All the fun of the (London Book) Fair

“Roll up. Roll up. Get yer rights ‘ere.”

Yesterday was the 2008 London Book Fair. The partying went on so long into the night that it’s only now I can blog about it. Over lunch, one super-agent told me “no one in publishing drinks anymore.” Yet, by the time the Earls Court clocks clicked past five o’clock, happy hour had already started on many stands. For the previous seven hours, visitors may have shied away from hearing about the latest developments in digital inventory management and distribution, but lay on the alcohol and the people will come.

Quercus BooksThe Quercus stand from aboveAs ever, the Quercus stand was one of the best. I recall the two-man company at the top of (a lot of) stairs in Marylebone that first hit the LBF three years ago with only two books but still a very impressive stand. Now there were plenty of titles, including a lovely row of my proof copies, and all that was missing was a tall author dropping by on a regular basis to replace the company name that kept peeling away under the blistering Earls Court lights.Line of Johnny mackintosh

A tip for the fair – if you’re important enough to ascend the escalator into the paradise of the International Rights Centre, water coolers are laid on everywhere.

All this could be yoursDown below, in the fourth circle of the inferno, visitors have been known to suffocate in the heat while standing in line hoping for the rights to bring the latest Ian Rankin blockbuster to Siberia. From up above though the fair makes an impressive sight, with only a few whispers in my ear to say that all this could be mine if I’d just sign up with the right agency.

After a day of shameless networking and self-promotion, I nearly ran out of business cards – those lovely people at Moo will be getting a new order soon. For the first time I met the Dutch publisher of Johnny Mackintosh, Job Lisman from Prometheus, who was a delight. And Anthony Cheetham made my day by saying that he liked my plicans (read the book – you’ll find out). I’d arrived with Anna Faherty from Strategic Content and we met up with Jon Reed of Reed Media and the Publishing Talk group. Jon tells me that Second Life is hosting a virtual book fair next week on Cookie Island. There, everyone will be able to look down from above and no one will overheat, but the virtual booze is unlikely to taste as good as the real thing.
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~ by keithmansfield on April 16, 2008.

6 Responses to “All the fun of the (London Book) Fair”

  1. Your book has a great logo! It must have been brilliant seeing a whole row!

  2. I love the logo too, but just wait till you see the whole cover. Shame it wasn’t quite ready as it will be truly magnificent! Yours is pretty cool as well…

  3. I think it says a lot that it can stand by itself without a main image!

    And I agree, the designer did a fab job on my title – i think it works great by itself, which is a really big help for things like BADGES! You’ve got to get badges made with your logo!

  4. Ah yes – merchandise ahoy… Good to see you at the Fair, Keith. Do come along to the SLBF. It’s actually being held on Book Island and Publishing Island this year; though Cookie Island is well worth a visit for all the writing community activities. Some more details here:

  5. Alex – loving the badge idea. I’ve already been on some sites to check it out. Thank you!!

    Jon – not sure my second life expertise is quite up to it. Might have to start from scratch with a new avatar and go back to the training island…

  6. i use a site called badges for bands. They’re always dead quick and friendly, and the price is pretty good too. At the minute you can get 400 for £50, which i think’s a bargain!

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