The Book Fair that never was - A London Book Fair that the publishing world will not forget (or wish to repeat)

I’m back from a very subdued London Book Fair caused by the lack of visitors because of the volcanic ash crisis. I needn’t have worried what to wear because nobody was there! OK, so gross exaggeration but then I am a writer! It was an interesting fair though and one that I doubt anyone who was exhibiting or intending to exhibit will forget. Empty stands and empty aisles were very much in evidence and the International Rights Centre was like a ghost town. The Fair is still running today but most of the business is usually done on the Monday and Tuesday so it must be eerily empty save for the media and creative writing students wandering the empty halls.

Outside of the Fair we had an interesting journey on Sunday to London from Portsmouth in a train packed with refugees from the ash – those who had been stranded in Europe who had made their way by various means, (hire car and trains) across the continent to board a ferry to Portsmouth. One family were steadily and wearily making their way to Stansted airport to collect their car for a further four hour journey before reaching home. They looked a very tired and bedraggled bunch.

At the Union Jack Club at Waterloo, (a service personnel and ex-service personnel club) where we stay when in town, we met a delightful American couple who had been holidaying in Ireland and needed to return to their home, an American forces base near Munich in Germany. They had caught a ferry from Ireland, train to London and the next day were travelling on the Eurostar to Paris and then by train back to their home in Germany, a long and tortuous journey. I was delighted to meet them though because it turned out the American mystery author Carolyn Hart was their aunt. What a coincidence!

And as to the Fair itself? Although all my overseas agents couldn’t make it, I still had some great appointments and time to catch up with friends and colleagues in the world of publishing. I had a very productive meeting with my business book publisher, Crimson, who has great things planned for their business titles including my current three, which I am pleased to say are doing very well: Successful Sales, Successful Marketing and Successful Customer Service.

I also had a good meeting with my fiction editor. He is eagerly awaiting the manuscript of the next Inspector Andy Horton marine mystery crime novel, which I rashly promised him the end of this month, little realising it is only a week away.

I met the buyer from Waterstones and The Book Depository, who are extremely supportive of my crime fiction. And I met a couple of fans of my Andy Horton series, one a delightful French lady who is very keen to see them translated into French.

It was an interesting Fair, and it’s always good to get a blast of London every now again. But equally it’s always nice to come home to the sea. And now that I’m back it’s down to some serious writing to meet that looming deadline.


caffeinenights said…
Hi Pauline, Lovely to catch up with you and I agree with your comments about LBF this year. It was no short of a complete waste of time and the organisers should have made the bold decision to cancel or reschedule. It looks like Frankfurt may prove to be the big winner when the volcanic dust settles. Darren

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