For those of you that missed my last post, I attended the first UK Indie Literary Festival, which was held in Bradford on Saturday.
I had no idea what to expect, and I have to confess I was rather giddy and excited in the days leading up to it (I apologise to family and friends for having to put up with me).
Miraculously, I didn't get lost on the drive over there, nor was I late (I am notorious for being late to everything. Sure, I'd been planning on getting there about 8am to set up for the 9am opening; and I got there about 8.30am, but I consider that a win).
The sun was shining as I drove to quite a picturesque part of Bradford, found parking and lugged my stuff into the hall with tables set out. After finding my table, I got to work making it look pretty.
As per usual, not everything went to plan.
I planned on ordering a banner to go on the front of the table, but I got the dimensions a teensy bit wrong and ended up with something too big for the average table. But I wasn't too bothered, it could always go on the wall behind me... except I was on a table in the middle of the hall - oops. I guess I'll have to save it for next time.
I also forgot the frames that I was going to use for my poster and pricelist.
Never mind, I bodged together something to support the poster out of cardboard, and it only looked shoddy from behind.
And then I waited.
I have to say, Dawn (D.M.) Singh and her team did an absolutely amazing job at putting this thing together. It is a true sign of a well-run event that it feels effortless.
Dawn's IndieArmy of helpers were running around all day providing refreshments for the public and authors, and always on hand to help or mind a book stand for a few minutes. Or even to talk when things were quiet - I felt sorry for Ciara, I must have bored her to tears with my rambling!
They deserve their own round of applause.
And after a few minutes of sitting still, I went to meet the rest of the authors, and to nosey at their stands.
There was such a wonderfully professional feel as you walked amongst the pop-up banners, carefully arranged books, gorgeous covers and very creative promotional material. I got excited about everything and have too many ideas about what I might do next time.
And the authors themselves were amazing, and very helpful. I love the fact that I have found myself in this group of authors that support one another, rather than feel like competition.
I spent ages chatting with Claire (C.R.) McBride and Claire Colley, and I was very envious of their marketing goodies.
Strolling round, I met a few authors that were new to me, and got to meet Roger Barton, Diana Jackson and Alex Brightsmith (who did these cool origami puppies from sheets of poetry).
I got to talk loads with Laura Morgan, she's been to quite a few of these events and gave me advice on selling books and how to talk to customers (selling horse feed for my day job is one thing; trying to sell myself as an author is completely different).
Joshua Sutton was also very helpful, recommending other events, and what he found had worked well in the past.
I got to meet a few that I have only been in contact with over reviews, and it was lovely to discuss the merits of snazzy covers and constructive criticism with Felicity Snowden.
I also got to chat to JG Clay about dark fiction and twisting the meaning of heroes and villains.
Now, as you seem to get in most schools, workplaces and general gatherings, there's the cool table. The UK Indie Lit Fest was no different, and most of the noise came from a certain group of authors that provided a lot of the afternoon's entertainment. These included: Caz (C.S.) Woolley; Maria Gibbs; Rose English #donttellSu; Chris Turnbull and Joseph Eastwood.
It's one of those things that's hard to explain, so I will just recommend checking out Joe's Facebook page instead.
I think it was their idea, during an afternoon lull, to take all the banners onto the street. All I can say is that we would make rubbish protestors.
Anyway, the Festival was over far too soon.
Did I sell lots of books? I'll be honest, no I did not. I sold a few, and there was a spike in free downloads over the last couple of days, which may or may not have something to do with it.
If I'm honest, I didn't sign up to a book fair in an attempt to make money, I don't think any of the authors did. We are Indie authors, and the emphasis is on making people aware of our books, not the money in our pockets.
But I am definitely encouraged to do more of these things, thanks to all the lovely people above.
Plus, I came away with goodies, and just when I was getting my reading list under control, it has now exploded.
I would recommend checking out the UK Indie Lit Fest website, which is still live; and don't forget the handy list of authors with buy-links on my last blog entry.
For more photos, head over to my Facebook page.
I would also like to remind you that the Indie Visible anthology by the attending authors is now available to download.
50% of profits will go to J.K.Rowling's children's' charity Lumos.