Dragonmeet Revisited (1/12/09)

Despite a concerted effort by Transport For London to make it as difficult as possible to get to by closing both the entire Circle Line and most of the District Line last Saturday, Dragonmeet last weekend was a blast. I don’t know how many people were there (many hundreds), but it seemed huge.

The panel of fantasy-authors-who-game (myself, Mark Barrowcliffe (The Elfish Gene and others), Jonny Nexus (Game Night) and the John Steed of fantasy, Dave Devereux (Hunters Moon, Eagle Rising)) were able to pontificate to a packed room about games and writing and the link between them. It’s something I could probably talk about with enthusiasm for something just short of the entire rest of time, so an hour was nowhere near enough [1].

And then, in the afternoon (skipping over the god-awful green-and-brown mush that was called lasagne, dwell for a moment on the perfectly reasonably coffee, and move on), I ran a game based in the world of The Adamantine Palace, for which I am hugely grateful to my players (I still have the sign-up sheet, so I know who you were – or who you were pretending to be), because you turned it into something more than a little awesome; right now I’m all fired up to write it up into a 20000 word novella. Just as soon as I have a spare month… Really pleased how that went, and it looked like everyone was having enough fun to keep right on going even after the ‘plot’ was resolved. Dragonmeet, we shall meet again. Special thanks to Dave Devereux again who managed to end up playing the dragon-knight and being in charge of the dragon and didn’t (unlike my play-test teams) call it Fluffy or something equally silly.

Actually, what he called it was [2]

We also did a little signing, which was an eye-opener. This is what happens: A handful people (not very many in my case) have heard of you. They know you’re going to be there. They come armed with books to sign. This is cool and makes you feel big and important. They show up at the start. And then they go, and the tumble-weed starts to roll past. People stop and stare and then quickly run away as soon as you make eye contact. Some people wander up and look at the cover. They pick it up and feel it. They might even read the blurb on the back. Sometimes they say something like will I like this? Well how do you answer that? Anyway, I sold a few books and signed a few more. What I saw, though, was that not one person who thought about buying The Adamantine Palace, neither the ones who bought it nor the ones who didn’t, read a single word of what was inside before they made their decision. They bought it (or not) on the basis of the cover and the blurb – all the bits that had nothing to do with me whatsoever. Content might get you repeat business, but over the counter, it’s covers and blurbs that sell books. Yes, I’ve heard that before, but seeing it in action was kind of scary. Kind of intensely annoying too. Or possibly liberating. Like, dude, it doesn’t matter what you actually write! Hmmm.

As an added bonus, I spent so much time travelling around on what felt like every tube line in London that the first draft of The Warlock’s Shadow is probably a week away from completion. Then it’s back to the Thief-Taker’s Apprentice for a couple of weeks for its last spit-and-polish, and then the the re-write-athon continues with The Order Of The Scales. Ahhh, dragons, it’ll be good to have you back. After a couple of months away, I was beginning to miss your fiery goodness.

[1] As a measure of how my general geek-level, I had actually, for once, read every single other author on the panel. Even the self-published one.

[2] Deleted for security reasons.

One Response to “Dragonmeet Revisited (1/12/09)”

  1. Yewtree says:

    Interesting. I always open the book at random and read a bit to see if the style is engaging or annoying. Obviously this is after I’ve been attracted by the title and/or cover.

    Also I’ve never done an official signing, but I have had people come up to me randomly at events and ask me to sign their copies of my books, which is always nice.

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