Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thrillerfest 2013

by Jodie Renner, editor, author, speaker

Just got home from Thrillerfest in NYC and realized it's my turn to post a blog here! Hope I can stay awake long enough to say a few words about THE biggest (only?) thriller writers' conference of the year.

This was my fourth Craftfest/Thrillerfest in a row - and maybe my last, as The Big Apple is expensive - especially in July! But I had such a great time that I may just scrimp and save to go back again next year...

The conference is four days long, with all day Wed. and Thurs. a.m. devoted to Craftfest workshops and a luncheon. Thurs. pm is Agentfest (which I didn't attend), followed by two days of Thrillerfest panels, interviews, author signings, book-buying, cocktail parties, and general schmoozing and catching up with or getting to know other authors and aspiring authors.

Janice Bashman, David Morrell, Jenny Milchman, Pam Stack
As always, there were a lot of bestselling authors signing books, giving talks, and mingling at the parties. Michael Connelly, David Morrell, Michael Palmer and Steve Berry, among others, drew large crowds for their workshops at Craftfest. Lee Child didn't speak this year, but was at all the social gatherings. Anne Rice was interviewed by her son, bestselling author Christopher Rice, Michael Palmer was interviewed by his son Daniel Palmer, Michael Connelly was interviewed by Jon Land, and T. Jefferson Parker was interviewed by DP Lyle. All were insightful and inspiring! (Apologies - my photo-taking was sporadic this year.)

Lee Child, Anne Rice
I highly recommend Craftfest, the first day and a half, for aspiring authors and anyone wanting to hone their craft. The workshops are always excellent, and are presented by accomplished authors who are also great teachers. And most of them are pretty entertaining, too!

Steven James introduces David Morrell
Thrillerfest is mostly panels and interviews, and of course a lot of socializing. This year I was on a panel for the first time, called "How to Become a Masterful Editor - of Your Own Work."

Brad Parks was highly entertaining as our panel master. I had prepared handouts on three self-editing-related topics, all of which were scarfed up immediately. I had no idea we'd get a packed room for our panel! Click HERE to read the handouts on steps for revising and self-editing, how to save on editing costs, and cutting word count.

And a great spin-off was that a lot of people came up to me at the end and asked for my card and expressed an interest in my two craft of writing books, Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power, and Writing a Killer Thriller. I ended up selling a lot of books at the conference - way more than I thought I would.

Janice Gable Bashman, Allison Brennan, Jodie Renner
The best part of the four-day conference was connecting and networking with author friends from Facebook -- and also meeting a bunch of great new people.

with Doug Lyle
Stimulating and fun, and I came away with so many ideas, from writing and editing to publishing to marketing and promoting!

If you attended Craftfest and/or Thrillerfest this year, what were some of the highlights for you?
Pam Stack, Jodie, Amy Shojai
Conferences can be expensive, but they're so worth it in many ways. And there's always the option of trying to find one close to home...

Do you enjoy writers' conferences or conventions? Which are your favorites, and why? How about ones you'd like to attend but haven't yet?

And by the way, as with many big conferences, all the workshops, panels, and interviews were recorded, and you can buy the CDs at

Jodie Renner has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller and Fire up Your Fiction (Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power), which has won two book awards so far. Look for the third book in the series, out soon. For more info, please visit Jodie’s author website or editor website, her other blogs, The Kill Zone and Resources for Writers, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And sign up for her newsletter.


  1. What a wonderful report! I love the pictures - especially the one of you with your books at the top. It's been a long time since I've had time and money and energy coincide in large enough quantities to attend a convention of any kind, but my memories are fond.

    Thanks so much for staying awake long enough to do a write-up - and adding pictures. And congrats on the panel and book sales!

    1. Thanks, David! It was exhilarating and I'm "thrilled" to have sold so many of my Writing a Killer Thriller! :)

  2. Thanks, Jodie, for sharing your experience. I'm so glad you had fun and sold books. What could be better? I've always wanted to attend Thrillerfest just to hang out with all those great thriller writers!

    1. I wish you could've been there, too, LJ! You would have loved it and the conference would have been richer for your contributions on a panel and overall!

  3. It sounds like you had a fabulous time. The photos are terrific, and I'm "thrilled" you sold so many books! One of these days...

    1. Thanks, Peg! Hope to see you again at a conference - maybe LCC 2014?

  4. Excellent recap, Jodie. Thanks for sharing!

    Glad you had a great time. I've missed it for the past 3 years, but hope to comeback in 2014. Hopefully we can meet there again and exchange updated business cards. ;-)

  5. Yes, we missed you again this year, Jose. If I go next year, I'll look for you!

  6. Good description of a great event. I've only been there once, but it was well worth the cost. ThrillerFest is one of the best.

    I try to do at least one convention a year and I never fail to walk away without great ideas and positive energy.

    I'm hoping to go back to Thrillerfest next year if time permits.

    1. Yes, it was a blast, Teresa. You would have enjoyed it!

  7. Agreed it was expensive ($4 a doughnut!) but definitely something I'm glad I did. Enjoyed seeing you, Jodie (and glad I was able to give you a Word tip). The craft panels were excellent, and I'm recapping them on my own blog--today's tips from John Sandford on polishing the MS before sending it to your editor. Maybe you'll get cleaner submissions from those who attended.

    Terry's Place

  8. Dear Jodie - I was so thrilled to meet you at Thrillerfest, after all of our chats and FB conversations. Those who sat in on your panels were very, very impressed, as was I, but I already knew how brilliant you are! Thanks for posting the photos too. They are part of my cherished memories!
    All the best,
    Pam Stack
    Radio Talk Show host

  9. Thanks for your kind words, Pam. It was wonderful finally meeting you in person, too! And congrats on scoring some NYT bestselling authors to interview on your radio talk show! Wow!


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