Yesterday I shared how Blogfest had inspired me, left me hungry and also mildly frustrated at some of the snide comments aimed at men. Today will be a much more positive post because we must not forget that there was much to love about Blogfest. Again, if you are not blogger then you may not want to read this, unless you have a need to know how my book pitch went and what happened when I drank fizz on an empty stomach.
I left yesterday’s post on nearly weeing on the floor in front of Tim from at Slouching Thatcham. This was after I spent the whole of the first talk shuffling in my seat because I was so desperate for the loo. Coffee and gallons of water mean that I have to pay a visit to the toilet at least once an hour. I can’t remember how I survived as a teacher! Anyway, I digress. After the first talk we had an opportunity to have a break. Again, I missed out on any decent food. Don’t worry I am not going to start moaning about my stomach again – it is the teacher in me. A teaching conference would always be rated according to the quality of morning snacks. This is because all teachers are very deprived in the staff-rooms in schools up and down the country. In a staff-room we are lucky if we can find a one year-old dry custard cream.
Nevertheless, I loved that Blogfest ensured that there were plenty of breaks for catching up with bloggers. I spent the morning break catching-up with lots of lovely bloggers including the very lovely and funny James who blogs at A Life Just Ordinary who despite the mild men-bashing was having a glorious time and really enjoying himself. I also saw Sunita from Lucky Things Blog. Sunita is such a wonderful person and all about instilling confidence in yourself. I hope to be able to attend her next Lucky Things meet-up.
After more chatting it was time for our next talk.
From pitch to publication day
This was a talk that I was hoping would provide me with some useful tips for my own pitch later. It was an interesting discussion. The panel was Will Francis, Kit De Waal, Sarah Perry, Sarah Turner (The Unmumsy Mum) and Sam Eades. It was reassuring to hear the perspectives of Sarah Perry and Kit De Waal who both studied for a Masters in Creative Writing and said that perhaps it isn’t always necessarily a good thing. I had completed a year of a Masters in Creative Writing but had to give it up due to costs so hearing their experiences made me feel a bit better. I loved hearing the different approaches the authors took to writing a book. The more extreme one being Sarah Perry who will literally live the book! However, the one who was of most interest was Sarah Turner who was approached via her blog to write a book. It sounded rather lovely to be unloading the washing machine (well not the housework) and then find that someone has contacted you via Facebook about writing a book.
A thought provoking talk that left me feeling motivated although I would have liked to have heard more about the author’s experiences.
Think bombs with Ed Balls, Lucy Porter and Bryony Gordon.
I had been hoping that Ed Balls would be there in person. This was not so I could boo him *cough* but alas he had his priorities wrong and was too busy rehearsing. I’m joking. He clearly agreed to do this because he believed that he would not be in Strictly Come Dancing. He has surprised us all by still being in there. Good for him. He very kindly recorded a think-bomb for us and whilst it was very interesting (about controlling his stammer) I felt that it lost some of its impact as he was unable to deliver it in person. However, having a massive Ed Balls projected onto a HUGE screen caused me to have a very startling revelation. Ed Balls clearly shaves his chest. Who knew? Now I need to know if this is purely for Strictly or something he has always done.
Lucy Porter did a fantastic job at being a last minute replacement for Sally Phillips. She gave a really inspiring talk about being careful not to judge school mums at the school gate. Then Bryony Phillips gave a powerful think bomb on Pure OCD, which is something that she lives with. It was a very brave talk to give and one that very nearly moved me to tears.
The book pitch – Dragon’s Pen
After the think bombs was lunch. However, lunch was a slightly nervous affair for me as I was very aware that I had a book pitch coming up. I was very lucky as a lovely fellow blogger (not sure if she would want me to reveal her name) had let me know that she had cancelled her slot. Therefore, the day before I had been able to nab a slot. I wasn’t going to do it. It was very last minute and I knew that I wouldn’t really have time to prepare for it. However, if I can take one thing from this year, then it is that we should say “yes” more. I might have regretted this positive thinking as I lined up to go inside, clasping my hastily written pitch. Also outside was the super stylish Jane who blogs at Turning up in Devon I should have asked her tips on how to pitch but instead I was too busy admiring her very lovely shoes. Then the door opened and out came the last lot of pitches, all looking slightly-ashen faced and dazed. This did not bode well. To put this into perspective we had 5 minutes to pitch our book and find out if they thought it was a good idea.
It was then our turn. We all shuffled inside and found our person and table. I was pitching to the lovely Marleigh Price and I was relieved to find that she wasn’t like a dragon you see on the Dragon’s Den. She was approachable and had a smile on her face. I immediately started cracking inappropriate jokes about this being like speed dating and spent the next and possibly most surreal 5 minutes of my life talking about my novel. Then there was some grilling about plot, characters etc and then her verdict. She thought it sounded really good. Asked me how much I had written and told me what I needed to do next. Instructions that I promptly forgot in the excitement of it all. I now feel incredibly excited that someone has validated my novel but obviously they might come to read it and think that it is rubbish. This is very likely, actually. There is also one small problem. A couple of weeks ago in a rage, let’s call it an artistic rage, I deleted the opening chapters of my novel. I know. I now need to start all over again and get it written and quickly too. As a result it is very likely that I maybe blogging a little less.
Again, I am writing far too much and I still haven’t finished. Come back tomorrow to hear what I thought about the remaining talks, what other bloggers I spoke too and to find out what happened when I hit that free bar.
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