Pros and cons

What’s that? The banner up there? Oh yeah, I see it too now you mention it. There’s a good reason for that little clicky graphic, however, because it neatly (ahem) brings me to a little bit of news. Your least humble servant, Mr Poll, will be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton later this year. Hallowe’en weekend, to be precise.

Obviously I’m not going for the weather.

This will be my first convention so there’s nothing quite like jumping in at the deep end. Four (count ’em) days of author Q&As, book signings, readings, panel discussions, book launches, schmoozing and, most importantly, drinking. These are the good bits.

The bad? Well, my credit card will require mouth-to-mouth once the hotel and bar bills have been settled, and there is the somewhat terrifying fact that I’ve never done anything like this before. On top of that there is a significant risk that I’ll be suitably starstruck to need rushing from the venue on a hospital trolley.

Basically pick any favourite sci-fi / fantasy / horror author of yours and he or she is likely to be there. Okay, smartarse, pick one that’s alive. Except for him. Yeah, she’s not going to be there either. Keep going. Ah, he is, though! No really. Go to the member’s list and see for yourself: http://www.wfc2013.org/membership01.html

In fact, if you navigate to the P’s you’ll see a famous name I’m sure you’ll recognise. About two-thirds down the page. That’s right, Sarah Pinborough will be there too.

(And, just this second, Joe Hill as well. Crikey!)

I must admit, up until around a month ago the thought of attending a conference never occurred to me. I saw the adverts here and there, but nothing sparked in my noggin. I thought that, come Hallowe’en, I’d be too busy trying to get Title Withheld under people’s noses.

Then it hit me. Not only would there be a significant number of top-drawer genre authors in attendance, but also a sprinkling of publishers and agents. You never know, some of them may be receptive to a quick pitch after a dozen gins.

After that little lightning bolt I couldn’t hit PayPal quick enough.

The giddy high must have continued for a day or two because I then applied for a reading slot and to moderate a panel discussion on self-publishing. This, you must understand, would be at a conference that strongly favours the bound word, and with me as unaccustomed to public speaking as I am. Wish me luck on that one!

It’s a pity that it overlaps the start of NaNoWriMo 2013. Would anyone grass me up if I did three or four days’ writing in advance? I won’t tell if you won’t. 😉

So what else is new? Well, with the first draft complete and boxed up in a time capsule until Good Friday, I’ve spent a little time working on the next steps, chiefly in the areas of quality control and promotion.

Following a quick exchange of emails with John Jarrold, fellow WFC attendee and agent to such horror heavyweights as Ramsey Campbell and Adam Nevill, he seems happy to run my manuscript through a line edit, which, given his huge expertise, is excellent news. I’ll have a second draft to do battle with his red pen at the end of May. I also got a really good response from the regulars of Cemetery Dance’s forum when I broached the subject of test readings, which was very heartening.

I’ve also been getting busy with my GIMP and Inkscape, chiefly to create a book cover for CreateSpace, and advertisements for assorted publications. I’ll expand on these in separate posts as Mr Poll plays the numbers game. If you have a budding horror author in your circle of friends you may want to point them to my next post.

In short, it’s all coming together swimmingly, and I haven’t even gotten to the bit I’m dying to reach – the big reveal!

Stay tuned, folks. And if you’re also attending WFC 2013 leave a message, or find me on the SFF Chronicles / Cemetery Dance forums.

Laters, ‘taters.

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