Sunday, 4 August 2013

Being in two places at one time - by Cally Phillips

A small place with a big coat of arms


One of the best things (in my opinion) about the ‘modern’ world is that it’s possible to be in two places at one time. (Thus making a much more efficient use of one’s time!)  While you read this I shall probably be at the Turriff Show.
Don't paint a cow with slogans. It causes riots. 
Turriff (where I live) is a sleepy little town where the last thing that happened was a riot in 1913 (a riot AGAINST National Insurance by the way) in which The legendary Turra Coo played a large part.
The coo today. Our local landmark.

Since then, nothing. Except on the first weekend of August every year. For two long (hopefully dry and sunny) days Turriff plays host to the largest Agricultural Show in the North East. To steal a phrase from Wallace and Gromit, it’s a ‘Grand Day Out.’  And as you read this, I’ll probably be there. It’s a day off work for me. These are like hen’s teeth (no sympathy, that’s my choice. More than 4 days holiday a year for me are too many, I like to be chained to my desk or my polytunnel engaged in productive activity from dawn till dusk – much longer in the winter when dawn and dusk often seem to coincide.) But today is A HOLIDAY.


There are sheep
There are people tugging things 




There are pipe bands 
And there are lots of cows... from all over 
Nice introduction to the real point of this post. It may have escaped your notice (she laughs) that I direct a festival every August. It’s not a REAL festival you understand (though the work getting it up and running certainly seems real. ) It’s a virtual festival, held online – which means that IT COMES TO YOU.  Oh, yes, what a stroke of genius.  

Kool Kobo the festival 'mascot'
All you need is a pc or wi fi enabled device (Kindle, tablet, ipad or even a smartphone) and you can be there simply by going to this link www.edebookfest.co.uk.

Over fourteen days there are some 170 separate event ‘slots’ for you to ‘visit.’  Let’s make this clear. In one respect what this is, is simply a giant community blog that runs for a fortnight; offering themed posts every hour by a range of writers.  


What’s not to love? You can read about crime, advocacy, drama, comedy, market choices – hell, this year
Derek the Weathersheep appears not at the Turriff Show
but at the Edinburgh ebook Festival. 
you can even get a daily weather update from Derek the Weathersheep (the only sheep who has written an erotic trilogy: Fifteen Grades of Hay).

There really is something for everyone. There’s music and reflection and a way to find out about a whole host of writers and writing you’ve never heard of, or catch up with the latest launches from writers you know (or don’t know) well. 
Authors Electric are well represented this year. The roll call: Headliners are Chris Longmuir, Catherine Czerskawksa, Bill Kirton, Kathleen Jones. Dennis Hamley, Roz Morris and new AE member Jo Carroll.  And also featured are Sue Price, Dan Holloway, Jan Needle and Valerie Laws. And there are another 30 writers involved so it really is a ‘festival’ of ebook writers in the best sense of the word.

Previews from the bookshelf
 Currently the ebook festival is posting daily Previews to give you more information about what’s to come so I won’t go into more detail here – if you want to find out what’s to come, go to the site and please SPREAD THE WORD. The only way this festival gains visibility (like all blogs) is for people to tell other people and them tell other people.

We have a Facebook Page for you to LIKE (with free ebook prizes on offer) and you can tweet about it to your hearts content #edebookfest or Follow us on Twitter @edebookfest.

I am confident it’ll be a riot the likes of which Turriff has not seen since 1913 – though perhaps we won’t have as many visitors as the 2 day Show – but then, you won’t get wet, you won’t have to pay for anything and you don’t even have to stop whatever else you’re doing – just log in via your chosen ‘device’ and come to the festival wherever in the world you are and whatever else you are doing at the same time (except driving of course, that wouldn’t be safe!)

