While Charlie was at the Authors' Networking Brunch, I went to the Pitch Session, where various of us read 500 word excerpts and 500 word synopses of our current works. Stand-outs were a YA and a 9-12yr old (do US folks call that Middle Grade) novel, pitched by quite young authors. I got some splendid feedback for my Searching for Julia pitch, notably that the first scene needs more activity with the introspection, and that the story beginning and the synopsis need to match each other better. I'll be revising again next month...
Following the pitch session we stayed in the same room at the Corn Exchance for the Conference proper. Charlie chaired this splendidly, although I missed her whistle from the UK Meet.
The sessions were:
“E-citing Times for Romantic Fiction?” led by Julia Roebuck, E-scape Press
“Recipes for Success: Making the ebook bestseller” led by Sheryl Browne and Kim Maya Sutton, Safkhet Publishing
“Inspirational Romance in the UK” led by Jo Holloway, Sunpenny Publishing
“Does Size Matter? Big publisher? Independent publisher? Self-publishing?" with the panel consisting of Miranda Dickinson, Louise Allen, Hazel Osmond, and Mandy Baggot
“Together We Stand. Romance Blogging and The Romaniacs” with the panel consisting of Laura James, Sue Fortin, Debbie White, and Celia Anderson
“After 50 Shades, Where Next for Romantic Fiction?” led by Anna Boatman, Publishing Editor, Harlequin Mills and Boon and with a panel consisting of Lucy Felthouse, Rowan Coleman, and Kate Allan
On the whole I felt that the panel sessions worked better than the individual-led sessions, although Anna Boatman's presentation prior to the final panel debate bucked that trend by being generally rather splendid (with hand-outs too!).
I also need to investigate Safkhet Publishing, as they have some interesting titles that I want to pick up at some point.
One suggestion for Festival and/or Meet organisers for next year: please could we have a panel that actually discusses the intersection between belief systems and matters of the heart from a multi-faith and fully diverse point of view? I'd definitely be up for speaking on that one (even if certain persons think my POV is less valid as a self-identified pagan).
Following the Conference (which included a fine working lunch), there was plenty of time to wander from the Corn Exchange back to the hotel, so I indulged in a spot of photography.
St Paul's Church (over the road from the Corn Exchange):
Bedford Rowing Club:
The final event of the weekend was afternoon tea with readings from various authors of historical romance, mostly in costumes of the appropriate period:
Louise Allen also showed off some of her collection of antique fans, and very pretty they were too...
My full set of photos from the weekend starts here, and photos of Charlie reading in the shopping centre have now been added to my previous post on the FoR.