I had an interesting time, meeting old friends and meeting new ones.
The meets have always been daunting for me. Meeting my idols and other successful writers has been nerve wracking and at times demoralizing, never more so than when I'm sitting at a table with a stack of books and no one shows any interest at all while all around me people are chatting, selling books and signing autographs. That's soul destroying.
So why do I keep doing this to myself?
Firstly, I'm the eternal optimist. I hope every year that this time it will be different, and I'm sure that one day it will be. Also, I'm sat at a table, people see me and gradually my face is recognized and then known. Thirdly, one day I might find the courage to actively market and draw people in by the mere strength of my personality. *snort* as if that is going to happen. My family keep telling me I have to toughen up and actively sell myself. Not going to happen.
The rest of the meet was terrifying but pretty amazing. I think this year saw the best panels and key note speakers ever.
I attended panels about book cover design, getting into the mind of authors, the importance of location and reviews. I learned some pretty important and sometimes scary, things. For example, I had no idea that I'm not allowed to use images used on by book covers in any merchandising I sell or make any kind of money from other than as a cover to my book. I did not know that.
As well as the formal aspect was the terror of socializing with other, far more successful authors. To be honest, I have constantly been surprised how friendly and approachable even the most successful authors have been and no matter how terrified I am to begin with, I always end up making friends and connections and having a lovely time.
Why should there be a UK Meet? Because for those of us who live in the UK who have very little funds attending functions in the UK is the only option and the UK Meet is the best of what's on offer. As far as I am aware it's the only event of its kind that takes place in the UK especially that attracts attendance from all over the world. Part of the joy of attending is meeting people from America, Australia and so many other places who I would never otherwise have had a chance to meet.
There will be no UK Meet 2017 and, much as I understand the reasons for it, part of me is grieving that, although part of it is masochistic, I won't have the opportunity to get together with so many like-minded, interesting and genuinely nice people until 2018. Although it does give me the opportunity to work hard and advance to the position where I won't be spending an hour watching everyone else being successful without me.