A Crime Fiction View Of The London Book Fair 2006
Ali Karim poses.jpg
Ali Karim poses
© 2006 Ali Karim

   As the LBF was in its first year at ExCeL Docklands from its former home of Olympia, the Shots Ezine and Crimespree Magazine team of Mike Stotter, Ayo Onatade and I decided to see how the crime fiction genre was represented by the publishing world. We decided to avoid the weekday crush and went for the opening Sunday. Personally speaking, the ExCeL centre is a nicer venue, but the space between stands was a little tight. It did have an-out-of-town shopping centre feel, especially as the evening parties were hosted in the centre of London, which made some hay for the taxi firms ferrying people back into town.

We met up in the press room which was useful as it allowed us to deposit our coats and take a cup of coffee before we ventured onto the floor. Considering crime fiction is one of the biggest selling genres in fiction; we were impressed by the big posters that Time Warner had on display of their leading lights as our photos show. UK leading crime fiction publishers Orion, Penguin, Random House / Transworld, HarperCollins, Canongate, Hodder and Stoughton / Headline, Simon and Schuster, Faber and Faber, had the big displays in the centre of the hall for meeting their clients and overseas publishers. The international rights block was separate. As it was a Sunday, many of our editor colleagues were not present, apart from Selina Walker who was busy working the Transworld suite.

One of the treats was tracking down the smaller houses such as Peter Mayerís Duckworth & Overlook Press. We spent a fascinating thirty minutes talking to Peter about their re-issued run of Robert Littell thrillers and an interesting new title entitled The Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn (it will be featured this coming June). We also saw that No Exit Press were on display with their eclectic list as were Serpentís Tail and Constable and Robinson.

It was interesting to see that crime fiction was also represented by the graphic comics crowd: Dark Horse, Pagnini, Diamond Distribution, and Titan Books among others, no doubt buoyed by the success of such ground breaking works as Frank Millerís Sin City and The Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins.

After a hurried pizza for lunch, we headed to a seminar on the online marketing of books, which was fascinating if rather a hard sell from Michael Cader [Publishers Lunch], Beth Patrick from AOL and Paul Carr of The Friday Project. The resulting debate concluded that the Internet can not be underestimated when it comes to creating a buzz about books, as the internet is a reading medium. The importance of respected bloggers, enthusiastic websites and influential internet reviewers were key in marketing books. Unfortunately I was [as ever] suffering from sleep deprivation and I managed to catch some Zís in the middle of the discussion, but thankfully Mike Stotter gave me a good kick when I started to snore.


After another round of the main hall, we found ourselves in the middle of a throng waiting for David Hasslehoff, who had popped into the LBF to promote his book Riding the Wave (Hodder Religious), together with his predominately female German fan club. Somehow Mike and I got mistaken as part of the paparazzi and ended up joining in the good hearted fun. We bumped into Robert Ringwold and Jennifer Muller of Poisoned Pen Press and chatted about the upcoming Left Coast Crime Convention in Bristol.

However, I felt the best part of the day was late in the afternoon, when Mike and I finally sat down at the Bookseller Bar and sucked back a couple of icy beers and watched the hordes walk purposefully from stand to stand like ball bearings caught in a giant pinball game. As we are focused on the crime fiction genre, it never ceases to amaze me as to the enormity of the world of publishing in all its glory.

Karin Slaughter, Mark Billingham, Sara Paretsky and John Connolly were attending the Monday sessions as representatives of the genre, so perhaps next year we would spend a second day at LBF, if this trend continues.

In conclusion, if you have a passion for books, then the LBF is the place to be, and it would be a crime to miss the event.

© 2006 Ali Karim

Ayo Onatade poses.jpg
Ayo Onatade poses
David Hasselhoff at the LBF.jpg
David Hasselhoff at the LBF
Hasselhoff Hams It Up.jpg
Hasselhoff Hams It Up
Is that Mike Stotter behind me?
Is that Mike Stotter behind me?
Mike Stotter view.jpg
Mike Stotter view
Mike Stotter & Ali Karim as The Management
Mike Stotter & Ali Karim as The Management
Mike Stotter, Robert Ringwold, Ayo Onatade & Jennifer Muller
Mike Stotter, Robert Ringwold, Ayo Onatade & Jennifer Muller
Online Book Coverage Session.jpg
Online Book Coverage
There's Only One David Hasselhoff.jpg
There's Only One David Hasselhoff


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