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Modjaji Books

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Fantastic Publishers’ Training for 2010 LBF

Last week about 20 publishers/ book trade people spent 3 days at Roodevallei, north of Pretoria, getting into gear for the London Book Fair. Jane Henshall, the South Africa Market Focus Co-ordinator, organised one of the best training experiences I have ever had. The venue was fabulous, comfortable rooms, with free wifi access, the food was divine, in fact too delicious and it was quite hard to eat in a restrained fashion. I don’t think we could have had a better facilitator than Sheila Lambie, of Oxford Brookes University Publishing Studies, a wonderful woman with years of experience in the UK book trade. Sheila worked us very hard, into the night on the Thursday night, but every minute was worth it. (The only thing that wasn’t absolutely spot on was the weather, it was like Cape Town in winter, only worse.)

Amy Webster, of the London Book Fair was there too, to give us hands on advice about the logistics and practicalities of what we need to do to get ourselves to the Fair. I learnt so much from Sheila, Amy and the other participants, that I felt very full and a little overwhelmed after the workshop. But now that I am back at my desk and have started to tackle some of the tasks, and to think strategically about the LBF, I’m feeling really excited.

WhiplashI’m planning to select the publishers I want to meet very carefully to pitch rights sales to them. I’m going to pore over the professional seminar programme and choose a few key sessions to attend. Cory Doctorow is a presenter, I certainly won’t miss his session if I can help it. I plan to meet Alexander Leborg of Minuskel forlag who has bought the Norwegian rights to Whiplash by Tracey Farren.

The London Book Fair, a focused trade fair, seems to me to be quite different – tougher, more demanding, but also a giant step into making Modjaji Books sustainable, than our Cape Town Book Fair, a selling fair. The LBF needs careful planning, and I need to set my agenda, my strategic goals and stick to them as far as possible, allowing a little room for serendipity. Before the Roodevallei experience the LBF seemed very far away, now it seems all too soon.

I still can’t quite believe how lucky Modjaji Books and I am to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to be sponsored to go to the London Book Fair, and to be given a stand too, when South Africa is the Market Focus country and when South Africa is on people’s minds because of the 2010 soccer world cup.

Debra Primo and Glenn CowleyTim Richman and Ndumiso Ngcobo Jane Henshall, Karen Brodie and Amy Webster

Some of the people who were at the training included Debra Primo of UKZN Press, Tim Richman of Two Dogs, Jane Henshall, Amy Webster and Karen Brodie (British Council).

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Tim</a>
    November 27th, 2009 @11:06 #

    Well said, Colleen. Agree with just about everything you said there. Looking forward to LBF now...

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    November 27th, 2009 @19:13 #

    Fantastic that small indie publishers are getting this kind of preparation and insight ahead of time. It will help you punch above your weight.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    November 28th, 2009 @08:46 #

    Yes it is fab, BTW not all the publishers were as small as Modjaji, some were much bigger, older and more established.

    There were: Wits Univ Press, Unisa Press, Pan Mac, UKZN Press, TWo Dogs, Knowledge Thirst Media, Electric Book Works, STE Publishers, Shuter and Shooter, Imisebe, Ignitehouse, On The Dot, NF Saliwa. Also at the workshop were Mandla Matyumza from the Centre for the Book and Marion Boltman from PASA.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    November 28th, 2009 @08:50 #

    And of course Rose Francis of African Perspectives Publishing


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