Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Friday, 24 April 2009

The London Book Fair: Sodom Or Shangra-La?

I spent most of this week at the London Book Fair, a massive meeting of agents, publishers, and printers from around the world. It was a truly international fair. Englishmen gave sales pitches in Mandarin, Arabs chatted in Norwegian, and the freebies included everything from Saudi dates to Icelandic postcards. Books can really bring the world together. Or is it money that brings the world together? Whatever.

I must say some aspects of the fair bothered me. Business suits were far more in evidence than tweed jackets, and I didn't see anyone reading anything other than a contract until lunchtime of my second day. Then I saw a woman actually reading a book! Surrounded by this feverish buying and selling of writing talent, I felt like pulling a Christ-in-the-temple move and throwing the moneylenders out, shouting "Get thee to a library!"

Mixed literary metaphors aside, the fair gave me a quick education in the sheer immensity of the publishing world. It also gave me a new appreciation for the business end of the process. If it wasn't for these folks, my books wouldn't be for sale anywhere, and wouldn't be available in several different countries. I had an enjoyable and productive time, as you can read in my other blog, and I'll be posting more about the fair in this blog and that one.

Next time: trying to scam a free press trip without knowing Russian.

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