Ely Con, very short report
This has to be very short as I have just sliced through the top of my finger on one of those vegetable guillotine thingies, trying to make home-made crisps. Fortunately I got my 1000 words in for the day first, but I’ve got to say I don’t advise typing with your finger swathed in elastoplast. At least it seems to have stopped bleeding.
So this will be a short report – Ely con was slightly smaller than we expected. We had about 25 people express an interest in coming, but only 12 turned up. However, 12 felt like a good amount because the room was quite small. We were able to draw up 4 tables and sit around in a circle and still be heard by everyone.
I’d been having nightmares that we would all arrive, talk for about half an hour and then lapse into silence which needed breaking up with scheduled events and me trying to think of something to say. But it didn’t happen that way. We only really stopped talking in order to do the two quizzes. I was thinking “OK, we’ll do introductions and the Q&A session and then I’ll put out refreshments,” but the Q&A session went on so long that we all started picking at the food in the middle of it. Then we got to the final three quarters of an hour and realized that we hadn’t discussed next year, we hadn’t done the book swap/signing, and everything needed washing and clearing away because the library shut at 4pm.
So I never got to the book table, as I was washing up. However, I’d much rather have had it that way than have tumbleweeds blowing across because we couldn’t stand each other and couldn’t think of anything to say. As it was, I can happily say that most of us have gone from being acquaintances to being friends. It was really nice to know there are real people on the other end of those pixels. Somehow that doesn’t sink in until you’ve met them.
Next year we are going to go for something bigger, based in Reading (so it will have good rail and even air links – it’s close to Heathrow) which lasts for a full day and is possibly held in a hotel, so that people don’t have to travel back on the same day. It will be some time in July, and we’d love to see more writers, more readers, publishers, agents etc. We’d also love to hear your ideas for what you might like to see during a one day conference. If you think you’re interested in helping to organize, offering a panel of some sort, or any other idea, drop in at the newly re-named UK_meet community and help make next year bigger and better 🙂