Back to my roots - Collectormania

Posted by M J Ward on 21 May 2014

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Sometimes you can forget your roots. It’s so easy to get boxed into the day-to-day grind of work, desperately scratching around for the pennies to pay those all-important bills. It’s easy to lose the impetus and the drive that once fuelled your entire reason for living.

I did my first Collectormania exhibition about four years ago and loved it. It was a wonderful eye-opening spectacle to the world of geekdom – and served as my first foray into selling books at such an event (indeed, the first time any author had appeared at Collectormania!). I was met with wonderful praise and interest, and sold lots of copies of my self-published book: The Legion of Shadow.

It was with some trepidation that I contemplated returning. Would it live up to my expectations? Would the visitors be interested in DQ now it was ‘mainstream’? I stared at the three hefty boxes of books and wondered if I still had it in me to sell these. I’ve taken a few knocks over the past couple of years, and I did question if that burning passion was still there; that passion to sell books and spread the word.

The journey to Milton Keynes was an adventure in itself (oh my lord, those roundabouts) but thankfully I made it safely. And as I set up the stand, placing out the books and arranging posters, I felt that spark of excitement again – that feeling like anything was possible. I was right back to those days as an unpublished author, when I had fire and drive, and no-one could say no to me.

The three days of this year’s Collectormania were amazing. As the doors opened on the Friday, I had my doubts, as people rushed past in eagerness to get their autographs – then hit the stands that sold shiny and cool things, from belt buckles to light sabers. I suddenly felt like my stand of books was outdated. That people were just not interested in books anymore. I was a dinosaur.

Then the curious started to come over. And they were joined by fans – people who actually remembered me from the past event four years ago, who had bought the book and loved it. At times I was swamped with people, asking about the book, buying it, requesting signings – it was humbling. I met so many wonderful people – some were hardcore role-players, others had simply read the FF books as kids and suddenly were wowed with a modern format. I had people from 9 years old to 50 buying copies. All of a sudden it felt like the old days, of plugging my book – and plugging and plugging. It is incredibly hard and tiring work, but getting those sales – and more importantly, people coming back who want more – is the mana that keeps us writers ticking.

I sold over 80 books at the event, which beat my previous record. As I packed up the stall, I felt exhausted but boosted by the sheer enthusiasm and joy of those who attended the event.   

Like I said, sometimes you can forget your roots. Now and again, it is great to get in touch with that passion that drives us. It should be bottled.

Hail the geeks and the gamers!


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