I’ve got two fairly big events coming up next week, so if you’re anywhere near Winchester then do check this out. The first is the Hampshire Writers’ Society Gala Evening (Tuesday June 13th, 6pm in the Stripe Building of the University of Winchester), where I’ll be setting up with my books as part of the Members’ Book Fair. If you’ve been following since I posted about the event last year or the year before, you’ll probably have some idea what that’ll be like, but the speakers at the Society are different every month and this time around I think they’ve got some especially good people on board. One of the speakers is Claire Fuller, who I’ve mentioned on this blog on a few occasions already, and the other is Erwin James, a columnist for the Guardian.
If you check out this writeup of last year’s event, you’ll notice I mentioned that the other authors there really seemed to have put a lot into their displays and that it was all very professional. Well, I’ve stepped up my game this time around with some lovely swag!
It’s badges, basically. I’ve also had a T-shirt and a poster printed up in addition to the usual leaflets and business cards, but the badges are what I’ll have on hand as a sort of souvenir for anyone who drops by. Given that Ten Little Astronauts isn’t actually in print yet, it seemed especially important for this book. As much help as Unbound have been in getting the book off to a good start – providing me with a professional video for the book and generally giving it their backing as a publisher – it’s always harder to sell the idea of a book than it is a physical bundle of pages you can actually hand over on the day. I’m hoping these will help encourage people to actually check the book out online afterwards and hopefully put in a pledge.
I’ve written a little more about these over on Unbound itself, since obviously that’s where most of the news for Ten Little Astronauts goes out these days, but basically I decided to put together a few variations on the same design. If anyone gets hold of one of these and actually wears it, I figure it could prompt just a bit more interest in the book from some of the people who see it: it’s a slim chance, but every little helps. At this point there are nearly 150 people behind the book and if even 5% of them got a friend on board, even at the minimum pledge level, it’d give the crowdfunding campaign a noticeable boost. Beyond that, I’m looking into little extras to add to the standard rewards – because I think it’s always nice to get something on top of the book you’ll be helping get into the shops – so if you can’t make it to an event where I’ve got these on hand, don’t worry! It probably won’t be your only chance to have one.
After the Gala Evening, from the 16th to the 18th of June I’ll be returning to the university to attend the Winchester Writers’ Festival. This is the event where, last year, Ten Little Astronauts was first picked up by Unbound. It’s probably a little late to get a ticket for the event itself if you don’t already have one, but there’s still a chance to turn up! The activities on Friday evening are free and they include an open mic that’s well worth sticking around for. Beyond that, it’s just generally a great place to meet other writers so even if all you can do is stop by at some random point during the weekend, it’s worth a quick trip out of your way to do that.
Do let me know if you’re going to be at either of these! I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you.
One last interesting bit of news involves the 30% supporter reward for Ten Little Astronauts: my folk horror story Harvest Moon. I promised both the text of the story and an audio version for all supporters, but I’m no longer planning to record the audio myself. Voiceover artist Sharon Vennall has very kindly put together a much, much more professional recording of the story and has already released a little snippet for everyone to enjoy! If you’re already supporting Ten Little Astronauts, you should be getting the full version through Unbound quite soon. If not, please do consider putting in a pledge: not only will you be helping to launch my career as an author, you’ll be getting a whole host of goodies like this along the way!