FantasyCon 2023 Roundup
My friend Tom runs The Real Writing Process podcast, where he interviews authors about their writing process. It’s an exceptionally good podcast and he’s had some big names on there like Joanne Harris, (Chocolat,) R. J. Barker, Gemma Amour, and Adrien Tchaikovsky, to name a few. You should check it out if you’re a writer or interested in the process of writing.
Anyway, Tom convinced me to come to The British Fantasy Society’s FantasyCon event, which was this weekend as I write this.
I had a tremendously great time. I met lots of lovely people, various authors included, (I’m not going to name drop,) watched several fantastic panels, and even got a bit of writing done last night in my hotel room.
I joined the BFS earlier this year, again after a recommendation from Tom, in part to get cheaper tickets for the con, but after going I will definitely keep my subscription to the society.
As an unpublished writer I learned a ton from panels on topics like what editors do exactly, and one on publishing which was also very insightful. I was also glad to see, (& attend,) panels on diversity, feminism and neurodiversity, all of which were top notch. Sadly there were a few I couldn’t make due to overlapping with panels I couldn’t miss, but there’s always next time and some were recorded and will appear on YouTube.
I now have a much clearer view of various roles within the publishing industry, (editor/commissioning editor/agent/publisher) and how to approach any/all of them.
Outside of the panels, the bar scene was lively, there was karaoke, (which I sadly missed out on performing due to turning up too late to make the list—next time!) and various rooms to just hang out, chat and meet people.
There were also lots of live readings by authors, although my already packed schedule didn’t allow me to catch any.
Occasionally there was free wine, and when there wasn’t, the bars were open.
I also met Oliver, who goes by Paracyclops on Mastodon, and recognised me from my avatar pic! Hopefully we’ll meet up again soon as he has interesting plans for a group in the works and doesn’t live too far from me.
There were two dealers rooms with books for sale as well as other merch and all the dealers were very friendly and chatty. I was very good and only bought three books: Children of Time by Adrien Tchaikovsky, which was sold to me by the seller on the Waterstones table who waxed lyrical about it and managed to keep it spoiler-free; The Dragonbone Chair, because I’ve been meaning to read Tad Williams for ages; and The Market of Dreams and Destiny by Trip Galey, which just sounded like such a fun premise and also I did chat to Trip for a while & he and friends were really nice.
I also want to recommend the book Spec Fic for Newbies—one of the authors of which was one of my favourite people I met, and who strongly urged me to start submitting work and advised on how best to do it. I will, I promise Tiffani, and thanks for the advice.
All in all, it was a great weekend. I’m writing this on the train home as I wanted to do it while fresh. Bottom line, if you’re a UK writer of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror, I highly recommend coming along to one—EasterCon is next and I hope to go, and may even volunteer to sit in on a panel or two. Maybe someone will find something I say useful? Who knows.
Maybe I’ll even see you there.