• Welcome, visitor! Litopia is the oldest & friendliest community for writers on the net. If you are serious about your writing, we cordially invite you to join us.

London Book Fair

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#1
DSC_0104.JPG
Airless. Disorienting.
DSC_0105.JPG
What strikes you is the depth of vertical publishing... there are people here who specialise in very niche areas...
DSC_0102.JPG
And those who are lavishly state-sponsored... Looks like The Governance of China Part II is aboput to hit the UK bestseller lists real soon now...

DSC_0103.JPG
And the happy author...
 

Barbara

Guardian
Benefactor
#2
Chinese book? Dare not think how censored the content of that one is...

Makes me feel rather priviledged that I can write any old rubbish.
 
#3
Il Matrimionio visited Hong Kong Jan 2016. Leisure trip. Rang me using the free use telephone in his hotel bedroom.
'Someone's listening in,' I said
The line just sounded a bit funny somehow.
Then it very quietly went 'click.'

Move on folks, nothing to hear here....
It was not long after that Hong Kong bookshop owner disappeared...

Are you selling there today @AgentPete? Feel free not to say.
Want to know about those niche books too...
 
#7
Why indeed, AgentPete. In a past life I ran a bookshop and had the following experiences with the general public:

'Can you order me a book?'
'Yes, Madam,' I replied. 'What's it called?'
'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venice.'

'Mummy, can you buy me this book?'
'No, Jenny. You've got a book at home.'

'Can I order a book here?'
'Certainly, what's it called?'
'Don't know.'
'Author's name?'
'Don't know.'
'Publisher? ISBN?'
'Don't know.'
'Okay, what's it about?'
'Don't know. Can you get a copy?'
 
Last edited:

Amber

Benefactor
#11
Why indeed, AgentPete. In a past life I ran a bookshop and had the following experiences with the general public:

'Can you order me a book?'
'Yes, Madam,' I replied. 'What's it called?'
'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venice.'

'Mummy, can you buy me this book?'
'No, Jenny. You've got a book at home.'

'Can I order a book here?'
'Certainly, what's it called?'
'Don't know.'
'Author's name?'
'Don't know.'
'Publisher? ISBN?'
'Don't know.'
'Okay, what's it about?'
'Don't know. Can you get a copy?'
People are the worst.
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#12
I remember my first encounter with the Frankfurt Book Fair, as a new agent. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why the Agent’s Centre had guards outside, to keep publishers away! Turns out that only people with appointments were allowed inside - and appointments were made many months beforehand. As a new agent, you want a fair to be a quick and efficient way to meet & make new publishing contacts… which is exactly what the system is designed to discourage. Broken!
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#13
@AgentPete, I always wondered about book fairs since it's a common tactic for scam agents, at least here in the USA, to tell clients they're taking their manuscript to an upcoming book fair and will pitch it to hundreds of publishers. I've since found out they don't work that way at all, correct?
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#14
Well, an agent may have dozens of appointments with publishers, that’s pretty much how the system works. For legit, busy publishers (and agents) book fairs are mostly one appointment after another, showing off their current catalogues. So your scam agents aren’t entirely wrong. However, no publisher would fill up their diary meeting people like that, simply because they don’t have anything worth buying.
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#15
Well, an agent may have dozens of appointments with publishers, that’s pretty much how the system works. For legit, busy publishers (and agents) book fairs are mostly one appointment after another, showing off their current catalogues. So your scam agents aren’t entirely wrong. However, no publisher would fill up their diary meeting people like that, simply because they don’t have anything worth buying.
Thanks for the clarification. :)
 
#21
No excuses but severe poverty for not giving a child a new book if it loves reading. Or a golden oldie. Genre, great. Comic books, great. All reading is good reading. You can buy them for pennies. You can tell right away, whether that writer whose book you downloaded or whatever, is a reader. They'd better be, or they haven't done an apprenticeship and you won't finish that book. It's funny how childhood reading, old books, come back without warning to haunt you. Spring's here. Last week I saw my first bumble bee of the year - a white bottomed one. Yesterday I saw a wasp, and then this morning, Il Matrimonio discovered a bumble bee, trapped dead in a spider's web out on the balcony. Poor bee, had it been alive, he'd have tried to rescue it, but it's not fair to begrudge the spider either.

It suddenly reminded me of a novel called The Shrimp And The Anemone by LP Hartley (of The Go- Between) and its sequels, The Sixth Heaven, and Eustace and Hilda.

Eustace tries to save a shrimp from being eaten by an anemone, but the shrimp is already too damaged, and then he damages the anemone too, in trying to pull the shrimp free. It's a metaphor for his relationship with his beautiful, dominating older sister Hilda...

Eustace is the shrimp.
 
#22
I went along with the full expectation of feeling the outcast. And it didn't disappoint :)

I visited twice - Wednesday & Thursday. I only went on Wednesday to get a feel for it - discovered the seminars and the Writer's Block' area and pretty much stayed there where the seminars were held. Grabbed a Writers Digest and amused myself with all the interviews and the feel-good ..erm.. feels. It's all I had to keep me pumped. I even got to write in that special area...was really pleased with myself. Thought, why not.

I had a meeting with BookCareers on Thursday, so by then, I had already familiarised myself with the halls...I also planned to attend two seminars on that day too (aimed at writers) preplanned this time. Managed to fit in what I planned despite feeling ill AND I got to hear Jacqueline Wilson give her 10 nuggets of wisdom. My highlight. But yeah, otherwise I felt a right old outcast. Despite using twitter to connect with the chit-chat around it. It was exhausting in many ways but one thing that really struck me really early on was how different it all was from Toy Fair. I compared it Toy Fair because it is held at the same venue.

I've exhibited in Toy Fair and visited many many times, it is a very different atmosphere. It's where all the characters from the children's books come to life and you get goody bags just for entering no such thing with the Book Fair...even the free books available looked guarded by scentinels who only offered it to those who had appointments...boo hoo me. I might be a bit spoiled as a children's writer so the anti-climax I had was er..just that underwhelming. But I did expect this as I had been before.

I wouldn't have gone if I didn't have a free ticket and also if I wasn't a nosy little wotsit.
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#23
The system needs rethinking. For a start, we ought to welcome the public in! There would still be reserved areas for the trade to do their deals in, but having lots of keen book-buyers around would add buzz... and remind us why we do what we do...
 
Top