My Rite to Read

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Duckworth publishing

The last internship was at Duckworth publishing, a publisher originally set up by Virginia Woolf's half brother Gerard Duckworth in 1898, but bought over by ex Penguin CEO Peter Mayer, the books are an eclectic bunch of fiction and non-fiction including several co-editions and new editions. The company thrives on US generated content, but there are some original voices to watch out for particularly Rohan Kriwaczek and Eric Klinenberg. A book I'm dying to read that's topical, although not revolutionary would be Going Solo. 

The words of its leader and former Penguin head, Peter Mayer, ring ominous (and true) even today when he once described the editorial quality of these books as echoing the voices of past greats. "The past need not be the dead past. If we get it right, with new books, the past can be a beacon for the future."

Charles McCarry is an author they're trying to bring over to UK next year. His books enjoy a good fanfare here. Spy thrillers, espionage novels and crime. Among the duties I performed included editing and proofing the AIs and Duckworth catalogue, preparing the basic press releases and filing press clippings and publicity and sales materials for the entire booklist of the first quarter of 2013. About twenty five books for the entire year (so far). Proofreading and suggesting changes to its editorial director and sales department were the main duties I undertook, while also researching literary press contacts and packaging and mailing invites for the publicity division.

One of the greatest things about this office are the friendly staff and Jamie maintains the sanctity of office hours for temp workers, and will never let you go over 10-5, and the reason this is especially good is, that it forces you to finish all your work within this timespan as well as enjoy an hour long lunch break in between. Ain't that neat? And the best was I got to spend all my time on a Mac again.

From Fitzrovia to Farringdon: The journey has been deep, albeit fleet footed. If Fitzrovia was the high street overladen with wealth and beautous sun facing luxury towers and offices, Farrington must be the Berlin of London;every morning I see the b(r?)awling artsy poor from last night's party scumming it into the early rays of dawn happily shuffling past single minded, many minded and absent minded throngs of office goers. Which one are you?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Publishing Intern at Kyle Books-- Cookery, Health and Gardening

Hi, that's who I have been these days... (see above, albeit for 2 weeks)


To my utmost thrill and horror, it was a MAC!!!!! (A mac a day .... and there's a million ways to finish that phrase). The Kyle Books catalogue was the first thing I was asked to make acquaintance with.

I was left drooling all over chocolate and cake and cheese and lexical odysseys into culinary delights of present day London. All kinds of gastronomic exotica leapt out of Kyle Cathie ltd.’s multimedia and print matter. This was going to be difficult, especially if I was not going to be able to buy half those delights (of course all books would come priced to me at a special discount of 35%), good motivation to keep at the grander objective, and perhaps careers do rise like a soufflĂ©, as critics tease about a certain boy who bakes to Britain's glory ever since he ditched his banking past. You can read more about his books and bakes here.

Kyle asked me to check out the cheapest direct flights from London to Maldives and return. I had no idea Thompson Airlines existed, and not only did they exist, but they offered direct flights to Maldives and back for cheap. Flight websites always assume you have fixed dates of travel, and not that you like reading their timetables, unlike bus or train companies.

Sophie the editor asked me to begin my research on world grains for Ghillie James' book Grains and Rice (June 2013). So, I created a spreadsheet with a focus on grains for UK, Iraq, Pakistan, Paraguay, Mexico, China and South Korea.This would aid the author in researching sourcing and writing relevant recipes pertaining to each region, in her book. 

The editorial group was larger than I had imagined, with about four editorial assistants, who managed the ground work and followed up with authors once they declared what books they planned to write. 

Armed with wishful calories, the next task would involve compiling AIs and publicity materials for about hundred books from the period July to December 2012, including those not yet ready, to send to sales agents who looked after buyers in Asia. Although it looked intimidating, it returned me to my favourite programme, Acrobat.  


