The year so far… well, what a year this has been so far! In the month when the Book People, a business that has been part of my life for over ten years, finally closed its doors, I had been planning to launch my new company – Noodle Fuel – to my friends and colleagues in the publishing industry.
In the run up to the slow dissolution of the Book People, I had been trying to work out what my next steps should be. What should my life and career – that has been part of the publishing landscape for the last quarter century – now move to in a world where book retail has changed beyond recognition.
I was clear that I wanted to spend less time commuting and more time at home. I was also sure that I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny. How to do that and yet make use of the book knowledge and understanding of the market I had gained during my buying career was the next challenge.
Over many evenings and commutes, my vision became clearer. I would create a publishing list – for children as that has always been a passion of mine – that filled a gap in the market and would delight and educate my target market. I would work with illustrators and designers and create innovative material that would stand out in a crowd. I would approach the publishing community and find a home for my books.
I had booked flights to Bologna to see what was out there. I was looking forward to London Book Fair – almost as an old friend – to walk the halls and catch up with familiar faces. I had positive meetings with publishers who showed interest and excitement at my ideas and the execution of them.
Then the wider world entered the picture. Bologna was postponed and then cancelled, LBF closed, publishers were working from home and meetings were moved to phone calls.
Totally understandably, publishers have to now protect their staff, their authors and the books already commissioned. They are doing their level best to get books into supermarkets – one of the remaining outlets for physical copies, but even stalwart wholesalers have had to close their doors and whilst the digital world remains buoyant, the print industry grinds to a halt. No one has a real understanding of the scale of the impact of Covid-19 on the book world.
And what does that mean for Noodle Fuel?
Well, the content continues to grow – I can still create books at home – and hopefully in a few months time the world will be ready to find a place for them. In the meantime, a friend and I have been creating a new set of playing cards for children to play with at home with their families during lockdown.
It’s Not Rocket Science Playing Cards for Clever Clogs – play traditional card games with these cards and learn about authors, musicians, monarchs and key historical events. Or challenge you and your family to answer questions such as who was on the throne when Jane Austen wrote Pride & Prejudice?
To purchase, head on over to toprightthinking.com/shop and help raise money for The Big Issue. Available to pre-order now for delivery from Friday 24th April.