Wow, has it been two months since I posted a blog?
I swear the website just slips by me sometimes, but it has been a very busy few months. To keep it short, my rota for January and February has been simple: Write, write, sleep, finish 89, start Oedema, polish Kids for Dark Chapter Press — which is available for pre-order, and sitting at #1 in the Horror bestseller charts on Amazon as of writing this — more writing, spend time with the wife, and get a new cat.
The last of those has been an experience in itself, and expect Vincent (named after the legendary Vincent Price) to feature in a future blog. I’m lucky I can actually write this with the scratches on my hands, such is the aggressive nature of a marble Bengal, but I digress.
Anyway, a lot has happened since my last post, but 2016 is fast becoming the year of the convention. Thus far, I have attended three in 2016 — two of which were within a week of one another — and plan to attend five more (currently) before the year is out. Details of these can be found below, so if you wish to get a book signed/buy a book and get it signed, you know where I’ll be. However, today’s post is about a particular convention that was a lot of fun, not only as a privileged vendor, but as a huge fan of a certain popular TV show. That’s right…
That’s right, the Walker Stalker Convention, which took place at the London Olympia in Hammersmith. To be honest, I was dreading this convention after the unorganised chaos that was London Film and Comic Con in June of last year, which took place in the same venue. As usual I attended the event with Matt Shaw, and we were included in a select few who were offered the chance to play vendor for the weekend. This was clear when we arrived, with a minimal amount of stalls set up, and it soon dawned on us that people might be coming to this event purely for the celebrity factor. A majority of the cast members from The Walking Dead were on hand for the event — including Norman Reedus, who gathered a five-hour plus queue at one point — so it was clear where people’s hard-earned money was going. Which was fine, but we dreaded sitting behind a table for sixteen hours with nothing to do, which is the initial feeling we got from the event.
We were wrong.
The event was an absolute thrill. From an professional point of view, I’ve never sold so many books at a convention. I had people picking them up and buying in handfuls, inquisitive readers and authors asking advice about horror, some general tomfoolery, and thousands of horror fans walking by. Mr Shaw also brought along his infamous head mould (see below), which garnered some significant attention throughout the weekend. One man even snogged the head to win a free book; I’ve never seen Matt gag before — hilarious! The shocker was that the competition only sat on the table for thirteen minutes before someone accepted it. We won’t mention all the probing, curious fingers that went into the gaping mouth beforehand…
The celebrity factor was, unbelievably, quite painless. I expected hour long queues, an inconvenience when hosting a stall, but this fear was for nought. I was in line for a two photo ops for a mere four minutes past the allotted time, before having the pictures taken, and they pushed everyone through efficiently and expertly. A painless, excellent experience. It was no wonder they brought their convention staff over from the U.S. It worked wonders, and really gave the event a personal, professional feel. Oh, and the photos were with Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori), and later on David Morrissey (The Governor).
Overall, it was just a nice place to be, and seeing the fans come out to play, and giving our humble little stand a bit of notice, was very exciting. By the Sunday lunch time, I’d sold out of everything, and Matt — who had four times as many books — was not far off by the time I scuttled off to catch an earlier train at 2pm. We were pleasantly surprised at the outcome, considering we expected to sell nothing during the weekend. But, with 8,000 people attending, we should have expected it…
So would I do it again? Yes. I’m certain I have the convention bug, there’s something about meeting the readers, seeing people admire and contemplate your work, people who aren’t scared to come over and say hi, have a general chat and, in some instances, grab a photo or two (like Simon above). Its definitely one of the more rewarding aspects of this brilliant career, one I’ve loved every second of so far. I’m approaching my third year as a writer (the first as a full time writer), and I hope there are many more years to come. However, this inevitably means I will be attending more UK conventions in 2016, and here are the details. Click the links for tickets or information.
Birmingham – MCM Comic Con — March 19 & 20
Nottingham – Em Con – The East Midlands TV & Film Convention — April 30 & May 1
Sheffield – Horror Con 2016 — July 9 & 10 (Pending)
Chatham, Kent – Invicta Con 2016 — August 7
Bristol – Horror Con 2016 — October 15
If I get any more, I will add them to a separate blog post, but I don’t think this is bad going. I look forward to seeing you all at your respective venues. In the meantime, watch this space for news regarding a couple of exciting projects I have in the pipeline, my confirmed book release line up for 2016 — the next blog post — and some interesting news regarding All or Nothing … which is currently sitting with a talented screenwriter.
2016 is going to be a busy year. Ciao!