The Rights and Co-editions coordinator kept me busy with collating advance information sheets, printing covers and spreads (also called--blads!). Here is when I realized the totality of the process and how each department works in tandem with the editorial, in putting together sales copy, cover spreads and content for books for co-publishers in Europe and USA. I also learned the courier logistics while using Seabourne services and sent out packages as a follow up for communications between the Rights director and certain clients and publishers abroad. Rights is so lucrative, and although digital is not a big part of Kyle’s books’ strategy—they face no immediate threat, with the presence of a large gift books’ market that is not yet too comfortable cooking off I-pads or gifting appy materials over the physical books—it was very interesting to learn about the kinds of books that do sell and don’t. And how invincible Curries are, worldwide, and in Germany for instance! But Single themed books make for the best Co-editions, Allison warned. Like Soup Glorious Soup! Foreign digital rights are still in their infancy (with USA leading the chase), and very much a part of their author contracts.

I researched five broadcasters and their birthdays for Kyle, and then ran down to Camden town to purchase 5 kilos of Ethiopian Mocha for the office and its boss--who has a long term relationship with the Camden Coffee House (which I am thankful to have visited).

I am getting Mac-er by the day.


Fiona asked me to go through the entire stack of press clippings for Katie Caldesi's The Italian Cookery Course since its publication (2011) and extract the best mentions for the reprint of the same book. 

I continued to compile book information for proposed co-editions and publishers in Germany and USA. Titles of certain books keep getting changed at the last minute, so you have to keep checking with editorial. So the editorial process is at the very heart of publishing. A lot of press coverage happens for cookbooks, and cookery, with so many celebrities competing their recipes and diets and TV shows; it is a very cut-throat industry, punnery and all!  Camilla Punjabi's 50 Greatest Curries is one of the hottest exports, and Meat Free Mondays, is a huge seller too! Allison mentioned that despite the fact that cookbooks bring in the most revenue UK cookbooks don't translate very well in Asia, just as gardening books don't enjoy that much of a rights market in Scandinavia, where climates are more extreme and the growing season utterly different. 

Is cooking recreation? Or survivalist?  Because the genre feeds a range of budgets and mouths, wallets and stomachs, making it the most commercial or revenue generating aspect of their business model, (mostly because they are celebrity endorsed, and or partnered with restaurant or retailers). The grammar books and other minor walking and geography books, sell well in Asia.

With so much controversy brewing over whether highly illustrated cookbooks will survive, in the future and with people saying apps might do for cookbooks what still visuals never could, I am convinced there are enough people in London hankering for delicious looking feel good recipe books.  

Asking what is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain is like asking what is the difference between a carrot and a vegetable? However, these are answered at length by the chef-writers in the process of their books. There are no defined genres in Cookery, ingredients and recipes overlap, recipes get slashed and rejected in the bodies of email and the packaging for emphasis is key. There are odd ball genres, like Grammar Rules, and The Complete Verse by Yeats, and English phrase books, but these satisfy different book palettes, and make for great gift books overseas.  

Day 4 & Day 5 & Day 6 were spent putting together rights information for export sales and rights directors.


James Duigan is one of Kyle's regular authors who writes about how to flatten up, and get lean and clean on his no fuss diet. I notice a big tendency with co-authorship in cook-books, Katie Caldesi and her husband being one, and James and his wife, being the most recent I remember.

I am falling in love with some of these delicious books. Maybe I will go on a 14 day diet, in the absence of a swimming pool. Berries are the official office breakfast, it appears. You get them for a pound a pound by the station!

Editors and assistants are often rushing off to shoots to capture stills for the books on the shelves and videos for their you tubes and social media virals. 

One such afternoon he called and I answered the phone. I learned, that "sugar is like a nuclear fat bomb exploding all over your body" ;)

I am still torn about conflicting messages with relation to Coffee and the body. Some say it improves memory, others that it gives you cancer. Excess, in either condition, is no answer, I suppose.


Ultimately, I ran into the new intern, very young, just turned 21 and had spent the last year teaching English in Paris until she realised books were more compatible than students! Together we made book jackets for books that will be taken to trade fairs by Sandy and Catherine.

I have soaked in two weeks of crash course in publishing house interning. I will also remember everyone, the beautiful macs, the spacious sunny office overlooking the broad high street, and hopefully get to stay in touch too.

