Wednesday already! Normal weather conditions have been restored; it poured at Swanwick today — there was no sitting outside this afternoon. The inspiration, enthusiasm and chattering are still evident —but they seem interspersed with periods of quiet and everyone seems very tired. There is an air of winding down about the Hayes tonight.
I started my day by taking a seat in Butterly 1, somewhat surprised at the almost completely female and slightly over-excited audience waiting for Peter Jones to talk about e-publishing — until I realised I was in Sharon Kendrick’s class on writing for Mills and Boon and beat a hasty retreat to Butterly 2. Peter told a packed room about his publishing journey and the success he has achieved with his book How To Do Everything and Be Happy. He also generously shared his 17 point plan for successful marketing (well, he shared the first six tools before we ran out of time, but the rest will be in the handouts he tells us). We discussed the importance of a cracking title and how a bad cover can kill a book. There were a number of delegates with experience of Print on Demand, so we swapped notes and shared experiences. I certainly feel much better equipped to consider all options for publication (as advised by Rebecca Woodhead) and to make an informed choice.
My own session on Writing as a Business was scheduled for this afternoon. Having arrived at Swanwick with my slides all ready (a rare occurrence for me); having printed off a copy and prepared my notes yesterday; and having run through the material several times, I was still adding extra bullet points and changing words at the last moment. I guess a writer really does find it hard to stop editing! We had a good crowd for the session, and despite jokes about ‘having nothing better to do’ and ‘coming in from the rain’, everyone seemed to be there because they were interested in the topic —apart from one gentleman who wandered in looking for the police forum. We tried hard, but were unable to persuade him to stay with us instead. I’m not going to comment on how the session went; I could be considered biased. However, it would have been nice to have longer for the discussions that popped up all over the room.
Our guest speaker, David Nobbs, had the main hall rocking with laughter as he described a lifetime in comedy, encompassing That Was The Week That Was, The Two Ronnies and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin among other. This led on to our own home-grown comedy, with The Swanwick Players presenting an Old Time Music Hall. It was sometimes chaotic, sometimes a little off-key but always hilarious. We got the chance to belt out a few songs at the tops of our voices. It was exactly what we expect of Swanwick —and the small, but perfectly-formed audience loved every moment of it.
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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