Everything you ever wanted to know …

…about children’s publishing (but were afraid to ask)

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be asked to talk at a brand new conference – Nosy Crow’s ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about children’s publishing but were afraid to ask’.  Nosy Crow publish my books, so I was very happy to support them.

Early on Saturday morning I took the train into London and made my way to Fleet Street. The event was being held in St Brides Institute, just behind St Brides Church. It’s a place I know well as I used to work just up the road, and I put the church into my books. It was lovely going back, but a shame that I didn’t have time to get over to St Paul’s Cathedral, just the other side of the now-hidden River Fleet.

The church is down a quiet alley, and the institute building was further beyond that. At that time of the morning on a Saturday London is spookily quiet, and my footsteps startled someone who was walking just ahead. She was clutching a piece of paper.  “Are you going to the Nosy Crow conference?’ she asked nervously, and seemed very relieved when I said that I was. We worked our way through the small lanes until we came to some steps which went up around a corner. I could hear a strange noise above the distant hum of traffic and the clanging of the street cleaner’s trolley, and as we rounded the corner I worked out what it was.

Hordes of people, all queuing for the conference.

Now, when they first asked me it was supposed to be a reasonably modest affair but it seems it sold out so quickly that they changed the venue and increased the numbers. I don’t know how many were there but it was over 150 people, I’m sure.

Luckily I quickly found some familiar faces of other Nosy Crow authors, including Paula Harrison (who has just joined Girls Heart Books) and Helen Peters. The three of us were talking on the same panel, explaining what it was like to be picked up from the slush pile.

We grabbed places in the audience, not realising that seats had been reserved for us at the front, and sat back to listen to the first talk. And we had a great day. The other speakers were hugely knowledgeable and entertaining, and very soon it was time for us to take the stage. Kate, who runs Nosy Crow, asked each of some questions and then the audience asked loads too. Many of them were hoping to be published some day, and I think it was encouraging to hear that ordinary people can actually get picked up.

Over lunch we had the chance to talk to more of the audience. Quite a few of the other attendees were people I knew from Twitter, and it was lovely to meet some of them in real life for the first time.


The afternoon got even better when the fabled handmade Nosy Crow cakes came out with the coffee and we had to decide which to have – vanilla, chocolate, ginger, lemon – the choice was too good to have just one! We then rolled back to our seats to listen to the woman who says she has the best job in the world –buying all the children’s books for Waterstones. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

A full report on the day can be found on the Nosy Crow site (here).

10 thoughts on “Everything you ever wanted to know …

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