Until then, I am very much going to be a Chic on a shoestring.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cattle gazing, Ewe teasing and Book selling at the Royal highland show '12

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'The buffalo ate my homework, Miss,' moaned an eight year old.

'What do you mean?' boomed his teacher.

'It looked hungry, so I offered my en-cy-clo-pe-di-ya.'

Years later, he would die in his own plane crash; but he was the only one his classmates would remember as the kindest boy in class who fed his cattle books.

* * *

I spent this past weekend selling books at Publishing Scotland's stall in the Royal Highland Show 2012, Europe's largest agricultural show held in Ingliston each year at the draw of June. We were stall 837, in the corner between Silver Pride Jewellary and a pianist and organ seller who provided complete 10 hour live musical entertainment with his symphony and orchestra each day. This was the first time that Scotland's trade association for publishers decided to enter the trade fair as an exhibitor, to spread awareness about Scottish publishing, Scottish books and the importance of such a trade and knowledge resource at hand. The point was not necessarily commercial hard-sell, but a PR initiative, we were oriented. (For purely commercial activities Publishing Scotland already had a big presence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August each year, where the point is hard selling, and buyers overwhelming).

Footfalls at the Highland shop nevertheless increased by the day, as did sales pick up from a lean Thursday up into a frenzied Sunday. Katie's Ferm and Katie's Moose (Waverly) were probably top favourites on the books' list, nudged closely by Maisie's Activity Book for children and Animal Farm (the Scottish alphabet) as well as books on learning Gaelic, and books about the local wild and managing the native pinewood revealing a hitherto hidden demand for books by the Forest Commission. In between shifts, one experienced attractions like cooking demonstrations including by celebrities like Nick Nairn, horse racing, show jumps, sheep shearing, tug of wars, fleece shows, poultry paegants and caraways.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

KHUSH WANT singh's Poem

Does this means he Wants Khush (Happy) all the time?!

This poem made me very Khush today.

A member of the Delhi Gymkhana Club at 92 years, he wrote this for the DGClub newsletter:

‘Pickled In Rum’

The horse and the mule live for 30 years,
And know nothing of wines and beer;
The goat and sheep at 20 die,
And never get a taste of Scotch and rye.
The cow drinks water by the tonne
And at 18 is mostly done
Without the aid of rum and gin.
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then in 12 short years it croaks.
The modest, sober, bone-dry hen
Lays eggs for others, then dies at 10.
All animals are strictly dry,
They sinless live and swiftly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten,
And some of them, though very few,
Stay pickled till they’re 92.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Digital Publishing Internship

I’m doing an editorial and production internship at Blasted Heath, and just finished copy editing two volumes of crime fiction by Gerard Brennan and Ray Banks, some fine crime noir of short, gripping tales that were an utter relief to soak into. Crime novelist, literary agent and more recently digital publisher Allan Guthrie, discussed the changes with me, in what was a very enlightening and engaging session. Some very quick highlights and lessons I gained as a copyeditor (for fiction) follow:

Be consistent, if correct. (Be correct)
Do not un-hyphenate compound adjectives. If they follow a noun, then you may.
Blood-covered dust but Dust, blood covered.     or of course, BLOODY DUST!
If you are not sure, comment, but do not change.
The Author comes first,  knows better.
Do not mess with dialogue.
Do not change the writing unless the author is technically wrong.
If even one dictionary spells like the author, go with the spelling.
Americans love the Oxford comma, more than the British. 
Do not suggest editorial changes, as a copy editor. Okay to think ahead, but think straight. 

More later!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Coming Soon...

IS A Blog Makeover!

Be on the look out for

an all new content style that will

frisk the more intricate delicate details of my world, in books.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Love's Labour Gained?

We are sitting in a course, reevaluating our career paths (if we had already begun one), understanding the trends, and looking into the future with a wizened gaze, scouring The Bookseller  with a lofty  advantage over those without a degree in publishing. They could be law students, confused little undergraduates, postgraduates or even doctoral students in search of a living. We got there first! This is an entertaining time to be in the industry we are told. We should savour the fear of loss, the hell of rejection. At every turning point is another turning point.

