Yesterday evening, the Independent Publishers Guild held its tenth annual awards ceremony. It’s a great occasion that celebrates a vibrant, inventive, innovative and diverse community of publishers of many kinds, and we’ve had both a lot of fun and more than our fair share of triumphs in previous years.
I was there with Ola, who was shortlisted for Young Independent Publisher of the Year, and, thanks to the generosity of our distributors, GBS, Tom (who won Young Independent Publisher of the Year last year, and who has been closely involved with projects in two of the other categories in which we were shortlisted, Digital Publishing and Digital marketing).
Of course, now I wish that we’d managed to bring everyone from Nosy Crow to help us celebrate.
Because, first of all, we won the IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year. Amazingly, this is our third win in the five years in which we’ve been eligible to enter. We won in 2012, 2013 and this year, and were shortlisted in 2014 and 2015, when we lost out to Usborne and Walker respectively. Frankly, looking at the shortlist – and I know I have said this before, but this is really the case – I was not expecting to win. Also on the shortlist were Bloomsbury (who’d had a fantastic year last year, revivifying the Harry Potter brand and enjoying success with John Green’s Paper Towns, among other things); Quarto, whose launch of gorgeous non-fiction books under their new Wide Eyed Editions imprint we’ve watched with huge admiration from a distance, and Barrington Stoke, a company that I think is great, as they increase access to books for children who have difficulty reading. My money, had there been money at stake, was not on us, and, actually, as I was live-tweeting the awards, I had a tweet with my favourite to win drafted and ready to send.
But we won!
And that was incredibly exciting. It’s SUCH a great award to win. It’s a fantastic acknowledgement and validation of all the hard work of everyone in the Nosy Crow team. It’s a great recognition of the talents of our current authors and illustrators and – who knows? – might attract others. It instils confidence in customers in the UK and internationally: we’ve won many awards in our five years of publishing, and we notice publishers who are potential customers at book fairs taking photographs of the list we display on our book fair stands and coming back to ask for appointments. And in fact already this morning we’ve had two requests for Bologna Book Fair appointments from companies we haven’t dealt with previously.
The IPG said: “Nosy Crow wins here for the third time in five years, and grew its sales again in 2015. As well as strong front and backlist sales, it promoted itself vigorously via apps, masterclasses and free children’s book groups. ‘Nosy Crow clearly has huge passion for its books, and it has been very good at building services around its publishing,’ judges said. They also admired its partnerships with the National Trust and British Museum, its care of staff and charitable work.”
Then the evening got better.
The winners of the five publishing category awards – Children’s, Trade, Education, Academic/Professional, Specialist Consumer and Newcomer – go forward to be judged against one another for an overall award, the Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year award. While we’re very immersed in the world of children’s books, and don’t know much about, say, academic publishing, we knew that one of the contenders, One World, had published many prestigious award-winners, including the Man Booker winner, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. So, again, we didn’t think we had a chance of winning.
But when Peter Faber, partner at Fox Williams (the legal firm that sponsors the award) and one of the judges, began speaking about a company that had achieved strong sales and brand recognition in just five years, I started to feel a bit peculiar – just a little bit teary and shaky.
I cannot make myself prepare acceptance speeches – it feels presumptuous and jinx-y – so neither of the short ones I gave were models of eloquence, I am afraid. When we won the Children’s Publisher of the Year award, I thanked the IPG (the organisation, and the community), the judges, the Nosy Crow team and our brilliant authors and illustrators. This time, I mentioned Ola and Tom specifically (it was very good to have other Crows with me to share the moment). And I also mentioned (maybe more indulgently, but, hell, when else will I ever have this chance?) Adrian, our commercial director and my husband, whose astonishing capacity for hard work, much of it deeply dreary and repetitive; decades of publishing knowledge; and carefully calibrated combination of enthusiasm and caution are the unobtrusive rocks on which Nosy Crow is built.
The IPG said: “Nosy Crow won the overall Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year Award for its remarkably rapid and well-managed growth since launching, driven by outstanding print and digital content. Judges admired its very high standards of production, maximisation of backlist and truly global approach to sales. Excellent digital marketing, a focus on social responsibility and an ability to forge publishing partnerships also stood out. ‘Nosy Crow has a terrific brand and a very impressive knowledge of its market,’ said the judges. ‘It is a superb all-rounder and a resolutely independent publisher.'”
Thanks to everyone who’s contributed in whatever way over the last five years to our success.
Ola, Kate and Tom with our awards
Tom and Kate standing – some might say hubristically – in front of a photograph of themselves at last year’s awards
You can read the full list of IPG Award winners here.
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