A few of my fellow bloggers have asked me to write about my experience at Eroticon, ‘a weekend of learning, socialising and fun for sex bloggers, erotica writers and erotic creatives’. I had never really considered myself to be in any of these categories so I was a little worried that I wouldn’t fit in but I was made welcome from the outset. I think a lot of other people there had shared the same self doubts at some point and this was alluded to in the keynote speech given by Girl on the Net. She empathised with my anxiety but encouraged, “your words can change the world.” After a swift and humorous account of the year, she arrived at the conclusion that, “We can’t all do everything but everyone can do something.” In between she made me think, and I mean really think, about my place in this world and what I can do.
During the weekend we attended a number of different seminars and I have to say that I learnt something in each one and came away thinking a little bit differently. We chose a blend of talks which made us think about both the content of our blogs and site as well as the technical side of reaching your audience. The talk on taboos by Remittance Girl, as well as Annabelle Knight’s talk on erotic writing made me think not just about writing fiction but also about the sorts of challenges that we face as writers of sex and erotica. They picked up on some of the points raised in the opening address and allowed me to feel that I was part of the collective whole.
I have always thought that although I can write, I don’t have good imaginative ideas, but listening to these people speak and the suggestions contributed by the audience was bringing my ideas to the fore. This continued during the workshop by Cressida Downing about whether there is a book in your blog. I am not sure the answer to that would be yes, but listening to the questions she asked and the advice she gave made me realise that there probably were ways that I could spin off from what I do here if that was something I wanted to try. It was also great to hear those listening to the talk offering suggestions and ideas and that really was something that was indicative of the whole ethos of the event.
Kayla Lords session really set things in a different direction as she talked about how to monetise your blog without selling your soul. This is something that I have never really thought about doing but she made me see that you can do it in a way which doesn’t have to change the content or even necessarily take money from your readers. It can be much more about how to find ways of making your blog work for you through things such as reviews and affiliates. I guess this tied in a little with discussion around the marketing of sex products in the talk given on the adult industry by Nina Saini, which again, had me thinking about things in a way that I never had before.
Having recently moved into posting some photographs on my site, the workshop given by Molly about editing was extremely helpful. Again it made me think about the content of what is on my blog but also about the technical side and I learnt about good tools for editing as well as some of the rules of photography that I hadn’t known about. The tips and hints on sizing of images and the cataloguing them were also things that I had known nothing of before so that was a huge help. Please note, Molly, that my ‘Sinful Sunday’ pictures will no longer be, “the size of a planet.”
Michael Knight’s workshop on SEO and fetish.com’s talk on raising your visibility on google were so helpful to HisLordship and myself. Setting up The SafeworD/s Club has left us somewhat floundering in the world of site building, maintenance and repair. While we have the basic skills, neither of us is close enough to computer geekery required to run such a thing successfully, and we have not yet ‘come out’ to our 15 year old son who may actually be able to help. So blindly through the back door of the internet we have crept and are grateful at what was demystified for us over the weekend. In terms of content and technical wizardry we still have a long long way to come but Eroticon left us feeling a little bit wiser and a little bit more aware of the potential that was out there for us to improve.
Wow. This part of the weekend was huge. Eroticon is a community and one which is inclusive and welcoming. Overall I was struck but the willingness to share with others without no personal gain other than feeling good talking about a shared interest and love. I suppose because most people are coming at it from the angle of writing being a hobby and a passion it allows for a different, more supportive and non-threatening feel. These people are not just friendly, they have actually become friends over the years and the buzz that creates is infectious. The energy, the enthusiasm and the positivity was palpable and that really helped to make the event for me.
It wasn’t just the organisers and participants who were part of this, the sponsors were also people who were passionate about their products and couldn’t wait to share that, and their expertise, with anyone who was interested enough to listen. I have been at other events before where it is a commercial thing but this was much more about sharing their belief in a product that they have a personal connection to. There was never a feeling that it was about money, although many of those attending were trying to make a living, or even just cover off some of their costs; it felt much more like a community celebrating in each other’s success, encouraging and sharing ideas and helping one another to move forward in a very collaborative way.
I suppose that really the whole event came full circle for me so that from the beginning where the seed was sown that we all had a part to play, to the end where I felt what that part might be for me on a personal level, there was the feeling that I would not be alone. I was part of a community looking to change things for the better, slowly but surely, piece by piece. This event was so good that I posted the day after about the sub-drop I felt following it. Since then I have so many ideas and projects whirring around my head that I feel as if I am back in the sub-frenzy phase.
Obviously a huge part for me was spending time with HisLordship as a couple, doing something that we are both interested in and love. Being away alone together was a real treat and to meet so many fascinating, talented and knowledgeable people was a huge bonus. Although the seminars we attended were amazing, I heard so many positive things of the ones which ran in tandem to them that I could have filled my time two or three times over, which probably answers the question, would you attend again? You bet I would. The weekend was not a budget one but it was one which was hugely valuable and I would happily spend that in order to take part again. Two early bird tickets for next year please!