I previously mentioned how devastated I was when my publisher informed me that they were going  of business and couldn’t publish my first book The Magic that’s Ours. The upside to that is that I now owned 100% rights to that book as well as my second book which I published. Even though all the costs were mine I now had two books to do with what I wanted to.

Through my association to Ibby www.ibbysa.org.za I heard about the London Book Fair which was on the horizon. I registered with the London Book Fair with all the intentions of going there to sell the rights to my books. I was prepared to sell the English rights internationally as well as to sell the translation rights-hoping that someone would be interested in translating my books in to other languages.

On The London Book Fair (LBF) website they give a list of all the exhibitors including publishers and companies interested in buying rights. Unfortunately I’d left it quite late but I  still sent through emails to the relative publishers requesting a meeting.  

Below is a copy of that letter.

Dear Sir/Maam



I am the author of two self-published, children’s books.



The Magic that’s Ours is an interactive story book introducing children aged 6 upwards to the wonders of their imaginations. There are 9 “Fun Time” activities throughout the book where the reader gets to use their imagination related to the story.  Due to the vivid illustrtions the book was entered (upon request) into the Katrine Harris competition for children’s book illustrations.

This book is very popular in South Africa.



The Power that’s Ours – using the same characters as my first book, The Power that’s Ours-launched in March 2009- introduces children aged 11upwards to the concepts of goal setting, visualization and affirmation. It is an interactive story book where the reader gets to set, visualize and affirm a goal, as well as learn about the importance of self belief.

This book is extremely popular in South Africa, especially with schools, and has been very favourably received by teachers, psychologists, readers and the media. Numerous schools are considering it as a class reader and the Western Cape Education department has requested samples to view for possible inclusion in the 2011 curriculum.


I am now a regular guest speaker, speaking at schools in South Africa to children and teachers about the importance of reading, using our imaginations and the benefits of goal setting.



Please have a look at my website www.calminstorm.com to view more about the books and talks including reviews.



As the books are self published I own 100% of the rights and I’m looking to sell the rights internationally.

The books have been published in South Africa and are available in e-book format and paperback.


Both books are disc and print ready and can be translated into other languages. I’m also open to discussing possible character and setting changes.


I will be attending the London Book Fair for the full duration and would appreciate a meeting with you to discuss the sale of rights in person. Please inform me of a time which is convenient to you.


Very best


Gary Hirson

I was able to set up a few meetings, mostly with UK based publishers and a couple from Scandinavia.

I made up packs with synopsis’s of both books as well as all reviews. Sample copies of both books were included.

I arrived in London on the opening morning and went straight to the show. The LBF-unlike Bologne- is not only for childrens books and to describe it in a word-HUGE. Initially I was completely overwhelmed and for the first time I  realised that I wasn’t the only children’s book author on the planet. For the next 3 days I walked and walked and walked.

Unfortunately April 2009 was deep into the recession and that was one of the main comments that I received throughout my meetings. Besides meeting with publishers I met up with potential publicists,listened to fantastic talks, and came to understand the magnitude of the industry I was now in and the scale of what I was trying to do.

The time allocated for each meeting is  30 minutes and as there was an author before me, there were a few waiting their turn behind me. When going to an international trade show in hope of meeting with a publisher it’s crucial to set up a meeting beforehand, as the chances of just walking onto their stand and introducing yourself in hope of a getting is very very slim.

So after 3 days of walking, learning and listening what did I come out with?

None of the publishers that I met wanted to buy the rights but I now have agents in 7 countries representing me in hope of selling the rights to translate. I was able to get cards and talk to people in the know about all the different aspects of writing and publishing. I also managed to lose a bit of weight from all the walking and minimal eating due to the excrutiating exchange rate…

As I now have an agent I needn’t visit the Bologne book fair which is happening as I write

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