Bologna follow-up takes a while for publishers and even for writers but a nice part of the aftermath was this photo from Japan. It shows Rhiannon Lassiter (L) and me (R) on either side of our editor Kyoko from Shogakukan. It was taken with Kyoko's camera after a very good meal hosted by Frances Lincoln on the Tuesday night. A lot of "business" is done over dinners, lunches, drinks and coffees at the Fair. It's easy to dismiss it as expense-account schmoozing but actually the one-to-one human interaction is worth a forest of letters and e-mails.
As literary agent David Miller puts it in the current issue of the London Library Magazine, "Frankly, at the moment we should lunch more." Miller, who works at Rogers, Coleridge and White - my agents, adds "- but cheaply." His piece is accompanied by a Martin Rowson cartoon of a large agent reaching over to slice 10% off the steak on his skinny client's plate, though Miller is thinking more of a "£4 bacon sandwich at the local pub." I've never met David Miller for lunch or anything else and as a vegetarian wouldn't eat a steak or a bacon sandwich, but I agree in principle.
Writing in the Bookseller, Katie Coyne said the fair was looking for the Holy Grail - fiction for girls. She quoted Julia Wells, Faber's head of children's fiction, as saying, "I think horror will be around for a while" and that most publishers, even if a bit saturated with vampire romances, were still taking werewolves or angels.
If Jon Malinowski has his way, there will be a chance in the future to acquire and sell rights in a kind of virtual Bologna. I met him on the American Combined Book Exhibition Stand, where he was launching www.pubmatch.org I know it sounds like Quiz Night at your Local but it's a very good idea - a website to put writers, artists, publishers and agents in touch with one another in cyberspace. It will certainly beat lugging your portfolio round on the off chance of a meeting, if you are an illustrator.
Mind you, it's not easy to register. Like so many other sites, it asks you for all your information and then stalls at the last hurdle. But I succeeded. It took me several goes to register with www.redroom.com and many e-mails between me and redroom support before it worked. I hope it will be worth it; it's another cyber meetingplace for writers and bloggers.