This just in: Bloody Words has been cancelled.
First, writers, sharpen your pencils. Murder in the Grove is having their annual writing contest. Entries must fit in the thriller, mystery, suspense or romantic suspense category. For more details on the link. You do not have to be attending Murder in the Grove to enter. Although if you attend, you get to see me, as I'll be on a panel there.
Now, on the other side of the equation, news just in that Bloody Words, the annual Canadian mystery writing convention, has been cancelled this year. This from the CWC:
Bloody Words 2007 – June 15 to 17 (Victoria, BC) – LATE-BREAKING NEWS!!!
FRANCES THORSEN, chair of Bloody Words 2007, has decided to cancel this year’s conference. Unfortunately, with only five months till the actual conference date, there’s no way we can pull anything together in Toronto for 2007, including booking our hotel.
There is also a note up on the Bloody Words website.
Already, frustration is being vented on listservs and discussion groups. More than anything in business, consistency is critical. Five months before this conference was to happen the plug has been pulled.
I certainly hope that this reminds everyone in this business how important the conventions are. They are critical to authors, readers, booksellers and organizations involved in promoting books. All of these relationships are critical. We cannot survive without each other. Although I suspect there will be further explanation in the coming days as to why the conference has been cancelled, at this point people have been left without a reasoned explanation. In fact, they've been left without an explanation of any kind.
Such decisions can damage the credibility of conventions. Authors and booksellers have limited resources. They can only attend a fixed number of events each year, and often those decisions are made months - if not a full year - in advance. When conventions fail to run it is possible to lose bookseller support as they opt for conventions that have a track record of consistency. The same with authors. Investing money and time in travel plans, budgeting and all of the arrangements that go into attending a conference only to have it cancelled can be exceptionally frustrating. In some cases, authors are choosing between one event or another, and such late notice means they're missing an event.
It is also a blow to local retailers, who typically utilize the authors coming for the convention to do in-store events that otherwise wouldn't happen.
Most of all, if there is one thing I hope people are more aware of, it's the enormous importance of these events for the entire writing community, and that there is more support of making them happen and making them successful in the future. Organizing a convention is an enormous task, and the volunteers who make these events happen, and do their best to deal with demands from all attending, need our support.
I can imagine this is quite a shock to the authors who were planning to attend.