Yesterday, thanks to the ever-so-awesome Heide Goody and Jonathan Davidson of Writing West Midlands, I had the opportunity to talk about reviewing and blogging at the National Writer’s Conference 2018! OMFG – I was on a panel! ? I loved the intro and opening talk from Shoo Rayner – a fantastic kickstart to what was going to be an interesting and inspiring day!
People always say I come across as very confident, but I must be a brilliant at hiding the inner turmoil and absolute fear I feel at even the thought of speaking in public as standing in front of a crowd of strangers actually makes me feel physically ill. Leading up to the day, I even had thoughts of how the hell can I get out of this? The fear is REAL, peeps! However, I worked through the sweats, the drymouth and the shakes as I kicked it to the curb talking about CrimeBookJunkie, reviewing, bloggers and blog tours to a very kind group of people! (However, the fear is quite evident on my face below ?)
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to explain why only POSITIVE reviews appear on my blog – and perhaps I should have explained more about that as a little debate then came about – noting that reviews should be balanced. Absolutely they should …but this is MY blog, I don’t get paid to review, and I choose to focus, shout out about and promote books I have read and LOVED! Everything else gets reviewed on goodreads and/or amazon. Fortunately I am pretty good at accepting books I think I will LOVE, so I haven’t had to be overly critical (in a constructive manner) in many reviews. Why would I waste my time reading a book I didn’t enjoy? ? It was great to learn about the other side of reviewing (paid reviews in magazines, newspapers etc) from James Urquhart and Sandeep Parmar with Greg Leadbetter as moderator.
I loved meeting new people, talking about my blog as well as my job and the fabulous place I work: Bookouture! I was also a little overwhelmed (in a good way) when attendee Lisa Greaves came up to me at the end of my panel and said she has followed my blog from the beginning, squeezed my hand and said “don’t ever change” – huge smile on my face! I’m friends with Lisa on Facebook but had never met her – the power of social media once again bringing online friends together in real life! And I finally got to meet Blake of Brum Radio Book Show – we’ve chatted on Twitter for awhile so it was great to finally put a face to a name! And what an awesome guy he is! If you’re not already following @Brumradio_books then I highly recommend you start now!
The conference took place on the beautiful grounds of Birmingham University and it was a glorious day. I enjoyed the panel on Working with Agents & Publishers as well as the panel where Heide Goody, Rachel Kerr and Stuart Bartholomew talked about DIY & Independant Publishing.
The day ended on an absolute high with a FANTABULOUS closing speech from Jo Bell on Confidence – it absolutely hit a note with me and what an inspiring way to end such a superb day!