Tuesday, 12 April 2011
London Book Fair - Anne Rooney
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week is London International Book Fair. It's not as important for children's books as Bologna a few weeks ago, and it's not as much fun to go to Earl's Court as Bologna, but we writers don't get very many things to go to so it's still a good day out.
I go every year to LBF, on a ticket provided by one of my publisher, and usually go two days of the three. (This year it will be only one for domestic reasons, so everything will be rather crammed in.) What's at LBF for writers? Well, it's no good going to LBF with the intention of selling your book ideas to editors on stands. Some publishers don't even let editors go as they consider them a liability. If you have publishers you already work with, it's nice to meet people face to face, but you'll need to set up a meeting with them in advance. That sounds very business-like, but it usually tends to be coffee or lunch and a natter. In fact, that's what I'll spend all day doing today - coffee, coffee, lunch, coffee, coffee, wine, wine, home. I'll meet writer friends and publisher friends (not my agent this year, as time's short), editors I have worked with and no longer work with but still like. I'll look around the stands quickly to see what other publishers are up to, and bump into people in the aisles who I haven't seen since last year.
Ah, last year. In 2010 the fair was depleted by the volcanic ash cloud that stopped publishers flying in. With a group of writer friends, I commandeered an empty stand and we squatted it with a display of our own books. We called it 'volcano squatting' - the photo above is by Sue Eves, one of our squatters, and you can see her book The Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog on our stand. Also in the picture are Lucy Coats, Tabitha Susuma and me (from behind). It will be back to normal this year.
I'll either come away enthusiastic about the prospect of the year ahead or despondent about how many books there are already and how they are all the same.... I'll let you know later today!