sponsored by Kindle Direct Publishing, I also hoped to meet a few self-publishers too.
My experience, however, left me a little downhearted and doubting my vocation. My first interaction was with a self-publishers publisher. I was approached by a friendly lady manning the stall, and when asked if she could help, I inquired about what it is exactly they do. Apparently they take a manuscript and sort out everything for the author, from book cover to editing, marketing and printing. This threw me a little, as it sounded an awful lot like a publisher. I introduced myself and asked if they ever outsourced any editing or proofreading, and produced my new shiny business bookmarks. A puzzled look on her face made me wonder whether my
bookmark idea, which I had thought to be a stroke of genius considering my market, had in fact been a bad idea. She perused it and then asked "why do you offer discounts to self-publishers?" For the second time I found myself highly confused, mumbled something about being keen to support the industry (which I am), and then beat a hasty retreat.
The second part of the day which dampened my spirits (aside from the standing journey on the train) was the
overwhelming obsession with money and profits. It worried me that I was trying to become part of an industry which is driven purely by profit speculation, rather than by whether a manuscript is good or a story engaging or interesting. I understand the need for this, and perhaps I had romanticised the whole industry slightly, but for a room full of people who I imagined to be literature lovers, it all seemed a little bereft of feeling.
Finally, lubricated by the free wine in the author's corner at the end of the day, I proceeded to try and strike up some conversations. I met a lovely lady who thought my bookmarks to be a great idea, asking why no one had ever seemed to have thought of that. She even took two - one to use and one for my contact details. The rest of them, however, seemed clumped together like herds of buffalo, causing me to feel like a lion prowling for prey. When I did speak to people about their books, I was so interested in what they had written that to try and segue into offering my services seemed crass and rude, and I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
The whole experience made me realise that the idea of looking on the culmination of people's dreams and aspirations as a money-spinner was not for me. So, if any authors reading this need an editor that uderstands the love they have poured into their work and who wants to help them get it to its best, please send me an email. I'll need to send you an invoice, but I promise I probably won't enjoy it.