The post I have planned for later this month with deal with March’s theme of casting my books, but I’d specifically earmarked today to write about the conference I went to at the weekend.
As I’m in the UK, there’s a disappointing lack of conference for people that write what I write. The US seems to have an abundance of romance and related events, all of which I’d love to attend, but given that the plane fare alone would equate to me attending several UK conferences, I have to stick to this side of the pond.
Eroticon 2012 is the UK’s first conference for sex bloggers and erotic writers, and it was held in Bristol. I was delighted to be asked early on in the planning stages if I would give a talk on PR & Marketing, particularly since this meant my ticket would be free. 😉
As I mentioned before, there aren’t many events of this kind in the UK, so it’s great to be able to meet and get together with people that are in the same industry and of the same mindset. It’s also great to be able to meet people that you’ve only previously corresponded with via the internet. It promised to be an eventful day. And it certainly was…
I won’t bore you with the travel deals, but here’s a rundown of the day and 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.
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.
MY OVERALL THOUGHTS
It was a great event. There were elements that could have been better, and I did feel that it leaned slightly more towards sex bloggers than erotic writers (especially with the evening’s readings being cancelled), but it was worth it in terms of promoting my business, networking and spending time with some truly awesome people. So if you’re in the UK, or can get to the UK easily, then you should definitely keep your ear to the ground for next year’s conference, which is rumoured to be in London…