This is the Edinburgh skyline - you can be here without even leaving home 

Some inquisitive people have wondered why it’s called the Edinburgh eBook Festival. It tricks people into thinking that maybe they have to go to Edinburgh. No, folks. That’s the beauty of it. This is for people who can’t get to the REAL Edinburgh BOOK festival – it’s about ebooks and it’s Edinburgh ‘comes to you.’  Free and easy. The way life should be.  It was simply given the ‘Edinburgh’ monika because it happens at the same time as the REAL festival (which I always missed as a child because we rented out our flat and moved to the country for a month) and as a way of showing that it’s possible to think outside the box.  For me, even the Festival Fringe has become something of a ‘pay to play’ activity – some 24,000 performances – I ask you, who can do justice to that? The Book Festival has some 800 writers (I can’t begin to count the events). By contrast our 170+ ‘events’ and 40 writers may look paltry, but believe me, when you’re in the middle of ‘building’ the architecture of the festival site it’s an awful lot of content.  But it’s all FREE and will be well worth the effort.  And the REAL Book festival is celebrating its 30th year and we are only in year 2 - and more importantly WE ARE NOT COMPETING.  It's not a show it's a festival. 

The other big point of dissimilarity is that for the REAL Book festival the only thing that’s free is to get into the garden.  For us EVERYTHING is free – including sitting in your own garden, or any garden you like, even the REAL festival garden.  Yes, think of this, you could be at the REAL book festival waiting for an event and at OUR virtual ebook festival on your smartphone/kindle/ipad AT THE SAME TIME.  Science fiction becomes reality VIRTUALLY.  How great is that?  I repeat, we're not in competition with the REAL Book festival we are simply offering an alternative – in the same way that ebooks don’t compete with REAL books, and ‘indie’ authors don’t compete with mainstream authors – we’re all sharing the same world but this is our chance to have our own festival and shout about our own work and generally have a fortnight of free festival fun. I got bored of waiting for other people to think up the idea, so I thought it up myself. And if you are a believer in freedom of the 'indie' spirit and the rights of all writers to 'have a voice' (and why wouldn't you be?) this festival should be right up your street. Alternative. Community. Grassroots. Independent. And did I mention FREE?


I hope you’ll support the second year of this innovative, virtual festival.  All you have to do is log in to the site – as often as you can. We’ll be there from 12th-25th August from 10am till 11pm every day. 

7 comments:

Kathleen Jones said...

Enjoy the show - and your well-earned day off!

JO said...

And very wonderful it will be, too - though I've no idea how you survive with only four days off a year!

Dennis Hamley said...

Splendid, Cally.

Chris Longmuir said...

I'm always amazed at how much work you do to put on the Edinburgh Ebook Festival. It was a great success last year, and I am sure will be even greater this year.

Jan Needle said...

with you in the ether as ever, cally. FOUR days off a year, though? SLACKER!!!!

CallyPhillips said...

Back from the show. All won prizes. Okay strictly speaking it was third and fourth in a class of only four but we still have the rosettes to prove it (and the dogs have already realised that rosettes can be used a bit like frisbees, so for 20 minutes we also had a new TOY to play with.

Jo - 4 days a year holiday easy. I live in the place I would choose to go to for a holiday and my life is one long holiday because I do what I want with it - write, read, spend time in the garden and play with dogs. If I went on holiday I'd have to leave the place I love, and the dogs and do OTHER THINGS. I've done other things. Don't like it as much as being at home!

Jan - you are right. I'm not sure it's a full 4 days each year though. The DEFINITE dates are: 14th Feb (birthday) St Andrews Picnic (some time June-August) The Show (not every year) August and maybe Ne'er day if I've been drinking on Hogmanay. It does seem a lot of time off though eh? I probably have more sick days than holidays. But maybe I can do a trade? Or maybe next year I should aim for 2 days off only. Or none? The way things are looking at the moment it'll be NONE except that next year we'll have to go 'on tour' with the new catalogue and so that'll be like a holiday won't it (apart from the work of course!)
Chris, you are a fine one to talk I'm in awe of the work you've put into your residency this year and will be blowing YOUR TRUMPET at every opportunity. LIke now - Chris has done the most AMAZING residency slot of 14 days folks. And she had it all done and dusted way before the deadline. She is this festival's true HERO!!!

Lydia Bennet said...

well done Cally, this is a great intro to the ebook festival as well as a keek into the life of Cally the workaholic! glad you enjoyed your day off and I look forward to being part of the ebook festival.