never before experienced. I have already exchanged emails with a few of my new friends and hope our paths will cross again. (Hi nikkidj!)