This question’s been coming up, so we thought we’d take a moment to discuss what happens at a trade show vs. a typical conference (or festival), because there is a difference in terms of who can attend, etc.
Merriam-Webster defines “trade show” as “a large gathering in which different companies in a particular field or industry show their products to possible customers.”
So, for example, at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance 40th Anniversary Discovery Show, September 18-20 in Raleigh, publishers will be staffing vendor tables hoping to showcase their books to nearly 300 bookstores. There are, of course, other events happening that weekend, including author talks and booksignings, but it’s an industry event and not open to the public.*
A “conference,” on the other hand, is a “formal meeting in which many people gather in order to talk about ideas or problems related to a particular topic (such as medicine or business) usually for several days,” again according to Merriam-Webster.
So at Bouchercon 2015, October 8-11 in Raleigh, more than 1,000 authors, fans, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, editors, and every other part of the community will get together for a fantastic four-day event—the world’s finest annual crime fiction festival. This conference is open to the public, if you register, and the North Carolina Writers’ Network will be there. We hope you come see us.
And we hope this helps answer some of y’all’s questions.
*Writers who register for “Indiependents Day” will be treated to a tour of the trade-show floor, something not offered to the public.