First off, Saturday, in which I did the commuting thing properly (a walk down to the village station, followed by a train journey to Manchester), began with my checking in, receiving my bag of swag (and a very fine bag full of excellent swag it was too), and then catching up with people I hadn't seen in ages.
Once we'd been officially welcomed to the event, I stayed in the main room for We’ve got it covered: what sells; what works; evolution of a cover, in which Charlie Cochrane, Jenre, Jo Myles, and Ariel Tachna talked about cover-art from the points of view of writers, readers/reviewers and publishers. The main messages I took away were that a cover needs to work as a thumbnail as well as at full-size (including having fonts that are readable at both sizes without overwhelming the are), and that it needs to draw the reader in while reflecting the genre and representing the story within.
After coffee, I stayed in the main room for Social media: how to use / NOT to use it, in which Elin Gregory, Beau Schemery, and Susan Lee all had different views and experiences to share. I leaned about some new social media sites (not that I plan to use any of them at the moment) and got more ideas about what some of the others are for. Not everyone seems to like Goodreads as much as I do, possibly because I somehow manage to stay away from all the kerfuffles, and poor LJ hardly got a mention, even though I'm not the only one from the audience happily posting here.
After heaaring Goodreads get an unfavourable mention, I headed up to the Syndicate Room (nothing to do with julesjones' co-authored fiction) for Reviews: how you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same. How you can review honestly without losing friends in which Serena Yates, Clare London, Sue Brown talked from author, reader and reviewer points of view. I may have made myself slightly unpopular with some by admitting to giving some books two stars on Goodreads (I qualified that by saying that anything lower generally ends up as DNF and doesn't get starred at all but wasn't forgiven). Since then I have been recruited to a review site that isn't opposed to bad reviews, so I hope certain of those from the panel will remain my friends.
After lunch I found that participants in the Buffet of Banter were largely uninterested in discussing Lesbian Fiction, and so ended up talking to Victoria Oldham on the Bold Strokes Books table, and Cathy on the Registration Desk instead. Lesbian fiction was mentioned, along with the future of political activism, and Classical Greece. So a fun couple of hours was had anyway.
I stayed in the main room to listen to elisa_rolle's Keynote Speech, which was followed by the raffle in aid of the Albert Kennedy Trust. Darren from AKT thanked us for raising over £300 and told us a little about the Purple Dog Project -- the new safehouse in Manchester for young LGBT people leaving care -- and about other fundraising events that have been going on.
After that we had the Spotlight Book Fair and the Cochrane family came to my rescue by agreeing to transport all my purchases back to Hampshire. Then there was some relaxing before it was time to go on the Tour of Gay Manchester. I talked about that over at Women and Words, but here's a short photographic run-through...
We started out by the canal:
Then we walked along Canal Street:
We saw the memorial statue for Alan Turing:
And then we finished off at Gaydar Radio, which I don't have a picture of.
I ended my day by meeting up with softfruit for food in China Town, followed by drinkies at the Fab Cafe.
And that was just Day One!
[ETA:] Part Two here.