Yesterday was the Pan Macmillan Winter Sales Conference – my first ever book event, which I attended as part of the Ford Street delegation. It was a long day in the Yarra Valley full of free food, speed dating with sales reps, speeches and free wine, although not necessarily in that order, and I had an absolute blast. So here, recorded for posterity, are some of the highlights:

1. Spending the day with the wonderful George Ivanoff and Meredith Costain.

2. The proliferation of tiny little custard tarts topped with glazed strawberries, of which I devoured my own bodyweight.

3. The self-help author whose pitch to a room full of publishers included the words ‘nobody reads books anymore’ and the admission that he didn’t read, either.

4. The number of sales reps/Pan Macmillian people who were not only lovely and interesting, but fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

5. The speed-dating session, wherein I repeated myself umpteen times in the pursuit of marketing my book, but nonetheless had a fabulous time. And also, it was actually timed speed-dating. With table numbers and a stopwatch.

6. The free drinks from 5:30 onwards.

7. Bradley Trevor Grieve’s speech at dinner, which included a toast in Swahili and a rousing defence of dogs, and which made reference, among other things, to Hitler, skydiving, French cinema, fevered morphine dreams, Egyptian mythology, Paris Hilton and hermaphroditism.  

8. The part where I was awarded a soft toy Siamese cat for asking a vociferous and pedantic question about undines. 

9. The fact that, due to the effects of free alcohol and the suggestions of not one, but two lovely PanMac people and also my own madness, said toy cat was promptly dubbed Selina James Grieve. Thanks, Anita and Robin!

10. And this was only my first conference.

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