So how do I sell books in …

every country in the world! I was at a really good seminar on Wednesday in London, hosted by the Independent Publishers’ Guild (IPG), on the book markets in India, China, Africa, Australia, the US and Ireland (which I presented — how come the others all got continents to talk about, with up to a billion people? I was quite outgunned there …), both in terms of physical book sales and rights sales. There’s lots to learn.

The great thing about the IPG is the fact that it exploits the community spirit of the publishing world really well — people from publishers big and small are all willing to share their knowledge, experience and contacts, expecting only that others will do the same.

The conference was on in Westminster and I had not realised how concentrated the various aspects of the UK government was — a ten minute wander around Whitehall saw politicians lining up to be interviewed, heaps of police guarding the MOD and an unbelievable number of poppies, miniature crosses and ex-soldiers, as it was the day after remembrance day.

I suppose that really brought home to me one of the key points I made in my presentation — Britain and Ireland have a lot in common, but there really are some big areas where we simply do not overlap. Looking at the top 15 books sold in Ireland last year, 13 had Irish authors (though the count of Irish-published titles there is not quite so high …), and one of the remaining two was the Guinness Book of Records!