Monday, June 17, 2013

Conflux 2013

This was my third Conflux, although the first that was also the National Convention.

I love visiting Canberra for bookstore tours, so it was perfect to combine the pair.

Seriously, if you are a new author, or even an old hand, and want to try out bookstore selling appearances, rather than book signings, Canberra is the place to start.

(For full details on the difference between sellings and signings, as well as 50 tips to hand-sell 1000 books a month, see some of my previous articles).

Canberra people love to buy books – almost more than they love sweeping generalisations.

But seriously, there are more eager book buyers in Canberra than anywhere else. I like to ask the question: `Do you like to read?’

One Canberran replied: `Doesn’t everybody?’

Well, no. And certainly not in some of the areas I have sold books into …

Conflux this year was being run by the delightful Nicole Murphy and Donna Hanson, and it was organised perfectly.

I was rather less organised, for a variety of reasons, so ended up with a somewhat higgledy-piggledy schedule.

The important thing was, I got to chat to some great people and offer my limited wisdom to help budding authors. I hope it was of some help!

The panels I went on this time had some really interesting (I thought) topics.

One was on the ethics of immortality, which is one of the major themes of the Empire Of Bones series. It was a fascinating discussion and, in terms of book possibilities, we barely scratched the surface.

There are two types of immortality, of course. There’s the Tolkien-elf immortality, where you don’t get old or sick but are still dead if someone cuts off your head or sticks you full of arrows. Then there’s the full immortality, where you are indestructible – somewhat like a cartoon character or Hollywood action hero.

Immortality can be approached from the point of view of those fighting against immortals or from the immortals struggling with their powers. There are many books in there.

The other panel was about world building, which is also fascinating. I like to base my worlds on reality, recognisably Celtic or otherwise, rather than start from scratch. But the possibilities are infinite.

Plants, animals, even the weather can become as important as any of your characters. The weather, for instance, can become a crueller foe than an army of orcs.

Just don’t fall into what we shall call the 10,000BC trap. That was the Roland Emmerich film that saw the main characters go from snowy mountains, to desert, to steamy jungle in the space of a few days. A classic example of plot defeating logic. Not that it was the most unconvincing thing about that movie but still …

In between kaffeeklatches and panels, I visited Canberra’ s three Dymocks stores. All are great and all went well. It is lovely to see people coming back for the third or even fourth time to get their books signed. A true honour. At Belconnen, in fact, I bumped into a fan that was almost overcome! That was the first time someone has been that excited to meet me. Even my dog doesn’t get that thrilled, so it was a massive buzz for me as well.

At Belconnen it was also great to see Valley Of Shields sitting at Number Six on the store’s bestseller list!

Conflux wrapped up (for me) with the official launch of VOS, along with my friend and fellow Harper Voyager author Katie (KJ) Taylor’s The Shadowed Throne.

Our first HarperCollins books were published in the same month and we are still going along the same pattern, which is extremely unusual but also wonderful.

Her books are  very different  from mine but extremely entertaining and I would heartily recommend trying them.

And so I began the long drive home, thankful for all the wonderful people I met – and looking forward to doing a real tour next time!

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