The UK Meet enters its fourth year

Charlie Cochrane, the organising team’s official keeper of the timetables and mistress of the whistle, is here today to share her thoughts on how the UK Meet has grown over the last three years, and what’s going to make this year even better than what’s gone before!

2013 banner

Look at us…all grown up!

2011 logo
Our 2011 Meet logo, complete with stormy skies

The first UK Meet consisted of twelve authors in a room above a library, scoffing tea and cakes and chatting. Unfortunately I missed that as our boiler went flop-bot, but I’ve been to the two Meets since and I have to say the beautiful baby of an event is now a gorgeous child. There are still seemingly endless supplies of tea – and provisions of all sorts for scoffing – and there’s still plenty of capacity for chin-wagging with people who understand our love for our genre. UK Meet means never having to say you’re sorry for what you read or write or publish or review.

The biggest change is in size and attitude. The twelve authors grew to best part of seventy established authors/readers/aspirant authors/publishers/reviewers in 2012. Now, those sorts of numbers can be a bit scary, but we managed to retain intimacy, by making sure we had plenty of time for socialising, by organising events-within-the-event which were on a smaller scale (of which more anon), and by avoiding the painful sort of “ice breaking” sessions that many of us have endured at corporate events. “Novel openings” eased us all into the convention part of the day without too much pain.

2012 logo
We went all teapotty in 2012…

We’ll be trying to produce the same “professional but friendly” mix this year, having a similar starter session on a subject – the development of covers – which everybody can pitch in their two penn’orth on if they wish.

In 2012 we had two sets of panels running, in different syndicate rooms. We’ll be doing that again, pitching at different audiences. We’ve been told that aspiring authors have found the event really useful – as have readers – so we want to make sure they’re catered for. We also had an experimental session, the Buffet of Banter, which consisted of smaller tables where people could sit and discuss slightly more eclectic topics (such as shifters or BDSM). It was a huge hit so we’ll be repeating – and extending! – it in 2013. We’ll also be picking up panels/tables on some of the subjects our delegates asked to see on the programme.

...and back to brollies for 2013, but with optimistic blue skies
…and back to brollies for 2013, but with optimistic blue skies

But wait, there’s more! What else was new in 2012? More (optional) social events. Branded event shoulder bags crammed with goodies of all sorts. (Ah, the great sheep wars they sparked…) Those goodies included a USB stick chock-full with free fiction and useful things like publisher submission details. And a printed programme and badges on lanyards and…well, everything you’d expect from a proper convention, because this is what UK Meet now is.

Except there’s one big difference. Every delegate still matters, the “industry” side of things runs alongside rather than over-running the social, and we’re all there because we love our genre.

CHARLIE COCHRANE

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries. She lives near Romsey but has yet to use that as a setting for her stories, choosing to write about Cambridge, Bath, London and the Channel Islands.

Charlie has stories with Samhain, Carina, Cheyenne, Noble Romance and MLR. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series, set in Edwardian England, was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name.
~~~~~~
Charlie’s website: www.charliecochrane.co.uk
Email: cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com
Blog: http://charliecochrane.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000878813798

Booking now open for the 2013 Meet!

Manchester's Canal Street
Manchester’s Canal Street

Yes, the UK Meet team are proud to announce that tickets are now on sale for this year’s UK Meet in July. The weekend of the 12th-14th will see a group of fun-loving readers, writers, bloggers and publishers all descend on the historic city of Manchester, the UK’s Venice of the North.

Manchester is a fabulous location for the Meet, as not only is it a beautiful city with plenty of opportunities for shopping, eating, drinking and generally absorbing the culture, but they’re incredibly proud of their long GLBTQ history. The Macdonald hotel where we’re holding the Meet is only a few minute’s walk from the Gay Village, where you can stroll along Canal Street (location for the original UK Queer as Folk series) and check out the extensive range of bars and clubs. There really is something for everyone in the Village, from fancy restaurants to heaving clubs, as well as quirky tea rooms and fantastically well-stocked beer-lovers’ pubs. We’ll be offering a range of group social events there in the evenings (more details to follow nearer the time).

This year we’re doing things differently with the tickets, and have decided to offer two price tiers to reflect the added bonuses authors receive. Check out the details on our registration page. Everyone is welcome to book the general tickets, but if you want to take advantage of some added publicity and space to share your swag (both virtual and physical), then check out the Spotlight tickets. For just a small amount extra, you’ll receive a range of extra publicity opportunities and we think it represents excellent value. For more information about the event and timetable, please browse the freshly updated website and check out our FAQs.

Please book early to take advantage of our discount, and to secure a room at the hotel. They are holding a limited number of their luxurious, spacious rooms at the special price, but there are plenty of other hotels nearby if your budget won’t stretch. We’ve already had a rush on tickets since booking opened yesterday, so make sure you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to meet up with fellow GLBTQ fiction lovers in the UK’s premier event for our genre.

Follow this blog for regular posts in the run up to July, including guest blogs from authors and publishers attending, free short stories, and more information about the event itself. We are actively seeking contributions from attendees. For example: a short blog post about the Meet in 2012 and/or what you’re hoping to get out of 2013; something relating to GLBTQ fiction in the UK; a piece of GLBTQ flash fiction. Or maybe you’ve got an idea about what you’d like to see on the blog? Let me know! (josephine_myles@yahoo.co.uk). You can also follow our newsletter to be kept up to date with information about the UK Meet.

Hope to see you all in July!

Jo x

JosephineMyles.com