Last Saturday I attended the UK Meet, a get-together for fans and writers of MM / FF, GLBT. It was the first time I’d really attended anything like it, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d already had some involvement with the organisers as I contributed to both anthologies that were put together for the meet, British Flash and Tea and Crumpet, but other than that I had no idea what to expect.
Luckily, my buddy Victoria Blisse was in attendance so I knew one person, at least! Us Northern birds would stick together. My OH kindly offered to play taxi, so we collected Ms. Blisse from Milton Keynes train station and the fun began! We got to the venue in plenty of time, which was fine because it gave us more time for chinwagging, which we’re ohhh, so very good at.
A while later, more and more people started to arrive and proceedings began. We all stood up in turn and gave a brief introduction of ourselves and whether we were readers, writers or both. Then there was some general chatter and we broke for lunch which gave us time to eat, of course, and also to talk and mingle with people. Victoria introduced me to Serena Yates, who I’d previously corresponded with by email, but was happy to meet and found her a delight to chat with. I chatted to a few others and had my fill of naughty foods, checked out the promo goodies on the table and generally soaked up the atmosphere.
After lunch, Ms. Blisse herself chaired a panel on writer’s block, which was fabulous. In her usual chatty, friendly and humorous style, Victoria made her points in a fun way and had us all giggling. And very good points they were too – she made several suggestions on how to beat writer’s block, but rather than repeating them all, I’ll direct you to her blog post where she’s done a recap.
Next up were Total-E-Bound, who gave a fabulous presentation and basically consolidated my previous conceptions of them (which were very good) and made me even more eager to work with them. Claire and Heidi were very friendly and approachable, but also know what they’re talking about and give the impression of a company that knows what they’re doing and are eager to please both their authors and their customers. I look forward to visiting with them in September when they’re hosting an open day.
Following on from Total-E-Bound were a trio of historical writers, Erastes, Charlie Cochrane and Alex Beecroft, who gave excellent tips on writing historicals. Comments included the importance of research, not needing to go into silly amounts of detail, information on dialogue and dialect and more. I haven’t really considered writing a historical before, mainly because the idea of all the research and getting facts wrong frightens the life out of me, but the three writers on the panel certainly made it seem less daunting. So, never say never!
Clare London was up next, talking promo – my favourite! She made lots of very valid and interesting points on websites, Twitter, Facebook, forums and more. What I liked was her way of using visual aids to break up the presentation and also bring in a bit of humour and talking points. I know lots of people find promo daunting (hence setting up my business!) but Clare reminded people that it can be done, and successfully!
We ran out of time for the previously arranged panels, but I would say that the ones that did happen were informative and useful, and people definitely took things away from it. We were encouraged to ask questions which opened up discussion to the whole room and as a result, many ideas were thrown about. I certainly have some food for thought.
A mass signing session wrapped up the day for me, where I passed my contributor copy of Tea and Crumpet around to get it signed by the other authors and then had to dash to get lovely Victoria back to the train station on time.
Despite the fact the majority of the writers in attendance were m/m, I still felt the day was worth it for me. So much of the information was relevant to writing in general, and not specific genres, that it wouldn’t have mattered what I wrote.
Overall, it was a very positive experience for me, and I’d definitely like to attend next year’s meet, if they’ll have me!