This was my second visit to the London Book Fair and I was a bit more focused this time but the whole show is so darn BIG and COLOURFUL and NOISY it is hard to avoid getting swept away by it all. It is a great opportunity to meet people face to face and to explore some of the new ideas and (especially) new technologies that might transform our industry. This is more than just the seemingly inexorable rise of the e-book in all its forms. There are interactive texts, multi-media options, games that are more like stories and stories reading and presented as games.
One particularly interesting area for a writer is the use of electronic communication to meet readers, promote books and share ideas. This is a very exciting time with a lot of new opportunities but it also demands a bit more work on the part of the writer. It’s not enough to simply tweet the equivalent of “buy my book!” twice a day. Actually, that was never enough but leaving that aside, this has great potential but takes a lot of time and effort. Am I writing at the moment? Well, you’re reading this so you tell me…
And the Book Fair? One of the most exciting roller-coaster trips I’ve had in a while. It was great to meet up with the lovely people who run Impress Books and publish the “Alex Hastings” series. Some really interesting talks and ingenious presentations and there was a real buzz of excitement about the place. But nowhere to sit down! Oh, I was so tired half-way down Wednesday. Perhaps the theory is if people are sitting down then they are not visiting the stalls but hey, this is a book fair. People meet and talk, exchange ideas and look at books, covers, handouts – this is part of the delight of a book fair. Maybe next year, in Olympia, there will be a bit more seating and perhaps a quiet area.
Books are exciting but sometimes they are best savoured in a little harbour of calm.