Surrey International Book Fair; Live blog


Okay, Kenn and I are here at Surrey International Book Fair 2012 with about eighty plus other hopefuls. There are a wide variety of authors present from childrens writers to travel and cookery writers. Next table but one has some serious looking bakery on the table, and I’m sitting here, pottering away on the old laptop, just drinking it all in. A couple of people are a massive draw and there are queues all round the room. The noise level is quite high, filled with bursts of happy, even excited sound as people wait to talk to their favourites.

I find I’m actually enjoying my own relative anonymity, blogging and peoplewatching. Kenn, my friend and neighbour is out walking and talking. Currently to a lady whose favourite has not arrived yet. We’ve all been assigned places, and after a little chicanery on my part, got myself moved to share a table with Kenn, who is a more experienced player at this event. Being a relative newbie at this game I’m a little nervous, but happy just to be here.

5:50pm One of the organisers has just come up to me and delivered the following message; “If someone comes up and asks you to sign something – sign it. It’s for the draw.” No idea what the ‘draw’ is all about, although I’m rather intrigued. Tell you the truth, I’d be too overwhelmed not to. Probably even ask them “Who do you want it dedicated to?”

6:00pm Kenn has given away all his promotional pamphlets, and I’m having to raise my voice to make myself heard to a couple of people who have taken pity upon me and come over to see what’s on display. I’ll talk to anyone right now. I wish I’d brought more promotional materials. I think for the next event I do I’ll get some bookmarks printed for giveaways.

6:30pm Have just run into Bennet R Coles, who has a volume out called ‘Virtues of War. Military Sci-Fi.

6:45pm Place is emptying out now. The big queues have shrunk, and the bakery guys two tables down have started to pack up, sorry, have packed up and gone. I think that the ‘Stars’ trilogy could do with its own web site, as part of a nested package of brands. Cerberus likewise. Some kind of direct ordering interface might be useful. The online presence definitely helps, because the real audience for science fiction is online or via the Sci-Fi Convention circuit. Kenn has been out walking and talking, selling himself for all he’s worth. I’ve had a few people coming up to admire my artwork, but no sales.

7:00pm Okay, that’s closing time. Time to pack up and head for the ferry. Its been an interesting day and worth it for the experience, but not the right marketplace. Too literary. Would I do it again? Maybe. When I’m a bit more of a name. Make it worth people’s while to come.

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Martyn K Jones

A writer who first trained as an Electrical Engineer, then fulfilled various roles within the computing industry. First published in 'SuperBike' magazine, 1978 under the pseudonym Harry Matthews. Since then has written and had published a wide variety of work; from PR copy in trade magazines to supernatural short stories and the occasional satirical article. Emigrated to Canada in 2007. Became a Canadian Citizen December 2014. Now branching out as a serious science fiction novelist.

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