Was it already a week ago that we waved goodbye to Earls Court? I’m still not caught up on sleep.
By plane and by train, Adriann and I arrived in London in our best business casual for 42 meetings in three days, from April 8th to the 10th, plus a few extra after that. By the end of day two, we were finishing each other’s pitches.
Without the usual frenzy surrounding one or two big, buzzy books this year, UK editors seemed relieved to widen their focus, even while the market there (as in the US) is tightening. We learned that YA is tough without a movie deal (thankfully we have some of those), dystopia and solo-ANZ rights are out, crime fiction is in, and Random House has one heckuva marketing team who, tying into their new titles, offered an intricate floral cake, fortune cookies, and gummy cherries.
We met sharp editors who know exactly what they want, including some cool ladies we wished we could hang out with more. “Perch” was the word of the fair, especially around the limited but delightfully color-coded chairs of the Hachette booth. (There was much more room to spread out in the Little, Brown offices on Friday: are those victrolas in the atrium?)
In the evenings, we saw the international publishing band Half on Signature jam at a pub near Queens Park, partied at RCW’s labrynthine office in Notting Hill, opted not to crash the Canongate party, and then burst out of the convention center on Thursday evening, discovered that the sky had been blue all week, and had our last meetings over drinks before gathering with others at the Atlas pub to toast the closing day.
On Friday we bade farewell to London with suitcases stuffed with catalogs, business cards and tote bags, happy in the knowledge that a good story is always trendy, even in British.