At the eleventh hour (literally: just before midnight) on 19 September, we managed to sneak in our entry for the Growing Business Awards Young Company of the Year Award… and 10 days later, Growing Business announced that we were shortlisted.
As I’ve said, we are HUGELY proud of our industry-specific awards, but there’s something fantastically exciting about representing the publishing industry in more general business awards. So many people outside the industry think that publishing is dead or dying, and it’s great to point out that it isn’t. Children’s publishing is in remarkably good shape, and print in this sector in particular is remarkably resilient. In these awards, we know that we’re up against some remarkably impressive new companies, so it’s pretty daunting and I wouldn’t suggest you rush off to place your bets on us at William Hill, but it’s great to have got this far.
The fly in this ointment is that it turns out that this is the kind of award for which shortlisted candidates have to be interviewed in London. This is pretty scary in itself, but the interviews all take place on the Thursday of next week’s Frankfurt Book Fair. As soon as we knew we were shortlisted, we had to move 12 of my appointments with publishers from around the world to the very few other slots we have available on our action packed schedule (we currently have 138 pre-booked appointments across three days for three of us – some of them booked as long ago as June). Luckily, we’ve managed to make it all work out, so I will be flying back to London on Wednesday evening, and then out again at 11.45am on Thursday morning… in time for a 3.30pm meeting in Frankfurt on the same day. It would be terrific to win this award, of course, but selling books at Frankfurt is what really matters next week.
I wrote about the importance of book fairs to Nosy Crow way back. For several weeks, Frankfurt’s been the most important thing in our collective Nosy Crow heads. On Monday, Ola and I did the Ikea run to buy bookshelves and cabinets for the stand, which are shipped out with our finished copies. And next Monday, there will be a final pick-up of the proofs and the dummies that are steadily accumulating in our meeting room. It is a real thrill each time a parcel arrives in the office: we hope it’ll be proofs of a new book. Will, who usually works from home outside London was caught up in the excitement when gorgeous bound proofs of Box arrived on Monday when he happened to be in: “I’ve never seen a new book arrive before!”
So, wish us luck for the award, but, more importantly, wish us luck for the Frankfurt Book Fair.