Friday, April 04, 2008

Getting ready

I'm sort of getting excited about the London Book Fair. We've done our rights guide, we've designed our posters (and printed them) for the stand, and here are three for you to admire.

We have printed most of our Autumn books, and advances will be on the stand. The major production here was Victoria & Lucinda's Flavour of the Month - 275 x 210 mm (over 10 inches tall to those who like to visualise in imperial) with full page photographs by the talented Mark Cator.

Rhyll McMaster won the prestigious Barabra Jefferis award in Australia for FEATHER MAN, and we are working very hard to get her to a festival here. We have teamed up with the Literary Ventures Fund in the USA, who pick 6 or so books from independent presses a year, and back them with increased marketing and publicity. It's a new way of working - if the book sells then we repay the investment, like venture capitalists. When they picked FEATHER MAN, I was interviewed by phone, and it was exaclty like being in the Dragon's Den - totally draining and every term depended on my immediate response.

And we've also signed our contract with 2waytraffic who develop Who Wants to be A Millionaire and You Are What You Eat for This May Help You Understand the World, so it becomes a major TV brand. We are hoping that Lawrence Potter can be the presenter, and we are tinkering with the follow up book.

The Concubine of Shanghai by Hong Ying will be in a £7.99 format by July to tie in with the Olympics, having sold so well in C format (unusual but true - ask Waterstone's!).

Our sales kits have arrived in the USA and the only way I can cope with doing them is piece meal - so over 3 or 4 weeks they gradually take shape in the office. I have the same approach to building the list - mid August is a flashing beacon in my mind, since by then I need a new American list for 2009 fully formed and contracted, with covers arrived at after many, many versions in house, so the book hits its market.

Not all is totally fabulous - we are still waiting for reviews of Spring books, and can see that some large publishers have similar problems. But I think small can be beautiful, since success here goes a long, long way.

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