On Sunday, I headed down to York University for the final day of the annual Festival of Writing. With a couple of talks focusing on self-publishing and the opportunity for one-to-ones with agents and book doctors, I was hoping for some inspiration to power through the next phase of editing my manuscript.
The festival full covers an entire weekend and is packed with various talks and workshops hosted by experienced writers and publishing industry professionals, plus social and networking events. Unfortunately, the full weekend was way beyond my budget so I opted for a Sunday ticket, which gave me access to the final day of the event and its workshops and talks, several of which were relevant to digital publishing.
As part of the event, I signed up for two one-to-one sessions, one with an agent and one with a book doctor. I had emailed off the first 3,000 words of my manuscript, which I’ve been planning to self-publish, and was interested in receiving a bit of feedback since I’m struggling with editing at the moment.
The feedback was better than I could have hoped for. Both gave me a few points to consider and changes to make, but they were incredibly encouraging and full of praise for my writing. I was told in no uncertain terms, ‘do not self-publish, you should be published’.
With a big smile on my face, I made my way to the rest of the day’s workshops, including one with self-publishing expert David Gaughran, who generously offered to email everyone attending the class with more in-depth information on the subject. Having been swayed a little from the self-publishing path by my earlier book doctor encounter, this talk helped to reinforce my plan to take control of my manuscript and publish it online.
I’ve still got a lot of work to do either way, but perhaps it is worth considering submitting the manuscript and seeing if I can secure an agent before I pursue the self-publishing route. If I find someone who loves my book and is interested in taking it on then great, but if not, I haven’t lost anything. I still love the idea of self-publishing and managing the future of my own novel.
Spending time at the Festival of Writing was interesting and it’s always great to be around other people who are just as passionate about books and writing.
However, the Sunday option doesn’t provide the fullest festival experience, as I did miss out on most of the social aspects of the weekend and things are naturally starting to wind down. But I’ve seen plenty of positive feedback online from those who attended the whole event, so I would definitely like to go back and make the most of the entire festival weekend in the future.