Last night Nosy Crow won two Nibbies – two British Book Awards, which get their nickname from the trophies given to winners that are in the shape of golden nibs.
We won one for Export (for companies with an export sales value of under £10 million). It’s the second time we’ve won this award – we won it last year too. It’s another validation, though, honestly, none is needed, of our successful building of an export department led by Catherine Stokes, Nosy Crow’s head of sales and marketing, over the last few years. I hope that Catherine won’t mind me saying that, before we moved export in-house (previously, we’d used a couple of external agencies) she had had no direct experience of export (though a lot of experience of UK selling), but she couldn’t have thrown herself into her new responsibility with greater vigour or commitment, travelling the world – when such things were possible! – to learn markets and build relationships. That intensive work stood us in such good stead in the course of the last year, while meeting face-to-face with our customers has been impossible. We are so grateful for their support and enthusiasm for the books we make. We are also particularly grateful for the hard work and advice of Peter Newsom, an export sales consultant, to whom we hung on for as long as we could, though we now have an in-house specialist, Damon Greeney, as our export manager, who started at the beginning of 2021. Maddie Price has been an invaluable support throughout too.
The Bookseller reports that Nosy Crow “won the prize for Export (under £10m) for the second time in a row ‘after another exceptional year of exports’, judges said. The indie’s decision to switch to direct management of exports paid off significantly in 2020, its 10th anniversary year. It added more than £1m to overseas sales despite the massive disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
We won another Nibbie for Rights Team of the Year. For the first time, the judges split the rights professional of the year prize between an individual winner and a team. That we won as a team is a reflection of the way that so many of Nosy Crow’s sales are made. A lot of our books are full-colour books – baby board books, picture books and illustrated non-fiction – and the way that they become financially viable is for us to be able to put together print runs and reprint runs from all over the world, so a co-ordinated approach is critical: it’s no good to sell a book to a German publisher for delivery in May and to the Netherlands in July – you have to get both publishers to compromise on a June delivery and you’ve got to work together with your rights colleagues to reach that compromise.
The Bookseller reports that “the Nosy Crow rights team of Michela Pea, Erin Murgatroyd and Núria Martí Pampalona and Lucy Dunnet enjoyed ‘another stellar year of international trading’ and were dubbed ‘a rights machine’ by judges. A Covid strategy of focusing on core customers and co-edition deals and exploiting the backlist was successful, also establishing several dozen new partnerships. Judges noted that the award also belongs to Nosy Crow’s rights manager Ola Gotkowska.”
We are very proud that Camilla Reid was again shortlisted for Editor of the Year, particularly given that the pre-school books that she creates with illustrators were such drivers of the success of the export and rights teams, and so contributed hugely to those wins. We are also proud that, as a company, Nosy Crow was shortlisted for Children’s Publisher of the Year, an award we won in both 2017 and 2019.
While it wasn’t an evening of control underwear and pinchy-toed high-heels at the Dorchester, we felt we have much to celebrate in our 10th birthday year, and we hope that we’ll be able to do so in the coming months.