The mathematics is simple. Only 4 books sold, and one magazine. I gave away a bunch of Escape Velocity magazines as promo to interested Con attendees. There were hundreds of science fiction but mostly fantasy fans that crowded the Britannia Hotel on James Street, Nottingham. It’s a grand hotel with sweeping stairs, large rooms and galleries. Showing its age a little but that adds to its charm. I stayed mainly in a large room decorated with cloth-covered tables on which booksellers displayed their wares like in medieval Nottingham. Our wares were books, magazines, small sculptures and art pieces. I shared my table with Steve Upham’s Screaming Dreams. Although my Exit, Pursued by a Bee came out this summer as did Allyson Bird’s book, it was hers that got the successful launch. One of the problems of having an overseas small press as publisher is their British authors can’t easily have a launch. Allyson did a reading of her excellent anthology, Bull Running for Girls, and there were posters for it all over the hotel. Tip to Nelder: in future put up posters and scatter flyers. I did bring two hundred flyers on friday afternoon and was told they’d be put in the goody bags everyone receives, but my goody bag didn’t have one, so I don’t know where they went to.
FantasyCon, like other conventions are excellent for networking with other like and unlike-minded people. Neil Marr, the publisher of BeWrite Books told me to say hello to John Grant aka Paul Barnett for him. John is a legend with many awards to his name. His father Christmas beard and hair and high wit makes him a beacon. After a brief chat during which he was impressed Neil had read his Dragons of Manhattan new release, John bought a signed copy of my Exit! Highlight of the day – one of them. A Bewrite cover artist is Steve Upham who also is a cover artist for Twisted Tongue magazine and ezine, and they’d last week accepted my short story, Brothers’ Largesse, a parody on the Big Brother reality phenomenon as applied to the planet. Twisted Tongue publishes poems by Catherine Edmunds who is friend to Kay Green, who occupied the dealer’s table just behind me!
I was intrigued by flyers all over the convention advertising a fantasy event in my home city of Chester next June. I found one at a table for drinks I shared with a Newcastle woman with a terrific literary style in our Orbeters groups - Jenny Adams (highlight 2). It was only when I got home that I looked them up. Aetherica is run by a group one of which is the lovely redheaded Rachael Livermore. We are now facebook friends but she and her friends were at FantasyCon! Tip2 for Nelder: don’t be shy slow in introducing yourself to folk. Tip3: remember Tip1.
Another highlight was meeting up with two new authors from small press Bloody Books. Meat is a grimly fascinating book by Joseph D’Lacey that makes Soylent Green feel like half a premise. Joseph is a great character, courageous and forthright, just like his book. Bill Hussey was there too with his Through a Glass Darkly. I enjoyed that book too – anyone who likes travelling in the mysterious ghostly dimensions would. Thanks for the chat lads. We thought I might get more sales if I changed my name to Goff van Nelder.
Highlight # 3 or is it 4 was having a langorous chat on literary style with the delicious Suzanne McLeod
It was only when I followed up a discussion with Rachael Livermore of Aetherica that I found out she had a camera taken overnight. My cash float, Ally’s posh signing pen, and books walked off on their own and a projecter was pilfered. Umm – not by attendees we think. The main feeling from the con was one of positve contacts and a boost to each other’s creativity.