I'm back! Deadbeat, intellectually stimulated, with a notepad full of notes and with a bag stuffed full of goodwill. I made new friends, was able to help new writers with writing problems (I was surprised by the number of writers I met who thought that 60,000 words were sufficient for a novel.), sat in on a few workshops and lectures and spoke to many people about the myriad benefits of joining professional associations and writing groups. The workshop I co-presented ('Writing Groups to Get You Published', with Silja Swaby and Jay Cole) to an enthusiastic and committed audience went well and the Afternoon Tea with ... session saw the Society of Women Writers and Journalists' tables overwhelmed with interest.
Harry Bingham and his colleagues attracted over 400 writers to his first Festival of Writing at York university. They came to meet and learn from some big names in the writing world - Katie Fforde gave the first keynote address and other participants included Sue Moorcroft, RJ Ellory, Helen Corner and members of the Society of Women Writers & Journalists.
We all learnt from the experience. Roger Ellory gave some startling statistics, which brought a gasp: 80% of all books published in the UK sell 500 copies or less and writers survive on an average income of just £7,000 a year. Only 2% of the books published can be classed as 'best sellers'. Makes you think, eh?
I now have a Twitter account, (so come and find me!) after listening to Robin Harvie from 4th Estate, part of HarperCollins. He advocated Twitter for building up a fan base. I am giving it a go. After all, if it works for Stephen Fry, (he has over a million and a half followers) it may work for me!
Now I am back home after an intense weekend. I can't wait for the next one! Many thanks Harry and Co for having me and congratulations on a job well done!