UK publishing is London-centric – the majority of our big publishers and agents are in the capital. This year Orion Books attacked that problem by going on tour and taking publishing to other parts of the country. At the beginning of July they were in Birmingham and I went along to see what they were doing.
The event was held in a smallish function room in the Cosy Club. It was busy, noisy and (given our current heatwave) very hot! There were complimentary drinks and nibbles plus a table heaving with brand new books. The latter were free for the taking, as many as we wanted – guess who was glad they had a fold up shopping bag to hand!
I talked to Orion publishing, editing and marketing staff. I renewed my acquaintance with historical fiction author Joanna Courtney I said hello to the presenters of the Brum Radio Book Show and chatted to book bloggers, readers and the manager of a Waterstones’ branch.
It was definitely worth going and not just for the books! I learned that some books published by a company as big as Orion have a zero marketing budget but that social media, used in the right way and with the right contacts, can work wonders. I learned that book bloggers are really nice people with a genuine passion for books but are often drowning under the number of review requests they get! I learned that authors with big book deals still get anxious about their writing ability and crave company during the long days of being a full time writer.
Finally, I noticed there were far more women than men in the room – does that mean more women than men love books?
#1 by lynnforthauthor on July 10, 2018 - 11:31 am
Lots of interesting observations, Sally.
#2 by Sally Jenkins on July 10, 2018 - 1:58 pm
It was an interesting evening, Lynn.
#3 by Maria on July 17, 2018 - 7:52 pm
I used to sell Usbourne books for children and it’s a sad fact that more girls read then boys. It’s all to do with role models apparently, and very few men read! The other issue is that not many children have a male figure around…which is even sadder.
My own husband doesn’t read much and never fiction, BUT, whilst the children were young, I coerced him into picking up motorbike magazines and newspapers so our son would get the idea that reading is a good thing. However, he is almost twenty-five and only reads online or schematics for work.
My daughter on the other hand is a book monster, and devours the written word just like me.
Your visit sounds very interesting, do you know where else Orion are doing these roadshows?
#4 by Sally Jenkins on July 17, 2018 - 8:00 pm
A very interesting comment, Maria. I can believe that more women read – I run a book group at the library and we have 12 women and 1 man. On the other hand my husband devours books but he would never go to a bookish occasion. So maybe it’s also got more to do with women being more sociable than men?
I know that Orion did a Manchester event the week before Birmingham but I’m not aware of anymore in the pipeline. I don’t think it was well publicised I only stumbled across it in the Writing West Midlands newsletter.