April 15, 2008

London Book Fair

Mick and I had an eye-opening experience at the London Book Fair yesterday: a huge event full of people involved in the publishing world. I went to 4 seminars and loved every second. Our only complaint was that we wished we had arranged to go back another day, as one is nowhere near long enough.

We were clever enough to stay in a cosy little hotel just around the corner on Sunday night as the thought of getting to Earls Court by 9.00 am made me feel a little faint plus I didn’t want to miss the first talk.

Listening to Julian Friedmann, Janice Day, Suzi Mcintosh, Tracy Cevalier, Blake Morrison, Richard Brooks, Rebecca Jones, Susanna Rustin and Steven Williams was bliss. Agents, authors, producers, editors, publicists, publishers were all there oiling the wheels of the same machine. One was in one’s element.

On the 1st floor is the hallowed ground where the agents are caged and the way up is blocked by security that is impossible to infiltrate unless you happen to be going to the floor above and then you get a peep at the shenanigans involved in the sales of International Rights. Before I went to the fair I had delusions of loitering near an agent, i.e maybe someone from United Agents or the like and without any provocation, encouragement or begging from me one would say, “Do you have representation? Please let me take your career to unimaginable heights.”

Is it time for that all too familiar … dream on … again.

As if we weren’t brilliant enough staying the night before I had also pre-registered for ‘In conversation with Sabastian Faulks’ and we settled down all expectant like. Just before it was due to start though everything slipped into surreal mode. There seemed to be a bit too much security and an over the top amount of press presence. Of course it all made sense when the cameras started flashing and in walked Gordon Brown. It remained surreal but what really worries me is that he is actually quite a nice chap!

The funny moment of the day, apart from Janice Day was watching the PM’s police troupe mount their bikes in formation. If only they’d worn nose clips and done it to music! We were indoors so couldn’t hear if they did it to an order but I expect if they did it would have been, “On three, cock your right leg over and straddle your machine. When it throbs into life, smile.” That was what happened. (I added the smile bit).

All in all it was a very fine day followed by a good journey back to the sticks. It’s not everyday you get the chance to be in the same room as Sebastian Faulks and the Prime Minister now is it?


Pauline Rowson said...

Hi, LBF is amazing but if you were bowled over by it then you should try visiting the Frankfurt Book Fair, it will knock you out! It is at least eight times bigger, there are moving walkways to take you from one hall to the other and minibuses to ferry you between halls. And so many books that it will either render you speechless or make you suicidal. Oh, and there was a way into the International Rights Centre at LBF that wasn't barred by security guards, I found it by accident when I was going to a meeting there with my publisher. I went by the back steps. No one had thought to cover that entrance! Glad you enjoyed the pitching seminar, so did I.

barb said...

I rather like the thought of being flummoxed in Frankfurt.
Ah, the back steps ... clever thinking, just like a good crime writer.