On the last day of the conference, which happened to be my birthday, first we had a regional network meeting. Anita Loughrey our leader told the group what has been set up for the group and what has been going but stopped. I offered to set up the London Write In again as it had stopped last summer. The first meeting will be in January. After that it was off to author branding with PJ Norman and Justin Somper. Here is what I learnt and did:
Author branding has to be consistent in all we do. Know what our core message is. What makes you distinct. Connects to readers. Brands can evolve with each book. Then we had to work out the brand for an author. My group had Dan Brown, and it was decided he was boring and gave the same answsers to interviews. I said his brand would be religious buildings and religion. Then we had to work out our own brands based on what we had just learnt. Work out the brand on your books and yourself. I practically knew mine: Magical realism with gentle warm humour. I also put magical powers, shining and glowing objects, purple. For myself I put friendly, approachable and Asperger's Syndrome. Then once we had done that, we had to go to someone we'd not spoken to and say our brand. As per school days, I was the last person to be paired up, so was with PJ. He told me that it was a good idea to add Asperger's in with my brand. So, I might do that in future.
After that we had lunch. I had moussaka with rice and tomatoes which was nice.
The afternoon session was with Steve Hartley and Mo O'Hara, and was all about being the performing author eg at school visits. We had to bring with us a few pages of our ms that would be entertaining. Steve showed us how he did his visits and told us how we could perform. Then it was our turn. I was nearly last. I ended up showing off my socks, as they were magical. We were sitting on the floor for most of the session, and my bottom took a couple of days to recover from that. I felt that after that, school visits and being a performer isn't for me.
The day ended with presentations of prizes - I didn't win anything. I left a bit early to get a taxi back to the station, and ended up sharing with four others, which was good cos we shared the cost of the fare and only paid a pound each.
All in all it was a v informative and helpful conference - I came away with ideas how to improve Billy and knowing my author brand and what I wanted to do with it.