Marion Sinclair repeated that the walls have been breached. The media knows its un-limits. We are living in a time when information is staring each other in clouds, and we are misting over with fondness, fear and even preparation. The vision of gentlemanly publishing is over. Long lunches a rarity, and digitisation has changed complete processes, and the publishing workflow, bottom up. Relationships with authors have changed. Bookselling has changed. Nobody visits high street bookstores in as many numbers as they did in the past. Browse became an online experience, done in the multiple windows of phones, tablets and computers. Authors are no more linear, and writing has been coined 'content', be it books, ebooks, apps or mobile entertainment. Transmedia rights,  are being talked about in every rung of industry, and so is convergence and every other C in the alphabet. (Collaboration, especially). 

The Annual Toast!  image courtesy Ellen Cheng 2012

Collaboration begins with deep knowledge and effort while digitisation penetrates the globe differently. 

If Amazon is awe shaking, so is the volume of books being bought per minute on it. Marion Sinclair, the chief executive of Publishing Scotland talked about the good shades of grey as much as the worse, and said that if Amazon is commodifying books, it has also evangelized bookbuying, and one might think, reading has become a compulsive activity in zones powered by e-commerce. Will high street bookselling die? Chances are they won't, voiced literary agent and Portfolio careerist Bob McDewitt who himself came with a pot load of experience in bookselling, literary agenting and looking after the annual Dundee Prize. Katy Holmes talked about the traditional markets she catered to, who she was confident would never convert to digital or apps anytime soon. A publisher with immense sales and marketing experience, she has witnessed both the pre-internet and post Amazon days of the industry in the US and now in UK.

Best way for a noob to understand publishing? WORK IN A BOOKSTORE! I would second that. And even though my experience was limited to some six months with an online ecommerce book retailer, there were so many opportunities to talk to authors, publishers, wholesalers and customers over a wide range of issues, and above all, it helped me understand better the real market for books! 

Like many of my peers, I would love stay on and fork a bit of a future in London, a city teeming with life, much like Mumbai or Glasgow. Plus, skills acquired in the trade, are often specific to  its cultural environment, and would take years of practice and nuance before they could become truly transferable across contexts. But, the good news might just be in the adage of, once a publisher, always a publisher! It is an industry after all, that sees one of the highest retention levels and lowest attrition rates.

With so much e-buzz, and appventuring everywhere, were our skills going to fade into obsolescence? No, opine many. At least not in an eighty years. And after that, nobody wants to live.

Yes, I left my devices homes that night, because yes there was a need for a technology upgrade, but no, it's not the biggest lesson I took (despite creating a travel app for the iPad as my final project) from being in the company of these professional academics and academic professionals over the past nine months. ( Yes, 'labour-ious' to lavish all metaphors in a trade with a long skewed sex ratio! And, you can actually prove this when you count the number of boys in all the 'publicity' departments of UK's publishing). Reality considered, I learned how to package and sell content all over again. It was a pleasure, relief and a turning point, participating in the final publishing showcase at the end of a taught postgraduate masters at the Stirling Center for International Publishing and Communication this year, and on their '30th birthday'!

To view the entire set on slide show, click here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

London Fare, April Getaways, and Bookish Climate

From the SubwayEarl's CourtEarl's CourtLondonBookFAIR 004Market Focus Central AtriumPenguin
PenguinBook DisplayAmazon English PENHong Kong PavillionHongKong
BOOKSMD Troubadour and MatadorAudience packed with AuthorsMatador selfpublishingLondonBookFAIR 031Panel on digital literary writing and Gamification
View the entire set of London Book Fair 2012, powered by Flickr.

The 41st London Book Fair held in Earl's Court, saw a minimum attendance of 25,000 visitors this year. They will return next year to the same venue from 15-17 April, 2013.

