Q. What is ThrillerFest?
ThrillerFest is the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers. This unique, popular, and rapidly expanding organization was created in 2005 by several bestselling authors in order to bring thousands of writers, readers, publishers, producers, editors, and agents together to promote and support thriller authors everywhere.
The ThrillerFest conference has six main components: Master Class, CraftFest, QueryFest, PitchFest, ThrillerFest, and the Awards Banquet.
- Master Class provides an educational workshop for aspiring writers, debuts, and midlist authors where they gain advanced training from the masters of craft in an intimate, day-long training session.
- CraftFest showcases bestselling authors and subject matter experts who kindly offer their advice and assistance to advance attendees’ writing techniques. There is also a CareerFest track under this heading, which helps educate attendees about the business aspects of the publishing industry.
- QueryFest offers instant feedback on a query letter or first two pages of a manuscript by an industry expert.
- PitchFest pairs writers with agents, producers, and editors, providing an opportunity for attendees to pitch their manuscripts.
- ThrillerFest proper, the final two days of the conference, provides readers with an opportunity to network with authors—everyone from debuts to bestsellers. Expect innovative panels, spotlight interviews, and workshops to educate and inspire.
- The Thriller Awards Banquet honors the year’s ThrillerMaster, Silver Bullet Award recipient, Thriller Legend, Thriller Fans, and Thriller Award winners.
Find out more about this exciting five-day thriller extravaganza by browsing our website at www.thrillerfest.com.
Q. Why is ThrillerFest always in New York City?
New York City is the home of the American publishing industry. Bestselling authors, editors, agents, publishers, and publicists can walk or taxi to the convention from their offices to meet with readers, writers, debut, and established authors, which makes them far more likely to participate in ITW’s extraordinary program of events.
ThrillerFest organizers recognize that if the venue moved from New York City, far fewer of the industry movers and shakers would be able to attend this unique conference. Although the expense is higher for attendees, the quality of ideas, advice, and assistance is far greater in comparison to other conferences designed with economics, sandy beaches, or other criteria in mind. This conference is all about connecting writers and readers with the best talent in our industry, which is why ThrillerFest will remain in New York City.
Q. How do I get to the hotel from the airport?
LaGuardia is a nine-mile cab ride from the hotel at about $50 (plus tip) round trip or take an Uber/Lyft. Similar deals are offered from Kennedy and Newark airports.
Q. How do I register for ThrillerFest and what options should I consider?
Registering for ThrillerFest is easy. Simply go to Registration on the ThrillerFest website and choose from a menu of options. There are four main events (plus a banquet) that celebrate thrillers, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them. The sessions include:
- Master Class: An extraordinary opportunity for authors to meet and learn from the best in the industry during a full day of teaching and a critique of a writing sample. This session will take place on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.
- CraftFest: A host of industry experts and teachers help authors improve their craft and assist in advancing their careers in hour-long sessions throughout the day Wednesday and Thursday morning.
- QueryFest: A career must! New writers and emerging novelists gain access to industry professionals for advice on their first two pages, their query, and their synopsis.
- PitchFest: An incredible opportunity for writers to pitch their manuscripts to over 60 top agents, producers, and editors on Thursday afternoon. (Note: Registration for PitchFest is an additional cost to either CraftFest, Master Class, or ThrillerFest and cannot be purchased as a stand-alone event.)
- ThrillerFest: A wonderful opportunity to meet the most successful thriller authors in the world, starting with the Opening Night Cocktail Party on Thursday evening, and continuing with panels, interviews, and signings on Friday and Saturday.
- The Thriller Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, which is an added feature on the registration options, provides attendees with an opportunity to celebrate authors recognized by their peers for their exceptional work. This is an amazing experience for both readers and authors and should not be missed.
Various attendance packages are available. Day passes are available for CraftFest and ThrillerFest.
