The London Book Fair! And Small Presses

No quote today. Because I’m half-dead, having returned from London on Thursday night and still feeling the jet-lag, or time change, or post-motion sickness patch hangover. Whatever it is, it has left me pretty dumb, and with poorly functioning eyeballs. But it was worth it. Nearly two weeks of playing tour guide for Dylan and walking miles along the Thames, and eating way too much fish and chips, bangers, and mushy peas. Despite the walking I gained four pounds. So, hey, fish and chips and bangers…a plague on both your houses.

And then of course, there was the LBF:

It was a bustling and enormous trade show. Walking the floor, my head spun seeing all the displays and brushing shoulders with so many people tagged with titles like Acquiring Editor and Subrights Agent. I spent several hours at a small booth, promoting my small press book, Sleepwalk Society. Never heard of it? Don’t worry. Few people have. Despite the fact that I and my small press have been quietly pushing it for months, and despite good reviews. It’s not one of those big, slam bang blockbusters. It’s existential, and character-driven. it’s about finding a future, and falling in love when neither of those things are certain.

A few things about small, independent presses. I remember being at a writer’s conference in Madison, Wisconsin, and listening to an agents panel. I only remember one exact quote, and that was an agent who sometimes advised her clients to consider a smaller press, because "you can really be treated like a star." That’s certainly been the case with my small press publisher. Working so closely, directly with the publisher themselves, has a very, in-the-trenches-together kind of feel. And for a significant portion of the year, my book has been front and center, and she has scrambled, and managed, and micro-managed, and forged contacts, and tested waters, to make sure that everything went smoothly for me. 

Now, after a lovely phone call this morning, it feels as though we’re at an end. We’re both moving on to our new projects, and the word, "backlist" was thrown around. She’s still working diligently, shopping film rights, -so hey, Darren Aronofsky, you listening?- but most of the push is over. And my focus too, is shifting more fully to Anna Dressed in Blood. But we’ll still keep in touch.

This is not to say I don’t love the team at Tor. Duh. They’re awesome. This is just a little love letter to PRA Publishing, thrown out into cyberspace.

There was also some post-writing location research at the Tower of London, and some of the north London neighborhoods, just to make sure I hadn’t gotten anything horribly wrong. And luckily, my memory seemed to have held true. Location research for what, you ask? Well, you can probably guess.

And, lest I forget, Dylan realized one of his lifelong goals, by touching a penguin:

The penguin seemed more surprised than anything. Of course then he gave us the stinkeye and muttered, "damn tourists," before waddling off.


2 thoughts on “The London Book Fair! And Small Presses

  1. samarajensen

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip! From what I’ve read both here and elsewhere, the London Book Fair sounds like it was fabulous this year! Plus, that penguin is just too cute! ; D

    1. kendare_blake

      The book fair definitely made my eyes go buggy. And you know, I never found those kinds of penguins cute before…but now they’re adorable. His expression was just so, “I have never!”


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