So I finally have a moment to talk a little about the successes of Bologna this year! Why only just now? Because we've been working so hard getting back to clients on all of our meetings and sending them the artist material that they desired!
In our digital world it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the real value of face to face meetings. When we can ping over an artist folio to a client with the quick type of an email why do we still continue to visit clients at book fairs? Well, our industry is a creative one and the best ideas are formed through discussion and the freedom of bouncing ideas of one another, be it at a publisher's stand/office, over cake and a cuppa or even a bottle of red! Whether it's sharing an artist's beautiful dummy picture book with the publisher whose list we know it will most fit, discussing the direction and potential of a debut fiction series from an author/illustrator or simply going through the PP artist folios to show a client that exciting brand new artist or those fabulous fresh new images from an artist we've had the pleasure of working with for years, there is nothing more rewarding than walking away from that meeting having seen the potential of those concepts and images blossom and grow into something special and finding them a home.
This year was brimming with interest from publishers for PP - Well done to brand new PP artists Amber Cassidy and Julia Grigoreva whose images went down a storm! Congrats to Alex Paterson for the exciting buzz around his debut fiction series as author/illustrator, Marina Aizen, whose Eustace and Kokko has been such a hit with Five Mile Press and we're very excited about Christine Pym and debut author Alison Bristow's new picture book collaboration. We now have the pleasure of following up on all of these concepts and many more and reaping the rewards for all.
It was a real pleasure as always to see PP artists' published work on publishers' stands throughout the fair: Kate Pankhurst's Mariella Mystery shown under the spotlight on the Orion stand and number of commissioned titles ever rising, Erica Jane-Waters fabulous rip roaring girls' adventure series Petticoat Pirates, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Lauren Beard's super successful Fairytale Hairdresser picture book series, (currently at picture book no. 6 and rising!), donning the Random House Stand and on its way to TV animation stardom, to Alison Brown's gorgeous I Love You Night and Day featured as a big part of Bloomsbury's stand and too many more to list! It was also a pleasure, as always, to speak to our overseas clients across the globe and learn of the great co-edition deals they've been doing with UK clients that have published our artists as well as all the projects that they are working on directly with us. We even spotted co-editions of work from some of our artists in the world famous children's book shop in Bologna's Piazza Majore, including Erica Jane Waters and Graham Howells!
As always we are so proud of all of our illustrators and authors! Another value of the fair is, of course, seeing all the new trends of this year's children's publishing markets. We're on the look out for more texts than ever, and there was a real feel at the fair that clients are finding those really special texts harder and harder to acquire! So all you budding authors, feel free to send us any ideas and we'll be delighted to follow up on them with you and help with any development. If you've got an idea in you don't sweep it under the carpet or worry that it might not be good enough! Send it over, we'd love to see it! There's a real desire to find more really strong young fiction characters that have real longevity, those that have the potential to run and run in a series. Fiction wise we're looking for quirky, humourous, sometimes ridiculous, but characters who will last. Comedy and geekery are in. Picture Book wise, clients are also looking for that really special one, a brand new character, accessible to children, one that warms the heart and could make their way to the world of tv/animation. Modern fairytales are in, tales with quirky hooks and also more day to day themes that a child can really relate to are in. If you want to know more or discuss an idea drop us a line, we are, as always, continuing to work with all our artists on their artwork and text ideas and nurture their fabulous talents.
Right, back into the fray as they say, I'll leave you with some photos from the fair.