On 14th March I went to the London Book Fair for the first time. It has been a very interesting, although tiring, experience.
Here are the highlights.
The first seminar I attended was "Jumping the Pond", which explored ways to sell more books on the US. It was led by John E. SInclair, a New York and International sales manager at Thompson-Shore, Inc.
Here are a few of the interesting things he said:
This seminar was very informative, about writing across the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction.
From Professor Becker I learnt of the existence of ethnographic novels, in which anthropologist material is used.
From academic, activist and autor Robtel Neajai Pailey I've learnt the importance of not to make assumptions about the audience's intellectual capacity, especially if they are children. She wrote a children's book, Gbagba, on corruption, that has become part of the school curriculum in Liberia and has been read on the radio too (to honour the oral tradition of her country).
Finally, from author Lara Pawson I've learnt the importance of writing in the form one feels is appropriate for the content, even if it means crossing the boundaries between genres like she did in her books: "In The Name Of The People", which is a collection of memories on the Angolan massacre occured on 27th May 1977, from eyewitnesses, victims and perpetrators (not a history book or a novel); and "This Is The Place To Be", which is series of snapshots of her life that doesn't fall into the category "memoir".
According to Lara Pawson, books in bookshops shouldn't be divided into genres, because in this way many readers are excluded from books they may like, and I agree with her. They should be dispayed only in alphabetical order!