It was my good fortune to attend the Big Bookend‘s Indie Writers’ Festival For the Love of Words, hosted at Leeds Trinity University. A I had already experienced one of the Big Bookend’s events, their ‘meet the agent’ session with Shelley Instone, so I knew they were up to good things. The Indie Festival is the most recent addition to the Big Bookend’s extensive events portfolio.
A good turn-out of budding writers was complemented with a great line-up of inspirational keynote speakers and workshop hosts, centred around self-publishing. There’s a lot of snobbery about self-publishing, and the assumption that an author only goes it alone if their work isn’t good enough to secure a deal. According to the guys at the festival, that’s not always so.
I have to admit I had been a bit skeptical that there could be many benefits of publishing your own stuff, so I found it heartening, actually, that some of them preferred being independent, particularly as it allows for much more control and often more profit, even if it is more work. Don’t skimp on the professionalism, they all said. The process to get your book up to scratch is no easier – possibly harder – if you’re doing it yourself. And you’ll still need input from editors, proofers and other taskmasters.
Our contributors were: Dee Blick, Tricia Walker, Ann Victoria Roberts, Martyn Bedford, Daniel Ingram-Brown, Ned Hoste, Oz Hardwick and Amina Alyal, who were all very generous with their experiences and advice, and I found the whole session to be really valuable. I got extremely enthused, and the ideas came pouring in! It has encouraged me to look again at a project I had put in the pending bin.
Along the way there were a couple of competitions, one for the poets, one for the prosers, and one online for the tweeters. I have to say it was with enormous chuffed-ness that I won the prose competition! It was a mini-saga in exactly 50 words, which was open to the day’s participants, online or via Radio Leeds. Here is my effort.
Holland Park says the sign. The businessman folds his paper, picks up his Harrods bag, follows the evening crowd.
Pushing open a stiff metal door, he slips unseen into the damp darkness, takes his sleeping bag from the thick paper carrier and makes his bed.
He has a Knightsbridge address.