They say trade shows are on the wane. People don’t want to expend the time and money required to put on the events, companies don’t want to pay the exorbitant prices for sending staff for the “waste of time” these things become. I don’t think I agree with this thinking.
Colorado Gold is “my” big event of the year, and every time I’ve gone (and I’ve gone to this event since 2003), I learn something, meet someone important, get to know friends in writing on a deeper level, and most of all, I get motivated to write some more. These things are not measurable in dollars, but in punctuating my life with celebration and skill development they are invaluable.
Take for example:
Do you know Deni? She writes under the pen names “Denise Dietz” and “Mary Ellen Dennis.” Under the first name, Deni writes mysteries. Cozy mysteries. I really enjoyed Throw Darts at a Cheesecake and Footprints in the Butter. As Mary Ellen Dennis, Deni writes historical and paranormal romance. Yummy!
In 2014 Deni was nominated for an Edgar Award for her short story, “Annie and the Grateful Dead.”
But Deni is also the editor who first acquired Faith on the Rocks and then Sliced Vegetarian. She helped me as she has helped so many others “get a start” in publishing. Luckily, Deni and senior editor, Tiffany Schofield, from Five Star came to CO Gold in search of new talent. I won’t know if they struck gold at this year’s conference for a while, but Deni’s a very committed editor as well as writer, and I suspect that in the months ahead there will be one or two new authors shouting and celebrating the way I did a couple of years ago.
Thing about Deni is that you may not know her personally, but she has a really big reputation in the industry, and that reputation seems to be all good. “She works so hard, all of the time,” said one person I talked to. “Oh, you write for Five Star? Then you must know Deni,” said another, implying that Deni is the person who enjoys working with new and established authors.
It was amazing to me how approachable Deni was during the weekend. Yes, she had several pitch sessions and meetings to go to. She gave a few workshops, and she hung out with some of us who are “her authors.” But every time I saw her, Deni had a smile and a couple of minutes for me. She gave me tips for working with Five Star on prepping for Bouchercon (which is coming up in a few weeks in Raleigh, NC), and didn’t bug me about where book three might be in the Daisy Arthur mysteries. In general, whether you meet Deni for the first time or the fiftieth she comes across, not as a big wig, but as a true friend.
So how do you put a dollar figure on that friendship? How does this small contact pay off for Deni or me? I can’t speak for my editor, but I know I came away more motivated than ever to get back to the keyboard. I don’t want to let her down, and I’m so excited to share the next story with her. For months my work has been dragging, but after talking with Deni and being at CO Gold, I’m excited to jump back into the world of writing and make something good happen.
I’d ask you to wish me luck, but I think the conference has provided just that.
Wishing you a week filled with the motivation to do all that your dreams inspire in you.