Having been away from frontline publishing for a few years, Camilla found it reassuring that in some ways not much has changed at Bologna. The stands are still in the same halls and in the same spots as they’ve always been and many of the same figures still stalk the aisles, guard the front desks and then – off-duty and more lubricated – mingle, gossip and flirt at the pink bar.
But in terms of Camilla’s personal experience of the fair, 2010 could not have been more different from the years before. Previously she’d been there with big companies and part of a great big gang of sales people, editors and designers. On a big, smart stand, with shelves of books and artworked panels, she’d felt established, confident, invincible. But as the two Nosy Crows lugged their rucksacks of handmade, homemade dummies, proofs, and catalogues past the big corporate stands that first Tuesday morning to a single, tiny table on the PA stand, Camilla found herself identifying with the snail from The Snail and the Whale. She felt very, very small.
But the crows unpacked their books, opened their folders and started their meetings. Sometimes they shared meetings and Camilla enjoyed watching Kate get back into her sales stride. Sometimes Camilla had a crack at selling herself, a new experience. It wasn’t as easy as Kate made it look, that was for sure, but having worked on every project on the list and feeling passionately committed to each of them, she did find it easy to be enthusiastic about them.
By the end of the first day, it was clear that she needn’t have worried: Nosy Crow was attracting lots of attention, both from old contacts and new.
Over the course of the week most of the big guns of the major international publishers had come a-callin’, and some were sending their colleagues back for a second look at the list. What Camilla hadn’t anticipated was the number of well-wishers, mostly people who we have worked with before, but also new friends, who dropped in just to cheer us on.
Meetings with agents, illustrators and freelancers were squeezed in between sales meetings: it was good to re-establish connections and make new ones. Camilla spotted several illustrators she’d like to bring to the list, and now, post-Bologna, the texts and images are flooding in, so hopefully we’ll be able to make some pairings shortly.
All in all, it was a great fair. Roll on, Frankfurt!