Trade veterans will warn you. London is overwhelming. Spread out over 60,000 square meters in two buildings, the Exhibition Area brought all the world's publishing dons under one roof. Students and industry outsiders ambled about disoriented in what was a very organised, yet cramped affair over the next three days. So when my microbiologist mate begged to accompany me, I strongly dissuaded her on the grounds that a book fair was not a book festival! (Although,  the world over, book fairs surely have different connotations, be they customer-facing or trade oriented). My prediction was, there would be no authors, no cocktails, and there certainly would not be any poetry/author signings (to some extent I was brilliantly wrong, with the odd cookbook demo thrown in). But, as I saw it there were only matchbox kiosks nudging each other, tradespeople, rights and seminar folk, top management, and lots of foreign publishers in corporate suits and shiny waxed faces, pamphleteers, and err masseur demo artistes. The China Daily for breakfast... and 1500 exhibitors from over 57 countries including first timers Brazil, Flanders, Hong Kong, Lithuania and Hungary...

This year's theme was China Market Focus 2012: New Perspectives, new Concept, including 4  publishing forums, ten high level dialogues and 11 cultural and art exhibitions that brought together over 600 Chinese participants including 181 publishing houses and 52 popular Chinese writers. This year also marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Britain and China! There were country pavilions for Hong Kong, Turkey, Brazil, and Jordan too. Predictably though, the areas most overwhelmed with activity, remained the sets of the Big Six, (and as I would later discover, the Digital Shop floors!) while the Market Focus exhibition floor saw plenty of restive moments and loitering spectators. Of key note, were the Love Learning seminars, and some highlights from my time there go below:

China's Publishing and Digitisation Dialogue

The Chairman of China Publishing Group Tan Yue and the Elsevier Chairman of Management Committee and Head of Global Academic and Customer Relations  Y.S. Chi, debated the ills of digitisation its slow takeover in the East, and rapid Westernization's fast proliferating gadgets. Tan Yue talked about 'The Charm of the ink' and  ultimate veneration of information,  and that even though the textbook market is the largest, the Chinese love reading novels, to which Y. S. Chi said that trade publishing has a complex readership that is not just platform driven.

An audience member asked in the context of digitisation, so was Content King? There ARE NO kings, the Elsevier official shot back, only princes (and half blooded ones, he joked). Content, distribution, packaging, promotion, everything was as much of a prince as the next thing, he added.

Self-Publishing is the Present

Walk into Matador's advice clinic, and there were hundreds of plain clothed writers (exactly like plain clothed cops) quietly and efficiently huddling into the kiosk taking down, and exchanging  copious notes on the present day reality of self-publishing. Should they, shouldn't they, and why not?

Matador's MD, Jeremy Thompson, drew a large crowd with his reassuring presentation on top quality self-publishing, Matador's reviews in the press and literary circles, and how this feisty imprint of Troubador (a well regarded independent publisher of commercial non-fiction) exceeded Amazon over quality, price and distribution of books! This is not Vanity publishing he argued; Matador has very successfully published commercially for Cambridge University Press, Random House, Elsevier, and several other big clients.

The number of writers that showed up at the fair this year were about 1500, a definite increase from last year.  'This is the first time that the fair has been actively promoting itself to writers,' wrapped up Mr. Thomson, when I asked if he was surprised by the strength of writers gathered at the fair.

Matador is the classic example of quality self-publishing co-existing with traditional publishing. Self-publishing (or anything) could never drive publishers out of jobs--all these choices could only at the very least, force publishers to get better at their existing jobs.

Digital Theater and App-Solutions

Digital is the Ozone of Publishing. Developers made their spiels. Every possible tech shop set up its stall hoping to convince you to use their advanced Publishing services. EPUB, easy Pub, Pub-lish, KoBo. Nook. Amazon. Speed dating with API developers from Nook and Pearson, and other bigger jungle of developers was cool and got me to realize that the key to a great app is great content, for which there is a BIG DEFICIT, as proved by every developer on the floor. Which is where, creative publishers were constantly sought.

