DYSPROSIUM 2015

We’ve had a hell of a weekend at Dysprosium in London. A huge extravaganza of all things wordy and we had an absolute blast.

Trader stands, author panels and a gathering of all manner of people who wanted to immerse themselves in the fun and games of their favourite books and characters.

This was our second convention of the year and very different to the first.

We were first and foremost going for the chance to meet Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files and The Codex Alera series, and listen to what he had to say about the writing world he inhabits.

The usual convention atmosphere of inclusion was certainly in place and everyone we spoke with was more than happy to chat and mingle. The convention allowed us to grab arm fulls of books which now we’ll have to try and find the time to actually read, a Hitchhikers Guide inspired teddy bear and I even managed to pick up a Dragon topped swagger stick – perfect for my author persona.

But, unlike every other convention I’ve attended, I was able to start looking at what was taking place with my author persona very much to the fore.

Listening to the likes of Jim Butcher, Charlie Stross, Sam Stone and Danie Ware talk about the details surrounding their genres, their planning and so many other nuggets of information, allowed me to look beyond the details of what I’ve been doing so far. Now I was starting to examine the reality of what I’d have to do when I step behind the table selling my books at one of these events.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to speak with one of the authors who was attending and running a launch for her latest novel. We discussed some of the more functional bits and pieces about what needs to take place at an event like that. Francesca Barbini was launching her latest book (check them out) and we did have a good chat about all kinds of things. She’s also involved in The Sci-fi & Fantasy Network and she and her partner even interviewed me about my book for the network. I’m going to send them a signed copy of my book for a giveaway.

All in all, this was a great convention which not only allowed us to investigate all the details of our fandom but it also gave me so very much more. As I’ve said previously, everyone really should give these events a try.

Right then, off to get my business cards ordered.

SPREADING THE WORD

I went to a convention last weekend. A convention of all things science fiction, from film and TV to books and comics including games, cosplay and all manner of other stuff.

This was the sixth year we’ve attended and we’ve had a blast each time. We get to see friends, party and explore all kinds of different things. Something my wife and I have done on each occasion has been to buy a great stock of novels to get stuck into over the next year and this year was no different.

Last year I gave the first Sam Spallucci novel from AS Chambers a whirl, along with a collection of short stories he’d put together. They were great. I really enjoyed the way he wrote and the characters and story were really compelling. This year I made a bee line for his stall ready to see what else he had on offer. Add to this Danie Ware and her Ecko books and last year was epic. But this year I was struck by the fact I had to consider the convention in a very different way.

Should I think about the possibility of attending an event like this with my writer hat on and sell my wares?

It really intrigued me, the thought of sitting on the other side of the table and speaking with people to spread the word about my work. I’m always keen to increase the sales figures, as would anyone, but I enjoy the opportunity to speak with people about the fantasy genre in general so having a chance to chat about my own stuff would be cool. It could give me the chance to spread my enthusiasm and interact with like minded individuals within the sci-fi convention environment and who knows, take that first step towards world domination.

All in all, I would be doing my best to increase revenue and acting with a desire to improve the business side of what I’m doing but all authors need to accept the fact that we could have a massive effect on someone through what we write. There could be that one person who identifies so utterly with your work that they will become your biggest fan, but they feel enhanced by what they’ve read.

We all have that moment where we were enveloped by a story or book or character and happily pay for every new work from a particular author. In part, my own moment of connection helped me start down the road to being a published author myself. Looking at what I could achieve from taking part in something of this kind just fills me with wonder. Speaking to people who may really enjoy what I have to say, who knows what inspiration could come along.

The final point I wanted to make as I thought about attending as a writer, was again how powerful an author attending an event can be. A few years ago I was lucky enough to see the mighty Terry Pratchett at a convention. He spoke passionately about writing and his work in general. He’d not long announced to the world about his ill health but he was ragingly determined not to stop writing. Everyone in the room was transfixed by what he had to say and it was clear that his words had touched a great many.

So far this year we’ve seen the loss of Mr Spock and the creator of Discworld. Two amazing people who have left the world a better place than when they arrived. Both spread the words they wanted and were happy to get their points across, knowing that business would take care of itself, as long as they could just spend time with others and share their passions. If I can attend an event and just talk to other people in any kind of way similar to these titans, maybe I can make sure we’re all spreading the words of the genres we love and having a great time doing it.