Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fergus Barrowman

Yet another speaker last week. This time Fergus Barrowman from VUP. He talked about a whole bunch of stuff about the NZ book industry, including the slow demise of Whitcoulls, which has apparently allowed the independents like Unity etc. to have bumper years (yay!). He had a whole bunch of other depressing facts and figures, but the most interesting thing about him was how genuinely positive and optimistic he was. Especially about the digital 'revolution' and how that might allow good writing to rise to the surface and allow potentially much larger readerships than is possible with conventional books.

It seems we are in a fortunate space, geographically and culturally in New Zealand. We are in a position to both benefit from having a small market and in the future being able to go global through the digital thing. I'm feeling positive too. Thanks Fergus.

At the half-time coffee break I tried to crack a joke and asked him whether as writers, we should think about putting often-searched keywords into our work for better google-books indexing. Like 'Britney Spears' or 'Blowjob' or something. I don't think he got what I was meaning though and I kind of blurted it out in a really offhand way. He kind of laughed weirdly and I had nothing else to say. An awkward silence descended over the whole room, until I stood up and pretended I needed to go get something. I'm so cool sometimes.

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