October and Frankfurt goes hand in hand. Whilst the publishing world pretends to moan about having to travel to the fair, and how it nearly always rains, and it’s definitely nowhere near as good as Bologna, it is still exciting to think about walking the halls, seeing the many amazing books coming to market, and catching up with friends and acquaintances.
This year it’s very different! Not least because the world has changed and we’re having to experience a virtual Frankfurt Book Fair. But also, because this time, I am on the other side of the table.
I used to have the easy job. I could turn up to appointments, glance at catalogues and afford to be really selective in the books I was choosing to buy, before moving on to the next stand and my next diet coke!
This year, however, 14 Noodle Fuel books are going to Frankfurt under the care of the amazing and supportive Little Tiger Rights and Sales teams. I have sent off hi-res pdfs, and work-in-progress covers. I have agonised over which spreads to feature in the electronic catalogue, and presented our books to the team. I’m frankly excited and terrified in equal measure.
Will customers like what we’ve created? Will they get our humour? What about the art style and design? Our creations are about to be launched into the harsh and unforgiving light of Frankfurt Book Fair and I’m not 100% sure I want to know how they fare…
It feels quite comfortable in the creative bubble working with illustrators and writers and I am enjoying that hugely. However, if I want the business to grow and for us to be able to continue creating books, we need to understand what the market thinks and face up to commercial reality.
One thing I do know – it’s hard work being this side of the fence – something I don’t think I ever really fully appreciated in the past.
So while I sit here, back in Oxfordshire, and wait for the Little Tiger team to hopefully work their magic, I would just like to say thank you very much to all those rights and sales people who have unflaggingly presented books to me and listened to my glib comments about covers over the years.
You do an amazing job, even if it is going to be a virtual one this year!