London Book Fair
I said I'd fill you in on the London Book Fair, so here goes. First it's all much bigger and slicker than I'd expected - security men in sharp suits, no queuing for the coffee or the cloakrooms. The ground floor is full of stands, everything very professional and glossy, but I was just passing through, up to the first floor and the International Rights Centre, a huge screened area, a world of its own. Imagine an enormous exam room, rows and rows of tables and chairs, each table with its own locker and a sign bearing the name of its occupant, an overseas publisher or agent or scout. Despite the size and intimidating nature of the place, I felt immeditately at home there, because walking down the long straight aisles all the overheard talk was of books. This is a market place where people pitch and trade in stories.
I was there with Sara, my agent, to meet people I only knew by email. And the European agents and publishers were a joy. First there was Jan Michael, Sara's associate for Scandinavia, a crime fiction enthusiast, with a huge smile even after three days of constant talking! Then Ing-Britt from Bonniers in Sweden, fascinating on how she came to buy Raven Black for their list, even before it had received any recognition here. And delighted now by the sales it had achieved. And my Norwegian publisher, who told me that they'd held back publication until spring 2008, because in Norway people like to read crime over Easter - see John Baker's blog on this. How would I feel about coming to Bergen for the launch? Maybe we could tie in a trip to Denmark and Sweden too? So next year it'll be spring in Scandinavia.
My French and German publishers were enthusiastic too. Marcus from Rowohlt explained their plans for the launch of RAVEN BLACK in January. Perhaps we might arrange a visit? Belfond in France will do an initial book club run of TELLING TALES in the winter, but if I'm coming to France in early April. perhaps they'll do HIDDEN DEPTHS then...
So there'll be lots of travelling next year. Just as well I bought an annual insurance policy.
Tuesday brought a chance to meet Moses, Sara's US agent. He's been doing great work talking up the Shetland series to my publisher there and has useful editorial in-put too. I had Tuesday afternoon off - a walk along the south bank in the sunshine to clear my head. In Earl's Court they were all still talking.
On Wednesday I met my Finnish and Danish publishers, a charming married couple, obviously passionate about books. And the Japanese agent from Tuttle Mori, and my old friend Sefan Maat from Bruna in Holland. Then back to King's Cross and home. To the real business of writing.