Last weekend I went to the Scotswrite 2017 conference. This is a conference set up by the Society of Authors, and the tagline was “Everything an author needs”. I hadn’t been to any of their events before, but this one was so close to home that I thought it would be a great way to get started. A conference for writers, organised by people who are writers themselves? Which was taking place less than half an hour drive from my house? Definitely an opportunity I couldn’t miss! The programme didn’t disappoint my expectations. Unfortunately I missed Joanne Harris giving her Friday night keynote speech, as I had only booked in on the Saturday and Sunday. But I was lucky enough to be able to chat briefly to her on the Sunday, and was delighted to find out that she is a really lovely person. That was one of the defining themes of the conference though. Lots of lovely people. Lots of writers, editors, agents and other industry people, very happy to share their insights into success. There were many really good talks, including the following:
- Jane Johnson’s lively keynote speech about her life in books, and her subsequent breakout session about what makes an editor fall in love with a book
- Daniel Hahn and Ruth Martin talking about translation and what makes it such a challenge
- The ‘top tips’ session from six industry insiders discussing advice they would give to writers
- Joanna Penn’s book marketing masterclass, and her great keynote speech about how to make a living with your writing
I also was lucky enough to sit next to Jenny Kumar from JK Consulting at the gala dinner (who was one of the key people involved in arranging the conference) and we had a fascinating chat about writing and what makes a good romance story work. Plus, there was of course a goodie bag stuffed full of books, flyers and also…a pad with sticky notes… And I haven’t even mentioned the amazing food… I had a great time at the conference, and would definitely recommend it to any writer. Apparently Joanna Penn has a regular podcast on writing too, to that’s going to be my next stop. Expect to see a blog post about that at some point in the near future!