Welcome to the Thrillerfest V Blog!

We hope you'll bookmark us, just as you bookmark so many of the hundreds of the International Thriller Writers that participate in our annual conference, held in New York City in July.

ITW is a youthful organization, always ready for a new way of looking at things. You'll find that dynamism here, in blog posts from authors, agents, editors and Thrillerfest attendees, past and present.

And that same excitement you feel from your favorite reads is evident in everything ITW does, and no wonder--the organization, staffing and publicity for ThrillerFest--including this new blog--is undertaken by volunteers, most of whom are ITW authors themselves.

So pull up a chair and stay awhile ... discover the latest news on what Thrillerfest V--the fifth anniversary of the conference--has to offer. Visit old friends, make new ones, ask questions, and hear about the remarkable things in store for the conference.

Whether or not you can come see us in New York--and we hope that you can!--please join us here. It's gonna be ... a thriller!

Kelli Stanley, Thrillerfest Publicity Committee Chair

Thrillerfest Publicity Committee:
Jeannie Holmes
CJ Lyons
Carla Buckley
Grant McKenzie

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pitching the flu

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the 2009 swine flu outbreak is officially a pandemic. According to WHO’s director-general, “The virus is now unstoppable.”

As a writer of medical thrillers, I’m slightly deranged and my reaction was, great news! The book I will pitch at AgentFest features a weaponized influenza virus. The first real-life flu pandemic since 1968 creates billions of interested readers, right? What could be a better sales pitch than that?

Then I read this marvelous article on pitching in person by Shirley Kennett, the 2009 ThrillerFest chair: http://www.thrillerwriters.org/thrillerfest/Pitching%20in%20Person.pdf Unfortunately, nowhere in the article does she say, “Simply mention a recent headline and agent will be convinced that anyone who follows the news will want to buy your book. Your job is done!”

I have some work to do before July.

To make the most of the opportunities ThrillerFest will give me, an unpublished author, I need a pitch that is as unstoppable as swine flu. A successful pitch “goes viral.” People who hear it remember it and are compelled to repeat it.

Using Kennett’s article and the CraftFest sessions on Wednesday, I hope to write and memorize such a pitch. And not only that crucial one-line hook. Once I’ve grabbed an agent’s attention and he or she asks me for more, I need a compelling book-flap type of summary to flow smoothly off my tongue. The main advantage of a face-to-face pitch is the chance to present myself as a professional. That’s why I’ll be practicing in front of a mirror for the next several weeks.

See you at ThrillerFest, dear readers, where I hope to infect you with my contagious pitch. By the way, enjoy the crowds of New York now; the flu is on vacation in Australia.

Dr. Amy Rogers, author of The Han Agent

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ThrillerFest is ThrillerFun!

Yes we want to take advantage of meeting industry professionals and other writers, but there’s no doubt that we want to have a good time.

ThrillerFest is a well organized, professional event that offers so much for new writers, aspiring writers and writers who want to stay abreast of the newest trends and news. The programming this year is phenomenal! You can see there’s a lot of great and important material being offered. http://www.thrillerwriters.org/thrillerfest/programming/

Here, author Dianna Love talks about a program she will be giving.

In addition to learning and evolving in our craft there is the other side of ThrillerFest that past attendees are certainly thinking about as we get closer to the event. They’re looking forward to it because they remember what happened last yet. We had a blast!

There are parties and laughter, chatting and picture taking (a.k.a. evidence). You are going to walk away from that event with great stories, great friends and the feeling that you can’t wait for next year!

There are some comedians in the bunch who we know and love and who might surprise you! If you haven’t read some of the ITW MySpace interviews with ITW members you might want to check that out since it will show you that thriller writers have a great sense of humor!

Here’s a video from 2008 that you won’t want to miss since it puts best selling author Douglas Clegg in the shower of PW Blogger Barbara Vey!! Then watch the next video where Barbara mentions the infamous shower scene. There are plans in the works to top last year’s video and see if we can pull one over on Douglas Clegg. Who’s in on it? You’d be surprised! And of course you’re invited!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Enhancing Your Experience

Meeting people who are enthusiastic about what you love because they love it too builds a wonderful, positive energy. It’s like going to a movie you’ve been dying to see and the entire audience applauds at the end because the movie was so great. The room is buzzing with that “feel good” energy and it enhances your experience. That’s what it’s like to be at ThrillerFest.

Finding past ThrillerFest attendees that get excited about the upcoming event is very easy. Email any of the authors that are going for a second or third time and ask them if it is worth it. Ask them if they had a good time. Really. Do it! I am that confident that you’re going to get enthusiasm and great feedback from anyone who has attended!

