Friday, April 18, 2008

Going to the fair

Went down to meet my editors at the London Book Fair this week. It was frenetic. I had to wear a badge saying "writer". I felt like a walking snack. The fair is not really for writers, apart from one or two big name ones who make key-note speeches, it is for the business end of books - the agents, the publishers, the money men. I think they all drink too much coffee because they all seemed to be buzzing - perhaps it is because they are in such close confines with their competitors. I was meeting my French and Italian editors at my agent's stand in a section called International Rights (which involves selling the rights to publish a book abroad. That is to say you are selling the same thing over and over again which is what you call a good trick if you can manage it). Consequently, this section is full of earnest Europeans hunched over tables anxious not to miss the "next big thing" but struggling to understand if they should indeed buy that book about Gothic cathedrals in Lincolnshire. I was thoroughly intimidated by the whole event. I do not think I know enough people - everywhere I looked agents were kissing scouts were kissing publishers. It seems to be quite a kissy business. And they were all on this incredibly tight schedule of back to back half hour meetings with each other. This made even the simplest thing like going to the toilet obviously quite stressful courtesy of the large, time-consuming queues. I heard one woman go into her meeting saying: "It's alright, I pretended to be disabled." You have to be quite ruthless to do that.

15 comments:

Swearing Mother said...

Using the disabled loo's - so desperate for a wee. I was working at the NEC at the Clothes Show one year, many more women were then than men so the queues for the ladies was miles long.

Eventually those desperate enough went to the gents, which was an amusing experience in itself.

Well, the French do it, don't they?

Sarah said...

It always seems so daft, that a queue will form at the ladies' toilets, when the door to the disabled facilities stands open, the cubicle empty.
Like, what's the worst thing that can happen?
You open the door, relieved and happier, to the outside world, to find a person, sat in a wheelchair, in a puddle of their own pee, crying with embarrassment, surrounded by members of your family, and the world's press, all looking at you, like you did something BAD?
I've used the blokes' before.
And there wasn't even a queue...
I jest.

girl with the mask said...

Quite ruthless?! I'd go with VERY!

girlinthemask x

barb said...

I was in a lift at the Book Fair and an editor (who just happens to be the scariest woman on the planet)leaned in to read my badge.
If she had spoken I would probably have keeled over.

One message I kept getting was that more authors should attend especially as members of the Society of Authors can go free.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

I went to one of these, just once, with a partner-in-crime, when we were hoping to get a book concept accepted by someone (anyone!). I remember wearing that "writer" label and being completely ignored! It was a thoroughly terrifying experience, and I remember the frenetic atmosphere. You are at least on the good end of it - and I'm sure it will all be fine. M xx

Rosie said...

I'm jealous, I really wanted to go. We were in London the weekend before so we were travelling home while everyone else was arriving. We really planned that badly. Maybe next year!

Frog in the Field said...

I couldn't face going, the appointment system seemed too frantic for words, with book companies desperate to sell me three lorry loads of books. I stayed at home with my piglets and a cup of tea, oh and my gorgeous children and husband, of course!

Susanna said...

Tee hee. I apply the logic that if there isn't anybody waiting for the disabled loo, then what's wrong with using it? Though when I used the same logic to nip into the pharmacist's here in France for 30 seconds (aching head, sore throat, desperate for paracetamol etc.) an irate elderly gentleman on the pavement told me it isn't the time that counts, but "LA MORALE". gulp

Expatmum said...

Hmm, I have obviously been in the States too long as it seems ridiculous to ignore the diabled loo if it's empty. If you have a small child with you, the other cubicles are often so small that the disabled loo is the only option.

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Semaj Mahgih said...

If you were desperate for a wee, you could be considered disabled and would therefore qualify.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

gosh, it's not a walk in the park finding fame is it? I hope you wore those lovely red shoes pictured on the US version of your book...or did you go in the wellies, like going in character? Maybe you'll need lots more coffee to survive the ordeal...but then that will make you need a wee. Did you ever see that Japanese creation for female urinals? Like a cup shaped as a cone which attached to a long pipe which presumably attached to the soil pipe...the cone was placed... know what? I'm going to spare you the details
Pigx

Pam said...

If the loo is empty I use it too. Actually I'm not scared on being told off by a genuinely disabled person when I come out as much as I am by a busy-body, so I always "speed wee".
The fair sounded horrible. Horrible but worthwhile?

Single Mother on the Verge said...

Tasty snack! that's tickled me for days.

Sandra Montgomery said...

You know, I have always felt that the disabled stall in the loo should not get the same treatment as a disabled parking spot at the mall. If you park in that spot when you are not disabled then you are perhaps causing someone who should be able to use that space to have to park far away and walk or limp or wheelchair it up to the mall. But in a loo, you are in there for a minute at the most. And the disabled can wait their turn like everyone else. It's just there because they may need more space or the bar to help themselves up. Not because they have to pee worse than anyone else in the line. I use the disabled one all the time because I hate how close the door can be to the toilet sometimes in the regular stall, forcing me to back up right against it to get in and out.