Book Passage

Mystery Writers Conference

September 7-10, 2017
Corte Madera, CA (Just north of San Francisco)

Discover All the Clues for a Successful Career as a Mystery or Suspense Writer!

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The four-day Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference has a strong tradition of great authors and teachers. It covers everything mystery writers need—from developing ideas and writing skills to finding a publisher. Participants work closely with mystery writers, agents, editors, and publishers as well as investigators and crime-fighting professionals.

In this conference, mystery writers learn the clues to a successful writing career. Editors, agents, and publishers tell participants what they need to know to get published. Authors offer classes on setting, dialogue, suspense, point of view, and openings. They tell how to write about private eyes, amateur sleuths, and police protagonists, and how to create thrillers and historical mysteries. Panels of detectives, forensic experts, police, and other crime-fighting professionals provide information that allows crime fiction writers to put realism in their work.

The collegial atmosphere of this four-day conference attracts participants and faculty from all over the country, many for repeat visits. Opportunities abound for faculty and participants to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas in classes, workshops, panels, and informal lunches.

For a full overview of the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference, check out Learning All the Clues!

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The 2017 Mystery Writers Conference faculty is an outstanding group of mystery writers, editors, agents, forensic experts, detectives, and teachers. Together, they will show you how to bring realism to your work and help guide you through the publishing process.

Meet the 2017 Faculty

There are many conferences where you can meet great writers, and you can certainly do a lot of that at the Book Passage Mystery Writers Confernece, but here you'll also do something more. The emphasis of this four-day conference is to show you what you need to do to become a successful mystery writer yourself.

Browse Our 2017 Schedule
(Please note this schedule is tentative and subject to change!)

Want to meet with a member of our faculty one-on-one? Optional 30-minute private consultations are available for $95. You may use that time to discuss a concept or proposal, or to have a faculty member review and provide feedback on a portion of a manuscript you have submitted. A list of faculty members available for consultations will also be made available prior to the conference.

Learn More About Private Consultations

Thinking of traveling from afar to learn the craft of mystery writing? No problem! We have some great recommendations for places nearby where you can rest and relax.

Accommodations 

Still have questions? We have answers!

Frequently Asked Questions

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2017 Conference Scholarships  

Two Mystery Writers Conference Scholarships will be awarded this year, including full conference tuition to the 2017 conference (travel and accommodations not included). To be considered, applicants must submit the first 10-20 pages of a mystery novel in progress, plus one paragraph about what this conference would mean to them in their writing life. The scholarships are sponsored by William C. Gordon, author of The Halls of Power and King of the Bottom, and Kimberley Cameron, founder of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Agency.

To apply, send the required materials to Kathryn Petrocelli at bpconferences@bookpassage.com.

Applications must be recieved by Friday, August 4, at 5:00 pm PST.

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Success Stories

"I attended two Mystery Writer's Conferences a few years back.  I hooked up with agent Liz Trupin Pulli and my mystery/thriller, Tropical Ice, was introduced at the Waterstreet Press booth at the 2016 Chicago Book Expo. The conference provided invaluable information and stimulated me to see the project through."
Ken Smith, San Rafael

"Before I learned about Book Passage’s classes and the Mystery Conference, the only creative writing I’d ever done were a couple of particularly imaginative IRS submissions at tax time. Sure, I was an avid mystery reader, but that didn’t translate to being a mystery writer anymore than being a gourmet means you know how to cook. So I decided to learn from the pros. Within a year I’d written my first novel, partnered with a well-known agent, and sold the book to Time Warner’s Mysterious Press...It’s been a great year of book tours, signings and getting to meet some terrific readers, librarians and booksellers. It also feels good to fulfill a fantasy I’ve been dreaming about for close to fifty years. I can stick to nonfiction for the IRS submissions now."
Louise Ure, Author of Forcing Amaryllis

"The conference bolstered my skills and helped me get published. You can’t beat the caliber or the inspiration."
– Cara Black, Author of Murder in the Latin Quarter

"I am a graduate of the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference who has since published three mysteries through St. Martin’s Press... My first mystery, Murder Off Mike, was published as the result of winning the St. Martin’s Press Best First Traditional Mystery Contest."
– Joyce Krieg, Author of Murder Off Mike

"I attended the conference twice, when I was learning how to write my first novel, and the faculty were so encouraging that I stuck with it. And now I've recently had my second novel published, signed a new book deal, and hit the USA Today bestseller list to boot. It's been a long and winding road, but a very fun one. Thank you for being part of the journey!"
- Gigi Pandian, Author of the Jaya Jones Series 

Read more conference success stories

Confirmed Faculty

Mystery writers John Lescroart, Michael Connelly, and Cara Black are just a few of the incredible names we've assembled for our faculty this year. Click here to see the full list! 

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Former Los Angeles prosecutor and current mystery writer Marcia Clark signs books at the 2011 Mystery Writers Conference.

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Pre-Conference Classes

These optional writing workshops are taught by David Corbett and Hallie Ephron on Thursday afternoon just prior to the conference. They are open to the public and available to confernece participants for a reduced fee.

David Corbett
The Deeper Mystery

Thurs., September 7, 2017, 1:00 - 3:30 pm

In this pre-conference class, award-winning author and conference co-chair David Corbett guides students through a number of techniques and thematic considerations to reach deeper into the material of their stories.

Hallie Ephron
Writing the Wave

Thurs., September 7, 2017, 1:00 - 3:30 pm

In this workshop, bestselling mystery writer Hallie Ephron will breakdown each element of the “ISAR” (Investigation, Suspense, Action, Reflection) wave, and show students how to construct scenes that end with a hook, grab readers, and move the story forward.

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An expert displays a hazmat suit at the 2004 Mystery Writers Conference.

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"The Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference offers the best program of panels and workshops in the mystery community."

– Joe Blades, Vice-President & Executive Editor, Ballantine Books

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Writer David Corbett leads a panel at the 2014 Mystery Writers Conference

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"Book Passage's annual Mystery Conference is the creme de la creme of gatherings for both aspiring and accomplished authors, offering a star faculty, real life connections to agents and editors, and the joy of time spent with those who understand why writers write."

Carolyn Hart, Author of Death Comes Silently

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