EDGE-Lit 6

EDGE-Lit 6 was held on 15 July 2017 at the Derby QUAD, Derby, UK. EDGE-Lit is a popular science fiction, fantasy and horror writing event, offering workshops, panels, readings and book launches. Guests this year included well-known and not-quite-famous authors, notably Joanne Harris and Samantha Shannon. In additions there are dealers’ areas.
I attended panels on ‘Think Small: What are the Benefits of Working with Small and Independent Presses?’, ‘Epic! Why is High Fantasy Still Riding a Wave of Popularity? and ‘New Voices: How Hard is it to Break Into Fantasy Fiction?’ All offered interesting insights. I also attended a lively workshop with Anna Stephens on ‘Character POV’s – How Many is Too Many’ which revealed that most writers present used a modest number of close 3rd person narrators but one or two used a lot more.
Small press and self-publishers were well represented in the dealers’ rooms. As the scheduled programme was quite full I did not manage to look at everything. The day concluded with a book raffle (didn’t win) and the Gemmell Awards Ceremony, which I missed as I had a lengthy train journey.
In addition to the freebies in the Con goody bag, I bought Samantha Shannon’s ‘The Bone Season’, Tony Cooper’s ‘The Resurrection Tree’, ‘Myriad Lands’ a collection of diverse fantasy inspired by legends from around the world (Guardbridge Books) and C L Raven’s ‘Disenchanted’ a collection of recreated dark-fantasy tales. CL Raven are two lively sisters from Wales, dressed for this occasion in dark-fantasy costume. I had to buy their book after laughing aloud over the first lines.
In summary, I found this a worthwhile and enjoyable event. Everyone I met was a published writer, an aspiring writer or a writer/publisher.

Buckingham Literary Festival.

This ran from Fri 30 June to 2 July 2017. Venues were scattered around the town with most being at the University of Buckingham. I attended two events on the Sunday.
First impressions were not favourable. I arrived at the place identified by the postcode and had to ask where the Festival car park was. Then I had to ask (twice) for directions to the actual venue, which had been moved to a marquee. Signage was lacking. In the interval I had to ask twice for directions to the toilets, which were in a building in another street some way off.
How to Write Like a Pro with Judith Allnatt and AJ Mackenzie. This talk by an experienced author and a multi-book husband-wife team gave some useful guidance on how to go about creative writing, from start to finding an agent. I made various notes.
How to Publish Like a Pro with John Mitchinson and Sheila Crowley. The title of this talk was slightly misleading, as despite the write-up in the printed programme, self-publishing was not covered at all. John Michison runs Unbound, a crowd-funded publisher. This is an interesting concept – books are taken on subject to sufficient funds being raised via Unbound through crowd-funding. Figures mentioned were £4000 to launch an e-book and £11,000 to launch a hardcopy. (As an aside, one might comment that with figures like these, self-publishing authors should maybe just give up now.) Sheila Crowley is a successful agent, and her talk was mostly about best-sellers. The need for an author to find a good agent was stressed.