The International Thriller Writers (ITW) is a volunteer-operated organization. Everything from the website to this blog to ThrillerFest is built on the generosity of those who freely donate a portion of their time. It doesn't matter if you haven't attended a previous TF, in fact, if you are a first-timer, volunteering is a great way to meet people.
My first year to attend was in 2007. ThrillerFest was the largest conference I'd attended at that time and it was coupled with my first ever trip to New York. It may surprise some to know that I'm a shy person by nature. (Pause for the Peanut Gallery snickering to subside.) When I registered for TF07 I marked the little box on the form that said I'd be interesting in volunteering. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
That first year, I met many of the authors in attendance and other yet-to-be-discovered authors. Giving up a total of a few hours over the course of an extended weekend was time well spent because I had a lot of fun. Unsure of how you can contribute? It's easy. Some of the duties regularly preformed by TF volunteers include:
* Filling tote bag with goodies
* Keeping time for panels and Q&A sessions
* Transporting ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of books
* Acting as greeters for special events such as special guest interviews
and the awards banquet
* "Traffic controllers" for book signings
There are many other ways and areas in which to contribute your time and talents. If you're attending ThrillerFest 2009 and are interested in volunteering, visit the official ThrillerFest website and click on "Contact ThrillerFest" for more information.