The lovely Debbie of ALLi fame kindly tagged me in an event notification for the Amazon Academy. As only my second outing as a professional writer, I was a little nervous.
The day started early, but no earlier than we are used to getting up! We hopped in the car and made our way up the M6. I’ve never been to Manchester before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The traffic on the motorway was steady and we decided to skip the stop at the services for breakfast.
We arrived about an hour before the doors opened and decided to head into the city. I know Jamie isn’t a fan of ‘fancy’ coffees, so a plan was formed. We followed the map on his phone towards the yellow M and trotted happily past some amazing buildings at the heart of Manchester. I really loved the mix of old banks, societies and guilds with their crests still embellishing the front of the buildings. They don’t feel out of place among the glass fronted apartments and office blocks. I think the council have done a great job of preserving the character and past of Manchester, without letting it stagnate or stutter.
Jamie stopped at the corner and scanned the street.
“Where is it?” I asked, bewildered.
“It should be right here,” he replied, squinting at his phone, “we should be stood right on top of it.”
The ‘Food Court’ sign across the road caught my attention and we agreed that was the most likely suspect. We followed the escalator up and was greeted by the familiar smell of fried breakfast!
Getting into the shopping centre was easy, finding our way out proved much more difficult!
Eventually after many dead-ends and contemplating getting ourselves forcibly removed from M&S just to find a way out, we found the street. With just 15mins left to get to the venue before the event started, we hot footed it back towards Manchester Central.
We entered the lobby and collected our green lanyards.
“Emily Reading, Author,” I read aloud, the sense of pride welling inside of me.
Jamie’s however had gone walkies, so the kind lady behind the desk wrote him out a new one and we made our way up the escalator.
Inside, the room was flanked on all sides by large black curtains. No walls, no windows and a high ceiling, it was something I had not seen before. Around the edges were a small handful of tables and chairs, while tables for standing at were dotting around. At the far side, coffee, tea, and orange juice were lined up ready to delight any engineer with a keen eye for straight lines and in the centre of the room, tables were lined up like a production line. Tables displaying Amazon’s partners and various schemes occupied the remaining space around the edge of the room.
Amazon enterprise (Amazon sellers) with white lanyards wondered around, chatting to friends and making small talk. The green lanyards were outnumbered 10 to 1. Jamie and I closed up ranks and began searching for allies. Having bolstered our numbers, we approached KDP table and were guided up the steps into a room at the back of the venue.
We sat down as Darren of Amazon fame, began proceedings.
It was an extremely well run event, with a lot of information on how to keep on writing, getting it on to Amazon and how to sell it! The panel were really great. Tracy Bloom, with her wealth of knowledge was a delight to listen to. Keith Houghton was wonderful, with his humorous take on every aspect of writing. Joseph Alexander had a great deal of knowledge on non-fiction; and Paul from ALLi was a great representative of the group.
I left feeling very motivated and really looking forward to getting back and doing some more writing.
Thank you so much Debbie for tagging me. I look forward to more events in the future.