Higher Education was keen to make use of this Appsolute opportunity in delivering the most accessible information to consumers with the biggest known attention deficit--students and exam givers.

Sex and the Textbook 

The textbook has never looked sexier argued panel after panel of academics. The internet was increasingly looked to as the way forward and PRINTABILITY and COPYABILITY were key components of a strong publishing product. DRM on ebooks were sureshot ways of turning off young students in the heat of urgency. Surveys tested that if price and availability were the same, majority would consent to and prefer electronic texts. Cengage, Macmillan, McGrawHill, Pearson, Wiley, SAGE and Course Smart officials were major participants in the related discussions. Also, interactivity could only be enhanced on a book by book basis, and not across platforms.

Compassionate Reading : Centralize, Communicate and Consume

Digital Sales Manager Huw Alexander talked about SAGE Publications' efforts to provide accessible content, by building strong relationships with libraries. His advice? Centralize, communicate, and consume. Among the publisher's renovation plans were: a new website landing page, partnership with Bookshare to serve those with print disabilities, the TIGAR project, and EPUB conversions (over 1000 titles were being converted as he spoke).

Pete Osborne chair of Right to Read, talked about the changing landscape of libraries in the UK, and how they should not have a disproportionate impact on those with a print disability. Osborne himself reads by touch and hearing with a device costing around £3.5 million now enabling him to read more of what he wants, than more of what's available. He said, text to speech through i-pads should allow more access to information, and make reading for all, a reality.

Metadata must identify the most diverse features of a product.

A Good Partner

Loses sleep as much as you over the future.

Contract - Copyright - Collaborate- Communicate - the 4 Cs in publishing talk.

A Crowded Planet : "Apps should not be bits of Television chopped up"

Lonely Planet CEO Stephen Palmer has been in the business since 1973 including travelling across Asia in a jeep and is the publisher of 400 travel guides covering every country in the world except Micronesia. Riding high on the success of his own Lonely Planet app that has been downloaded by over 8.5 million people so far selling about 350,000 copies in the last year alone, he explains the App marketplace is overwhelmingly Apple dominated, followed closely by Android. What worked marvelously for them was that the LP app's timing coincided with Apple's marketing of the appstore and iphone. There was also a close collaboration with Apple for the marketing for a particular phrasebook App for Mandarin pronunciations. Although, it  is a paid content business, Palmer says, you do end up having to distribute a lot of apps for free. (When the Icelandic White Ash happened some years ago, people were stuck in airports for long periods of time, a lot of apps were just given away for free). 85% apps are sold for free and the iPad generates 2.5 times more money than the Smartphone app. Everything is moving towards the freemium model.

Nonetheless Palmer's goal at the fair (and otherwise) was to include as many new languages and foreign partners, and to make sure that everyone has a guidebook in their pocket, and account for better distribution, so that people will be carrying their phones, wallets, keys and their Lonely Planet guidebooks wherever they go! Next on his app agenda are more tie ins with BBC TV, and clever partnerships around the content model, like streaming an exclusive live tour from The Vatican as an in-app luxury. So, when is an App an ebook and when is an ebook an App? An App needs more regular engagement with people and consistent updating. All developed content lives away from the device, and with the case of the iPad one would only need to change the number of pixels to fit the screen.

Innovators Henry Volans (Faber), Max Whitby (Touch Press), Adrian Laing were also present and offered their views on the relevance of the App world to publishers. Max Whitby of Touch Press showed off The Wasteland AppThe Solar System app and The Elements, and touched on similar issues with his experience in making Higher Ed Apps for the past two years.

Next in line for the year are the much awaited Shakespeare Sonnets app, as recited by actors like Patrick Stewart, with lots of illumination effects and interviews with a dozen or so academics and scholars on the sonnets, and the Leonardo Da Vinci Anatomy App from the Curator of Royal Collection of drawings with annotated translations.

Who is Social?  

The urgency of social was palpable in all that editorial, marketing and digital speak. For authors, social media was something publishers looked at as an advantage. For marketers, social media was an inexpensive way of directly reaching out inaccessible masses. So was it the job of marketing, publicity or the plain old author himself?

