It was 5.30am when my alarm went off, resulting in a “Uhhhnnnerrr!” type noise from me. I am sooo not a morning person. However, I was getting up early for a good reason – it was time for Eroticon 2012! It seemed like it had been in my diary for ages and that the date would never arrive – but it did. So off I went to the train station for my 6.59am train, convinced I’d forgotten something, and terrified that I’d fall asleep on the first train and miss my connection, which would have left me stranded in Reading. However, I needn’t have worried. Fear kept me awake, and I successfully changed trains at Birmingham New Street, where I found Victoria Blisse and we settled in and nattered the entire way to Bristol Temple Meads train station (which, if you’re interested in that kind of thing, is a beautiful building). A quick taxi ride took us to Armada House, and then it was time for the day to begin!
We got there without too much time to spare before the first panel, and so after dumping our bags and grabbing our name tags and goodie bags, there was only time for quick hellos to Paul and Matt from House of Erotica, Kay Jaybee, K D Grace, Hazel Cushion and some others I’m sure I’ve forgotten before heading into the main room for the official conference welcome. Then it was time to check out the day’s schedule (which I’m glad I did, because it had been updated since I’d last printed it out!) and decide where to go, and when. Here’s a rundown of the panels/sessions I attended:
Going indie, self-publishing by MK Elliott
Although I’ve already self-published some titles, I certainly don’t profess to know everything, and so happily attended this session to find out what MK Elliott had to say. I’m very glad I did. Naturally there was information that I knew already, but there were some things I didn’t, and of course it’s always useful to hear other people’s experiences of things. MK Elliott was confident, knowledgeable and highlighted the main points of her talk with a PowerPoint presentation. She also happily answered questions and I came away feeling as though I’d learned something – and conversations with other attendees confirmed that they did, too.
Writing Workshop by Maxim Jakubowski
From the title of this session, I was expecting that we’d be doing something interactive and hands on, and so had my notebook and pen at the ready. Instead, this was a discussion led by Maxim which covered his career, the different genres he writes in, censorship and many more topics which affect the erotica and erotic romance writing genre. There were many questions from the audience, which he answered fully and usefully, and although as I said, the session wasn’t what I expected, it was certainly informative and interesting.
Convincingly Queer with Aisling Weaver and Josephine Myles
This was probably my favourite session of the day (with the exception of mine, of course!). Aisling and Josephine ran a session on how to write stories about things that you don’t necessarily have any experience of. For example, if you’re a different gender, sexuality or have different kinks. This included tying up and blindfolding members of the audience, discussing research methods and books, figuring out if certain pieces of writing were penned by men or women, and much more! It was a fun, laid back session and I came away with plenty of food for thought!
Publishers’ Panel with Maxim Jakubowski, Hazel Cushion, Monique Roffey, Paul Andrews and Richard Eadie
This was a lively panel with publishers and published authors – as well as people who have stradded both sides of that particular fence. Ruby started with asking some questions that had previously been sent to her, then it was opened up to the floor. Topics covered included what publishers would like to see more of (Victorian spanking, unusual fetishes), some chat on the PayPal debacle and how they’re censoring what people can read, whether you should write for the market or write what you want to write, whether erotica writers should use pseudonyms and more. There were some varying opinions, which made for interesting viewing, and again, I came away with lots to think about.
Marketing your Work with Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse
Ah… yes. That would be me. Victoria and I dashed upstairs after the Publishers’ Panel to get set up for our session, desperately hoping that we’d get a good turn out, particularly as we were at the same time as two other sessions. Much to our relief, by the time we’d sorted out the laptop and projector, got our presentation up on screen and marvelled at the fact it had a remote control, the room was filling rapidly. That worry over, we waited patiently for any stragglers, then began. As marketing and promotion is such a huge topic, we couldn’t cover everything, so we centred in on blog tours, with me providing the “marketer” side of things, and Victoria filling in from the “author” perspective. There was lots of nodding and taking notes from the audience, then we opened up questions. The audience didn’t want to talk at first, but once they started, they didn’t want to stop! Luckily, Victoria and I were well equipped to handle the questions and there was some interesting discussion before we had to wrap it up. Not, however, before we gave a pimp to the Smut by the Sea anthology and encouraged people to come and grab some business cards! I had a few people express interest in my services (don’t be rude, I’m talking PR & Marketing here), as well as meeting some people that I’d chatted to via email and even worked for without ever having met them! I felt it was a really positive session and would definitely do it again. So, Ruby, if you want a similar session for Eroticon 2013, you know where I am! 😉 Also, special thanks go to Victoria Blisse for being my partner in crime. You rock.
Sacred Kink with London Fairie and Lori Smith
This was a spanking demonstration set to music. Honestly, I’m not sure what else to say about it. It was an eye-opening, new experience which resulted in Lori Smith getting a very red bottom, and sparked lots of questions and comments from the audience. I came away having seen something new.
Much to my disappointment, the author readings were cancelled due to timing, but the raffle draw went ahead. Attendees won sex furniture, sex toys, vouchers, and lots of lots of books. Ruby then closed with a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors, speakers and attendees. Unfortunately for me, the only alcohol on hand was wine, so I was ready by this point to go out and eat and nab myself some vodka, which was soon remedied.
The After Party
Ah, the “after parties” are often my favourite parts of such get togethers. It means we all get to chat about things in general and get to know one another. Sadly, as we left the venue a couple of the original party dropped out due to illness or having to get home, but myself, Victoria Blisse, Lily Harlem, K D Grace, Jacqueline Brocker, Josephine Myles and Maxim Jakubowski soldiered on and ended up in Gourmet Burger Kitchen where we ate a delicious meal and probably had people listening to our conversation. I don’t blame them. We were talking about all facets of erotic fiction, sex furniture, reviews, publishers, pseudonyms, the difference in the US and UK markets, and much more.
On leaving the restaurant, myself, Victoria Blisse, K D Grace, Lily Harlem and Josephine Myles headed back to our hotel – where we’d been told there was a 24 hour bar. This wasn’t strictly true (apparently only soft drinks were 24 hour), but we managed to get in a few swift drinks before Josephine had to leave. And then there were four. Since we were all staying in the same place, we didn’t have to worry about getting anywhere other than to our rooms, so when a very loud, drunk moron started singing at the top of his voice in the bar, we went up to mine and Victoria’s room and continued the conversation. I won’t divulge all of our girly chat, but needless to say we talked lots about writing, the industry, future plans, and more. So beware – we’re planning to take over the world! 😉
We finally fell into bed around 2.30am (separate beds, before you get all excited), and due to more loud, drunk morons I couldn’t sleep right away, but I finally dozed off until around 8am when it was time to have breakfast and hit the road. I had a lonely train journey this time, so I plotted a novella on the train up to Birmingham New Street, where my beloved picked me up (though not before me dashing into WHSmith’s and seeing K D Grace’s The Initiation of Ms Holly and Explicit Encounters, which contains one of my stories, on sale) and took me home.
I fell into bed very early and slept like a log. Today, though, I find the events and information swirling around my head, and keep grinning when I remember certain things – particularly some of the late night girly conversation and plans for the future. I met so many new people (and spent more time with people I already knew) that I can’t possibly name them all, but if you’re reading this and we met and chatted – hello! 😀 I hope you had as good a time as I did.
It was a fab weekend – and I can’t wait until the next one! 😉 Thanks and well done to Ruby Kiddell for pulling it all together!
P.S. I was so busy that I didn’t end up taking any photos, but the professional photographer will be supplying them to Ruby very soon, so check out the official website or Twitter feed for more information.