Nadine Little has been back out on her travels and has been visiting Edge-Lit 6 in Derby. So much happened over the day we’ve had to split her report on the day into three parts. You’ll find part 1 below the break.
Edge-Lit 6 Conference Part 1
My second writer’s event of the year, first convention. Touted as ‘one of the UK’s favourite science-fiction, fantasy and horror writing events’ it was certainly well-attended and featured numerous workshops, panels, readings and author Q&As. Pretty cheap at only £30 for the whole day, though a bit of a trek from my part of the world with a five hour train journey to the QUAD cinema in Derby where it was held.
The activities were spread throughout four different rooms in the QUAD, including the Sir John Hurt Cinema. It was a case of pick and choose what you wanted to do, with workshops signed up for on the day on a first-come first-served basis. They covered topics like writing short stories, overcoming writers’ block and using multiple character POVs. If workshops are what you’d be most interested in attending, I advise going early to sign up as each workshop only took about 13 people.
Clutching my goody bag of free books and feeling pretty confident after introducing myself to four random strangers (no trailing around after one person for me at this writing event!), I settled in for my first activity: a panel on the benefits of working with small and independent presses. The panel included people from two small presses (Fox Spirit and Pigeon Park Press) and two authors who worked with other independent presses. The main benefits discussed were:
- a willingness to take more risk in comparison with larger publishers;
- their accessibility (no need to go through an agent);
- the cooperative experience (authors have greater input on their work e.g. in terms of cover design, title, changes etc.); and
- a good place to start for debut authors aiming to get their work published and develop their career.
Disadvantages include a smaller market and marketing budget, no/little advance, less time to devote to each author/book (small presses are often run by hobbyists who also have day jobs), less likely to stock books in bookstores and the risk of signing with a poorly managed company offering low quality cover design, no editing or support etc. However, this last point can be avoided by doing your research, such as talking to authors who have worked with the publisher before. Overall, the experience of working with small presses seems to be a positive one. They offer a smaller, less commercial route to market but are still a way of becoming a published author.