A Tale of Two Talks


I’ve given two readings recently: the first at Dysprosium (the 66th Eastercon) and another in Moseley. The first was for a friend’s book, Touchstone by Andy Conway (well worth a look) leading into a discussion about Indie Publishing, and the second was to promote the Festival of Writing on Sun 26th April in Moseley’s Prince of Wales pub for the Pow-wow writing group. I read my own work for that one. By co-incidence, Andy Conway’s time travelling saga is set in and around Moseley and has a few scenes in the Prince of Wales, both today and at various points in the past.

At both I had a box of books, Andy’s and my own, for sale.

I didn’t sell any.

Of course, this isn’t that surprising; the audience for both talks were all fellow writers intent on selling their own books (or writing their own books and then selling ‘em).

I remember flying at the Edinburgh Fringe and realising that the utterly packed Royal Mile was full, absolutely full, of actors, directors, stage hands and so on, all trying to sell their show to others who were trying to sell their show. There were no punters at all. People were agreeing to swap flyers. It was an exercise in getting rid of flyers, not in selling tickets.

The audience at both talks enjoyed them, I think (I hope), and that’s what it was all about. There may be another indie author created by the first talk eventually. I’m not sure we sold the Festival of Writing at the second one as such, everyone was going to go anyway. It was another flyer swap experience as we were all already in the same show.

I’m looking forward to the Festival of Writing (it was the Birmingham LitFest until Writing West Midlands created another one and nicked the name), but they don’t appear to have any programme items on Indie Publishing. To my mind, you can’t discuss publishing today without reference to this revolution. My talk at Eastercon was preaching to the converted as it was full of indies, and again it was flyers for those with flyers.

I should really have swapped the talks over: sold the festival to Eastercon, Indie Publishing to the festival crowd… and worn a different shirt.


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