We met up with indie author, Simon Fairbanks, at the Edge-Lit genre fiction event in Derby last weekend and we showed him our new Virtual Reality Book Trailer. He was so impressed, we asked him to do a guest blog to describe his experiences…
Edge-Lit surpassed my very high expectations: charming authors, fascinating workshops, and table after table of great-smelling books.
One of those tables was hosted by Pigeon Park Press, AKA Heide Goody and Iain Grant, the collaborative writing duo behind the Clovenhoof franchise.
Their smorgasbord of paperbacks drew me in.
We spoke about my first Edge-Lit experience, praised the redshirted helpers, and I shared my starstruck encounters with (gasp) traditionally-published authors.
I was about to slip off to another star-studded interview panel when –
“Would you like to try our Virtual Reality Book Trailer?” asks Heide, innocently.
I blink a couple of times.
I hold out my hand, expecting a sleek Oculus Rift headset – at the very least a Google Cardboard.
Instead, I am presented with a large cardboard box, boasting the insistent and what-I-now-know-to-be-accurate declaration: YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A BOOK TRAILER LIKE THIS!
“Erm, what do I do?”
Heide and Iain appear perplexed, like I had asked which end of a fork I should be holding.
“Put it on your head,” says Heide. She doesn’t add “Of course” or “What else?” but I hear it all the same.
I then notice the hole cut into the bottom of the box.
“Um. Okay. Here goes.”
My head rises into the box. It begins. My senses are assaulted with colour and lights and plastic figures salvaged from McDonalds’ Happy Meals. There are cartoonish eyes looking at me from all sides and I need to rotate the box around my head to see them all. My head is too big for the box, so the insides are too close to make out fully, which means I undergo the whole experience boss-eyed.
Was I laughing? Was I screaming?
No doubt, Schrodinger would suggest I was both laughing and screaming until someone looked inside the box.
I remember birds and Hercules and naked Barbie dolls. I think. It was all a blur.
But I do remember thinking it was a very innovative way to engage Edge-Lit punters in the Dealers’ Room.
Standing out is everything for independent authors such as Heide and Iain (and myself), especially when surrounded by booksellers brandishing the works of Big Name authors. It helps if indies have a few tricks up their sleeve, like Edge-Lit bingo sheets and the Virtual Reality Book Trailer.
On that note, Edge-Lit is a huge help for Indies in itself.
I learnt at least 18 things during the day, gaining helpful tips about rising through the Amazon charts and building a network with fellow indies writing in my genre.
Mostly, I feel fully-rebooted after my inaugural Edge-Lit visit. In the days since, I have dusted off my Moleskine and blasted through a narrative knot in my third novel, all thanks to the inspiring words of Edge-Lit authors.
In summary, Edge-Lit is very much like a mysterious box with a hole cut into the bottom…
In both cases, you should dive in head-first!
Snowflake, the latest comedy novel, by Heide Goody and Iain Grant, is a story about prehistoric pets, delinquent donkeys and becoming the person you want to be, not the person everyone else expects you to be. You can buy it here:
Simon Fairbanks is the author of The Sheriff and The Curse of Besti Bori, both part of his Nephos fantasy series. He has also published two short story collections, Breadcrumbs and Boomsticks. Simon is a committee member of the Birmingham Writers’ Group.