I got back from London yesterday and am very pleased with how everything went. I think finding my feet there last year really helped - although I was a bit shell-shocked walking around with an 'Eh?' expression most of the time - and I knew why I wanted to be there this time.
The first thing I noticed was that it seemed to be a lot busier than last year. I met up with Paul (the writer previously known as Tonto Paul) and we both said the same... it seemed that there were more publisher stands too. No idea if this is the reality or we were just caught up in the 'Eh?-ness' of it all again. Who knows. Maybe because I was sat at the Tonto stand most of last year and didn't get to see as much action as I should have. The area where we had the stand last year wasn't in use - this hinted that the size of the fair was smaller. Credit crunch? Nah - even Boris Johnson (who was there on Wednesday) described the publishing industry as "successful and resilient", despite the economic gloom.
Monday could have been better meeting-wise. A couple of them didn't go as planned and in one I found it was over within minutes. Seriously. I've taken longer to make a cup of tea. That's the LBF for you. After that meeting, sat down having a rest at a cafe, I was reading through some distributor info when a guy sat at the same table introduced himself. It turned out he worked in distribution and was now an adviser to people in my position. He gave me some amazing advice and passed his card on. How rare! A stranger talking to me that a) wasn't mental and b) was helpful. And one of the people he recommended was on my list of meetings for Tuesday!
Tuesday ruled. Great meeting with a sales and distribution company - details will be revealed as soon as finalised. I definitely want to go with this one. I like to do business with people I like. I'd already came away from a few meetings where I felt I'd just wasted my time trying to coax info out of someone with no personality. Had I just turned into the Simon Cowell of the publishing world? Hmmm...
Tuesday lunchtime - a meeting with a new author and a new signing. The Bookseller mag wanted an 'exclusive' on this, so details will be posted up soon.
Tuesday afternoon meeting with an agent to sign another author up was a non-starter but it didn't dampen the mood.
It was also good to meet up with the 'Newcastle crowd' too, as there just isn't time to catch up with anyone in Newcastle. It's much easier to travel to London to do it, cram into a bar and buy loads of 'London-priced' drinks, go to a restaurant that not everyone wants to go to before going back to tiny hotel rooms for a restless kip.
Ahhh, you just can't beat it.
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