Surrounding yourself with all that great energy, enhancing your experience at ThrillerFest will be a unique and incredible feeling for you that will inspire you to read, write, talk and share everything “thriller”. If you’ve had writer’s block, started to feel a little jaded, can’t seem to find a book that really holds your interest come to New York in July to re-energize and find what you’re looking for at ThrillerFest!

Learn more about ThrillerFest here with M.J. Rose!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Views from a Newbie

OK. I admit it. My first Thrillerfest intimidated me. I mean, who was I to walk among these literary giants? Granted, my plan wasn't to walk among them so much as sit, shut my mouth, and listen to every piece of advice given. Still, when my agent suggested I go, I wasn't sure what to expect. At the time, I had completed four novels, all of which had been summarily rejected by only the finest houses. Some accomplishment, right? But at Thrillerfest it seems that every attendee is either a highly successful or at least a debut author--it's hard not to feel an unsettling mix of envy and awe.

Fortunately, it doesn't take long for that all to dissipate. I quickly leaned that published authors are people too. Craftfest was surprisingly personal, with the lecturers more than willing to answer any question a newbie might have, even the stupid ones (I might have had a few of those). The receptions were even more intimate, and it wasn't long before I felt like I was walking among my kind. Finally, a conference where I wanted to talk about work! Though I was fortunate enough to have representation and did not attend Agentfest, I heard it was very successful and well worth the extra shekel or two to attend. The debut author luncheon was particularly inspiring--here was a first-hand look at those who had finally crossed that line from hobby to profession, to a place where passion was actually rewarded. I sat next to Julie Compton, debut author of the fantastic TELL NO LIES, and soaked up her tale of publishing trials and tribulations. Listening to the excitement in her voice, I wondered how long before I would join the ranks of Julie and the other debut authors in the room.

While the formal events wrapped up in the late afternoon, a sizable literary crowd could be found at night in the hotel bar, where drinks flowed well into the early morning hours and the loosened tongues of storytellers spun one tale after another. At one point I even found myself sitting next to Lee Child, offering another round to a man who could easily dismissed me as a nobody but didn't. How the hell did I get here? I remember wondering.

So what did I get out of Thrillerfest aside from a wicked hangover and a suitcase full of hardbacks? Inspiration. Yes, I made friends and professional contacts, all of which were invaluable, but the inspiration I got from being around such creative energy fueled me for months. Writing is such a lonely and personal affair it's easy sometimes to think you're the only person in the world doing it. Thrillerfest is a cure for that solitude and creative isolation. So this is my advice to any newbie sitting on the fence about going: GO. I know Thrillerfest is expensive, and it might not be something you can do every year, but do it at least once. You'll be happy you did it, and if you're really lucky, you might even get Lee Child drunk enough to tell you the story about the dwarf and the pineapple.

Carter Wilson

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Big Names, Big Thrills – Who Will You See At ThrillerFest?

It’s not too late to change your plans and join us in New York for ThrillerFest! I know, July is big for vacations and weddings, but come on! It’s David Morrell, Sandra Brown and Clive Cussler! Weddings can wait! Or better yet, have a honeymoon with an entirely different kind of thrill!

If you’ve not seen the list of authors who will be attending this year’s ThrillerFest let me do a little name dropping. Not just because I want you to know all the great authors I’m going to get to see this summer, but because these are the greats that have paved the way for other thriller writers and have sent chills up and down the spines of millions of readers. These are the celebrities of the thriller genre.

Robin Cook, Brad Meltzer, Katherine Neville, David Baldacci, R.L. Stein, M.J. Rose and so many more will be at ThrillerFest. It’s a chance to chat with them, get a book signed or ask for advice. The ThrillerFest venue is small enough to really have a chance to get to know a lot of the wonderful authors who are attending, and big enough to attract some of the biggest names in the genre.

Here we catch up with Steve Berry at BEA and hear why he thinks ThrillerFest is a great convention to attend!

The ThrillerFest venue is small enough to really have a chance to get to know a lot of the wonderful authors who are attending, and big enough to attract some of the biggest names in the genre.

ThrillerFest is one of the best conventions I have ever attended. It is well organized, professional and offers real value to attendees. Last year I attended as a speaker and hung out with Barbara Vey who writes a blog for Publisher’s Weekly. We were both a little star-struck by all the big name authors were got to meet and chat with. The personal feel of the event makes it fun and exciting and the professional feel of the event helps assure you that you’re getting a great deal for the investment.

We caught up with Jon Land during BEA and you can feel his enthusiasm as he talks about why ThrillerFest is so great!

No matter what your plans are for July, make a detour, make a plan just make it to ThrillerFest!