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Fail Harder, Talk at London Book Fair 2009

Earlier this year, I gave a pecha kucha talk at the London Book Fair.

A pecha kucha has to be really fast – your 21 prepared slides run automatically in 20 second increments for a total of 7 minutes – and great fun. The event was impeccably organised by Jon Slack and Doug Wallace under the aegis of the Society of Young Publishers. They recently repeated the format for a third time and I recommend you to go to the fourth.

The brief was open, and for some reason I decided I wanted to talk about failure. The logic being that I thought that given that I was speaking to a room mainly composed of young publishers or students trying to enter the industry, I would share my extensive professional experience of disappointment and shattered dreams. Not in a bid to break their spirits, you understand, but to encourage them to try and be recklessly ambitious and hopelessly idealistic at the beginning of their careers – especially if someone else is underwriting those failures. It’s a twist on the old “silver lining” story but hopefully enough to be inspiring.

The pecha kucha format is unforgiving to hyperbole and imminent failure (technical or emotional) haunts the speaker. Terrifyingly, I was first up as well which didn’t help the nerves.

Anyway, the video has just been put online, which is below. My notes from the talk are also available if you can’t see what’s on screen.

Sorry about the horrific thumbnail photo.

Also available is Jamie Byng’s talk, my old boss at Canongate, who was next up on stage. We didn’t know what the other was talking about so when I gave a slide about being his “gimp”, that was meant in the nicest possible way. Here’s his talk:

For more details on the event, here’s a post I wrote at the time.

Posted by Peter Collingridge in Publishing.

Apt’s links for September 2nd through September 16th // Barack Obama now available from Enhanced Editions

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