Tiny Owl have been to some fantastic events recently! We sat down to chat about how they went, the challenges of being an independent publisher, and what we can learn from meeting our readers. Read the interview below.
You recently attended the South London Gallery Children’s Book Fair and the Museum of Childhood Christmas Designer Market. How did you find the experience?
As publishers, it’s important that from time to time we meet people directly, and see their reactions to our books, especially our new titles. It’s good to see people from different professions such as librarians, illustrators and authors together with parents and children. We can learn a lot from them, which influences the way we work in the future.
I agree. It’s great to see people face to face, especially children. We want to hear what they like and what they think of our books. Children showed a lot of curiosity towards our books at these events! They picked them up and opened them, which showed us that we were successful in engaging their attention. It’s also great to meet other parents. We couldn’t have got where we are today without them.
Why is it so important for you to attend these events?
We’ve had great reactions from people who love our books and the messages they convey. Unfortunately as an independent publisher, we don’t have the same opportunities to display our books that big publishers do. It’s important for us to have the chance to show people our books.
Going to these fairs is great because it gives children a chance they might not normally get to pick up and handle our books. Large publishers also benefit from much more exposure in the media. As a small publisher, it’s harder for us to get into the media and into bookshops.
Wherever we go and have the chance to show our books to the public, we get great reactions. But due to a certain amount of unfairness in our industry, we don’t often have these opportunities. We produce meaningful, beautiful books from around the world, but we don’t often get the chance to show them to people directly. We introduce new talents from around the world, who are less well known in this country. It’s so important that people are able to see their work. We’re living in an era in which online bookshops are becoming more predominant, but we still believe in the importance of physical places like fairs and bookshops where people can interact with books.
What did you learn from attending these events?
I’m really pleased with the reactions we had to our books at these events. We’re working hard to achieve greater visibility. It’s tough but we’re making progress.
Sometimes children and parents disagree about what books they want to buy. We would encourage parents to let children choose their own books. If we want to encourage children to read for pleasure, we should allow them to read books that interest them.
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