Friday 21 October 2016


I've just read a really interesting blog article from Fox Spirit Books on the subject of writers promoting their work at cons, or more specifically on not being afraid to.

I agree there's a general feeling, at least in the UK, that it's only acceptable for a writer to reference their own work during a con panel in very small doses, and not say, more than 3 or 4 times overall, unless actually invited to.
I've pretty much subscribed to this approach, reasoning that the audience don't sit there for an hour to listen to someone boasting about how good their book is; that doing so is more likely to be counterproductive and put people off.

But maybe that's me, who always assumes other people don't really want to hear about what I'm doing and get uncomfortable doing it. On holiday recently I had real trouble talking about my work for long, even when people went out of their way to ask questions.

But Fox propose that audiences come to hear about such stuff, and a decent writer/speaker should talk about their work until they feel uncomfortable, that being the warning sign it's time to stop. Interesting?

I thought so, and it fell on receptive ears anyway because I had just contacted the fine people on the Bristolcon panel, 'Under the Covers' which I'm moderating.

[Bristolcon 2016, Saturday 29th October, Doubletree Hotel for anyone who isn't already booked - a seriously nice con folks]

What had I just said to them? That it would make a nice change to ask them to just plain recount the real life stories behind their book covers rather than answer more general questions on the topic as is usual.

Yay, someone else out there is thinking the same way for once. I'm feeling pretty good.

Only then...
I read a snippet about Nigel Farage, he of the so-British name. Apparently he's just invited BBC2 to follow him around and film his 'return to normal life'.
To be clear, I'm not surprised that he did this, that he wants to stay in the limelight; it's obviously the thing he craves most. And maybe he's feeling the need to repair the BIG error he made endorsing Trump - was he planning to become a celeb in the USA instead?
But that the BBC said yes? Now that does surprise me. Why? The guy's ostensibly retired from public life [hurray] and yuk politics apart he's not that interesting.
Though I guess this is the age of the celebrity, where surface remains more attractive to the media than substance. And I guess it's cheap television, right?

So here I am back on the fence; is talking about yourself [all right, what you do] a good thing or a bad thing?

Maybe it depends on who's doing it, and how, and how much. Or maybe, Mr Farage, it's better to wait to be asked first?

Saturday 1 October 2016

Don't Look a Gift Voucher in the Mouth?

Just a short note, cos I need to say this, and I probably won't stop feeling annoyed till I do.

I got an email from East Midands train service that offered me TEN PERCENT OFF my train bookings. It looked good. I had used them recently, so there was reason for them to want me to return?

I decided to use the offer to book my train tickets to and from Bristolcon at the end of October, while I thought about it. After all, it's not far off now. [Anyone else going?]

So I followed the link and checked train times etc. and found the price: £75.00 approximately. Hmm, ten % off that...

I reached the payment stage; it still said £75.00. Had they already discounted it? I hadn't seen any mention.

Feeling curious, I went to a rival supplier's site. Their - not discounted - price for the same journey: £75.00!!!!!!!!!!!!

How would you feel? Rest assured I'll be checking all future special offers. And may never use that train service site again.

But maybe I'll see some of you in Bristol on the 29th when I'm smiling again? It's a very pleasant con, and I'm doing stuff too.