So there went Eastercon. Over a week later and I am only just recovered from my immature excesses. But what a blast! It was so good to see so many friends, old and new, and I even got to a few panels this year.
Friday, a typical pre-con mania descended on Ivy House as Del and I tried to get ourselves packed up, Scarlet tied up in a bow and delivered to her grandparents, and Drake – our big fat black lab – taken care of. At last, we were on the road to Bradford and very pleasantly surprised to find it only took us an hour and a half to reach our hotel. Unfortunately this turned out to be in the town centre, with the con hotel being located several miles away on the city’s outskirts. Immediately on entering the doors though, we met up with the ever cheerful Mr Ian Whates, who was kind enough to act Easter bunny with a lovely box of chocolates. At reception, we bumped into Deborah J Miller, writer, Wonderlands extraordinaire, and administrator of the David Gemmell Awards (http://gemmellaward.com) which are taking place on the 19th of June at the Magic Circle Headquarters. After checking into our room – a weirdly small deluxe twin which required some sort of swift footed ballroom dance to take place every time Del and I needed to pass one another – we found ourselves installed in the bar with Deborah, her beautiful daughter Tiff, and Mr Ian Watson.[more]
Next port of call was Eastercon itself at The Cedar Court Hotel. The set up this year was very sociable, with the main bar having a decent amount of seating (even though a certain horror writer stole my seat as I was about to sit down, leaving me stood there, open-mouthed – you know who you are, oh tyrant!) Friday evening saw us catching up with Tom Hunter – administrator of next week’s Arthur C Clarke awards, Simon Gilmartin, Neil K Bond, Donna Scott – administrator for the British Science Fiction awards, author Sam Stone, artist Anne Sudworth, Ben North – Creative Director of Harper Collins, Colin Brush of Penguin Books and others. I was also delighted to meet a good Facebook friend, SF writer Gareth L Powell in the flesh at last!
Later that evening and after a few jars, we piled into the 10.00pm panel on ‘The Marketing of Novels’ moderated by Ian Whates, writer, editor and owner of New Con Press, with panellists, the aforementioned Ben North and Colin Brush, and also the DDG Danie Ware of Forbidden Planet (aka @Danacea at Twitter) and Peter Crowther of PS Publishing. The panel was exceptionally informative, particularly on the harsh realities of the heavy weight publishing houses and the realities of getting your book displayed with the main book retailers. It was also the first time I’d witnessed such a clear division between those members of the publishing industry who were all for embracing online marketing and social media, and those yet to be convinced of its value.
So, what is a gang of SF devotees to do on a Friday night in Bradford? Virtually commandeer the entire floor of the Eastercon disco of course! The Mission, Sisters, G&R, Rob Zombie, MM, NIN, Aerosmith – good tunes, bad dancing, much fun. We finally poured ourselves into a taxi and headed off back to our hotel about 2.30am.