It’s hard to believe that nearly two weeks have passed since I drove down to Bourne for the Read Dating event I’ve been banging on about recently. Two weeks, and I’ve not had a chance to reflect on it properly – until now anyway.
Did the session go as planned? Honestly, I don’t know, because I didn’t plan it. Talking to the organisers afterwards, I got a sense they were a little disappointed, though I don’t think they needed to be. I was looking forward to it, but I also had no expectations. It was clear in advance that the weather was going to be awful and, even with it being an indoors event, that’s always going to deter some people.
Something that’ll have helped counter that is the fact that Ros Rendle had run a creative writing workshop beforehand in the same venue. This resulted in some of the attendees staying behind for the Read Dating. From what I could gather, the workshop had been very useful, so I’m sure if she’s doing more, they’ll be worth going to. That aside, if anyone is thinking of holding a Read Dating session in future, having a prior event or activity clearly helps to bolster the numbers.
Getting back to my own expectations, I always welcome an event where there’ll be other authors and readers around. Even if the only people that turn up are the authors, there’s a common interest and something to talk about – whether it’s the process of writing or the challenges of publication and marketing. As it happened, I already knew some of the other authors, though not all of them very well. It was good to catch up with them and to meet others. It’s, perhaps, a good sign that I didn’t have time to meet them all, though. Much as I wanted to, the event was busy enough.
Did I sell any books? Not that I’m aware of. Then again, when I went as a reader to my first one, I didn’t buy any books on the day. It was afterwards that my bank account took the hammering. And, although you could argue that the main purpose of these kinds of events is ultimately to get people to buy your books, they’re also a good opportunity to raise your profile, sowing seeds for the future. Frankly, having the opportunity to talk about Ravens Gathering and now Carrion was useful practice for when I launch the latter in the coming weeks.
The conversations with potential readers were interesting and it was clear I’d piqued their interest by having this lying on the table. It certainly got a lot more attention than the books…
I enlightened them as best I could on the day. For now, I’ll leave you guys guessing. Do feel free to share your guesses in the comments below.
As for Read Dating in Bourne, I’m glad I went. I had some great conversations with authors and readers alike, and I always come away from these things feeling more motivated to write. So I’m looking forward to not only writing more, but also to attending other events as the year progresses. And the next one is only a week or so away. Can’t wait!