Q. Who are this year’s ThrillerMasters and Spotlight Guests?
The schedule for this year’s special guests includes:
- 2023 ThrillerMaster Charlaine Harris
- 2023 ThrillerMaster Walter Mosley
- 2023 Spotlight Guest Jack Carr
- 2023 Spotlight Guest Oyinkan Braithwaite
- 2023 Silver Bullet Award Michael Connelly
- 2023 Thriller Legend Minotaur Books
- 2023 Thriller Fans John Berylson
Q. Several panels are scheduled at the same time. Can I go to all of them?
Several panels take place concurrently. The attendees are encouraged to enjoy any of the sessions for as long as they’d like. By leaving a door open in the back of the room, the attendees are welcome to come and go to any of the sessions throughout the day. Stay as long as you wish. Visit as many as you’d like. If you miss a workshop, the MP3 for that session will be available to purchase online on the ThrillerFest website.
Q. What is the awards banquet all about?
On Saturday, June 3, 2023, we will welcome everyone to the 18th annual banquet where we will honor 2023 ThrillerMasters Charlaine Harris and Walter Mosley, present the Thriller Awards, and offer other entertainment. We also host a cocktail party before the dinner and an after-party following the dinner. During the banquet, the key individuals who make this organization work are introduced. Highlights include hearing from our ThrillerMasters and finding out who wins the coveted Thriller Awards, which are given every year for the best thriller books in hardcover, paperback original, debut, e-book original, and other categories. The nominees for each category for the 2023 Thriller Awards will be posted on the ThrillerFest website by March 2023. A special thanks to Tosca Lee, the VP of Awards, and all the volunteers who read, judge, and choose the winners.
Q. Do I have to dress up?
You certainly don’t have to dress up. Some people wear jeans or other casual clothes. But the vast majority of folks do dress up. Most men wear suits and ties, and a few wear tuxes. Most women wear cocktail dresses, and some wear gowns or pantsuits. It’s an opportunity to look as good as you feel, and most people take advantage. Again, there’s no dress code but be forewarned that only a few will dress casually.
Q. What is ITW?
ITW, International Thriller Writers, is an organization that represents professional thriller authors from around the world. ITW is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as thrillers. This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, romantic suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and a myriad of similar subject areas.
ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education, and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.” ITW By-laws: Article II, Purposes, Section 2.
One of the main purposes of the organization is to provide an opportunity for successful, bestselling authors to help debut and mid-list authors advance their careers. To that end, ITW has designed numerous programs and events that promote debut and mid-list writers and their work, sometimes in partnership with the masters in the field. In addition, ITW promotes literacy, supports libraries, and advances the thriller genre. Finally, it brings together almost a thousand writers, readers, publishers, producers, editors, and agents at its annual conference, ThrillerFest; as well as at CraftFest, a writing workshop program; and PitchFest, where aspiring authors pitch top literary agents, producers, and editors.
ITW represents over 5,000 authors in 49 countries with 3.2 billion books (are these numbers accurate?) in print. Join ITW today!
Q. When is ThrillerFest, the annual conference for ITW?
The event is held at the same place and time each year, in New York City during Memorial Day week. New York City is the hub for the publishing industry in the United States and provides a convenient and accessible venue.
This year, ThrillerFest will be held from May 30 – June 3, 2023, in New York City, New York, United States of America. The NEW hotel for ThrillerFest is the Sheraton Times Square at 811 7th Avenue, W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019 (212) 581-1000. The conference hotel is conveniently located between Times Square and Central Park, offering tranquil rooms and excellent dining options.
Q. How can I better manage my budget for ThrillerFest?
Spending time with the very best in the business is worth the investment of attending ThrillerFest. Our attendees are important customers of the Sheraton Times Square and they treat us accordingly by offering ThrillerFest discounts. Find a roommate for the Sheraton’s double rooms so you’ll both enjoy the incredible amenities at a lower price. Experience the myriad food options in Times Square while enjoying the hustle and bustle of New Yorkers.
Q. Tell me about ThrillerFest, the two days for readers and fans.
ThrillerFest kicks off on Thursday night at the Opening Cocktail Party, then runs all day Friday and Saturday straight through to the banquet. Although it is a traditional conference in that the days are filled with author panels covering a variety of subjects, the nights are spent at cocktail parties and special events. ThrillerFest is unique in that many of the most successful authors attend and make themselves available to talk, sign autographs, and simply get to know fans.