Social Media is impossible if you lack a context, a common ground, a purpose. An author gets social to draw readers, a publisher goes social to draw consumers, and the unemployed go social to seek stronger networks and opportunities in a marketplace that is increasingly recruiting socially. Marketers and publicists may have overlapping functions in the digital landscape, however, metrics will continue to remain a huge tool of change, and there is place for everyone, emphasised Claire Armistead the literary editor with The Guardian, who also explained how at The Guardian Books, there was a tendency for editors to want to monopolize the social media marketing as well! Overlapping functions were a good sign of change, as long as people retained their specialist skills. Redundancy was a fear that came only with nobody doing their jobs well.

Stephanie Duncan, digital media director for Bloomsbury, said she would hold EVERY author to gunpoint until they opened up a Facebook, Twitter, blogger account or even just a website. Because, that was where you found your readers, and could not let such a big potential readership die! Of course, she added, the same social media space may not work for every author depending on his personality, purpose and profile, but one must interact with one's consumers. Moreover, peer-to-peer training imparted by socially online prolific authors has been her successful initiative to get digitally dumb authors at grips with the tools and technology, and one she recommends for all publishers to look into investing their time, money and efforts in.

Jobs in Publishing

Unsurprisingly packed with students, these sessions offered the regular dose of job shopping, hungry students and employers courting each other's skill gaps. And the regular buzz on how start ups and starting up could change your life, etc. and  heart to heart tales of mucking it and making it. A hierarchy of options for funding start ups was from most recommended to least: customers, crowd funding, public funding, day job, private investment/angels.

For entrants and non-entrepreneurs, the quick how-to on getting into publishing, sits  here.

There are major skill gaps in coding, design, product management, content strategy. Where was the future? Hybrid skills, closer, stronger, deeper rooted networks, cultural and skill osmosis, deeper penetration of digital, more government responsibility. Everything of everything. Identifying and capitalising on opportunities like the collapse of the midlist, books as craft objects, new reading experiencesmobile publishing, etc.

India and China

India was being talked about in circles without necessarily being conspicuous on the schedule at all. It is after all one of the biggest English reading markets in the world, a fast maturing market with an increasing heavy middle class, and a third of its population under thirty. Ebooks may not have caught on in India, the way they have in the UK or US (which is not to say that e-reading or ereading devices have not because the i-pad has fast caught up). Moreover, there is still so much vibrant literature within the subcontinent that is keeping these markets alive, from Chetan Bhagat's homegrown stories to Annie Baobei, and then there is the gigantic textbook industry one cannot discount.

Games Writers Play

Director of The Literary Consultancy Rebecca Swift, chaired a dynamic panel on writing for the digital age. That's because they touched on gamification, and internet literature, and debated the literary and commercial merit of stories crossing over into games, much like the acclaimed fitness game, created by Naomi Alderman, of Zombies Run! selling about 100,000 copies on iphones since the two months of its launch. Annie Baobei who became an internet literary sensation at age 24 in China, also expressed her fears on the dumbing down of the internet reader in a country that has the largest internet population in the world. An overall thought provoking session, powered by onsite translators .

The last day saw a stream of kiosk parties with wine and beer flowing in most of the stalls, a jovial end to all the hectic line up of the past days.

The Village of East London

The Village of East London

I did get to hike around the village of East London when I was not night crawling on Carnaby Street. Three days were enough to glean that rent in the outer suburbs of London was a lot cheaper, with much open space, wider roads, graffiti arches, SAT NAV failure and invisible coordinates in these outskirts. Anything, to flee the zone one madness: the life of a commuting migrant holds pretty much the same narrative from Mumbai to London. The sun was smiling.

L.O.N.D.O.N. Statue
Thursday morning I arrived to a colder Scotland overtaken by sniffles, and what would famously take me down as the post London book flu. I still jog memory lane on souvenir visiting cards collected from those  three days of back-to-back seminaring, workshopping and speed networking! London attracts commerce attracts youth.

What does London mean to YOU?