Friday, October 5, 2018

Leap Author Jessica Bayliss Goes to THRILLERFEST

As an early-career author, I’m always on the lookout for education resources and other authors willing to support the newbies. I was excited about the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and their Debut Author Program. So, the year my book, BROKEN CHORDS, was published by Leap Books, I signed up, and I’m so glad I did. ITW offers a lot of perks for their members, including free promotion in their magazine, The Big Thrill, and opportunities for blurbs from ITW members.

One of the other perks is that I got to attend the Debut Authors’ Breakfast at ThrillerFest. ThrillerFest is a whirlwind of a conference held in NYC each July. I attended author panels on things like craft, character, and marketing/promotion, and a special State of The Market, which included something that made this psychologist very happy—data and statistical analyses! Then there were talks by the master authors like Heather Graham, George RR Martin, RL Stine, and Lee Child who, despite writing deviously entertaining thrillers, are all hilariously funny.

But back to the breakfast. Imagine your wedding day. You’re sitting up on the dais with your wedding party, looking down at the attendees in their finery. Now, replace that image with the same thing, except you’re not in formal wear, and instead of hundreds of your family and friends seated at the linen-decked tables, it’s a bunch of thriller writers, and your book cover and head shot are being projected on two large screens flanking the dais. And you get to give a speech.

Though you may be shuddering at the thought of talking in front of such an impressive crowd, it was a wonderful experience. Everyone was immensely supportive, and though we were on display, there was an overall very low-key vibe for the whole thing. Not only was the breakfast an opportunity for the debut authors to introduce themselves to the greater ITW community, it was a unique opportunity to meet one another. This year’s group is a very accomplished bunch! From special ops ex-military, to a microbiologist, a former detective, and professionals of all sorts. It was exciting to learn how they brought their unique expertise to their fiction.

We also had a closed-door chat with a senior thriller writer who told us the ins and outs of the business and a special dinner for just us debuts and the Debut Chairman, fellow Triada US Literary Agency author of THE HEMINGWAY THIEF, Shaun Harris. (New York really has some of the best pizza anywhere.) And, we got a bag full of goodies! 

Following the breakfast, the debut authors all participated in a signing, and I even got to sign some stock copies of BROKEN CHORDS for the famous Strand Bookstore. (Eep!)

I wonder who will be up on that dias in 2019