Many readers attend the two-day event, as well as authors, agents, publishers, editors, the media, and other industry icons. One of the highlights of the conference is the one-on-one interviews with the famous authors who are our ThrillerMasters and Spotlight Guests. Coffee and soft-drink breaks are sponsored by a variety of publishers and organizations who use this opportunity to promote their books and authors. The official release of the ITW anthologies and other special publications are part of the conference.
Fans enjoy the countless opportunities to connect with their favorite authors at panels and interviews, in the book room, at the bar, at the many sponsored events, and during signings.
Q. How do I meet the debut authors or find authors who are new to me?
Not only do we host the Debut Author Class breakfast, a significant part of our programming on Friday and Saturday is dedicated to fifty-minute panels, where authors discuss different thriller-related topics. Panels are moderated by authors’ peers and the spontaneous answers are often fun and interesting.
Whether the authors are new to the industry or new to you, the panels afford an opportunity for readers to meet your favorite writers. The generous manner in which ITW authors make themselves available allows for individual interaction with attendees. Panel topics and participating authors are listed on the schedule.
Q. How are the panelists chosen for ThrillerFest?
Authors who are ITW Members sign up for the event and check the box at registration indicating their interest in being on a panel. While the organizers cannot guarantee placement on a panel due to the overwhelming number of ITW authors interested in being on one, Kimberley Howe will submit the author’s name to the panel committee, who do their best to accommodate all ITW authors.
Q. When is the schedule of authors and subjects posted, so I know where I should be?
As time draws near to our event, the schedule for ThrillerFest will be posted on the website. Check back regularly for details.
Q. Who are the people running this event?
Jeff Ayers and Christianna Mason are the Co-Executive Directors of ThrillerFest. They are amazing and handle the day-to-day challenges of making this event happen. They work closely with Kimberley Howe – Executive Director of ITW; Nick Openshaw – Social Media Director; Dennis Kennett – Registrar; Tessa Wegert & Samantha Skal – Co-Directors of PitchFest; and Kirsche Romo – QueryFest Director. They work under the direction of the ITW board of directors, the talented authors who continue to find ways to make this event a wonderful experience for writers and readers alike.
There are more than a dozen volunteer committee chairs who handle everything from event planning to marketing to selling ads in the program books to getting the posters in the right place at the right time. Be sure to volunteer when you come to ThrillerFest, as it’s a great way to meet people. Authors should keep in mind that the goal of ITW is helping others advance their career, so it’s important to volunteer and assist others throughout the conference.
Q. Are there two cocktail parties, one before and one after the Awards Banquet?
On Saturday night before the banquet, attendees join the cocktail party held outside the banquet hall. After the awards banquet, the event shifts the venue to an after-party—and everything is included in the price of the banquet registration. It’s a tremendous evening of fun and excitement and an incredible opportunity to spend time with your favorite authors.
Tickets for the Thriller Awards Banquet must be purchased separately from other events and can be purchased through Registration on the ThrillerFest website.
Q. Is the Thriller Awards Banquet the last event of the conference?
The five-day event ends with the post-banquet cocktail party Saturday night where you can say your goodbyes until next year.
Q. Where do I sign up?
Register for any and all events for the ThrillerFest week on the website: www.thrillerfest.com. Click on ‘Registration’. We’d love to see you there. Thank you for reading!
Faye and Jonathan Kellerman*
Larry D. Thompson
J. Jackson Bentley
Jack F. Du Brul*
Eric Van Lustbader*
D. P. Lyle M.D.*
Michael Palmer (2004-2013)*
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Susan Arnout Smith
Jennifer S. Wilkov
B. J. Daniels
Vince Flynn (2004-2013)*
Bonnie Hearn Hill*
Harley Jane Kozak
Dennis Lynds (2004-2005)*
Carl T. Smith*
M. Diane Vogt*
Inkwell Management, LLC*
*original member joined by June 4, 2005