Do you believe in coincidences? An interesting thing happened on my trip to the London Book Fair.
Strangers on a train … Okay, it’s a movie title. Yesterday it was as relevant as any trip on a big UK express. A long, thin tube full of people, who don’t know each other, charging south as the landscape, towns and weather changes in the flat-screen windows.
I ended up sharing a four person table. Opposite me an industrious woman pounded away on her laptop. She barely lifted her head for a couple of hours except to eat some food, eyes still glued to the screen. Once or twice her mobile pinged and was lifted for scrutiny; a tapped reply, then back to work.
When her phone rang, she settled back in her seat, read the caller ID and, face relaxing, she started a conversation.
Trains aren’t the best place in the world to talk on a mobile. I didn’t listen hard, but I couldn’t help overhearing some key words: ‘writers’, ‘Book Fair’. Who or what was she? Author? Publisher? Agent? I decided to find out. When the call ended, I introduced myself and our shared destination. She was only one Scotland’s best known Literary Agents … in fact she rejected me a few years back.
We had a pleasant conversation. This is what I learned:
Don’t be offended: Authors (product creators) are often cold-shouldered by agents and some publishers at LBF. Nothing personal … only business. The main focus is selling rights.
Big Change is afoot: With technology and delivery improvements comes huge opportunity … for some.
Advances are lower: GBP 20k is the new GBP 70k. That puts Literary Agents under pressure.
I think that one of the major pressures is Change. Agents are just as affected as authors. In fact all of this industry are under pressure.
My travelling partner seemed surprised that, with a publisher on board, I’d seek a Literary Agent. I’ll explain why in another post. Right now I better get my kilt on and head off for my first taste of the London Book Fair. Stay tuned.
PS: if you use Blogger on the iPad write your text somewhere else. I lost the first half of this …
© Mac Logan
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