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I stepped off British Airways flight #0113 into JFK airport last week and was immediately swept up. The energy of New York and the excitement of the holiday season greeted me right along with the rushing people and traffic.
After the past several months working alone from my quiet London home at a convalescent’s pace and in relative isolation, I felt the vitality of both city and season pick me up like a giant hand and propel me into the arms of Team TTT&T and our much-anticipated four-day marathon huddle.
I’m so grateful to be back in the city I still consider “home,” and to be working alongside such talented and generous people again.
Last week was a busy and eventful one. It started and ended with my submission to the first annual BookTech Award and Pitch Challenge, sponsored by FutureBook, with two conference events sandwiched in between. The pitch challenge application forced me to get laser focused on communicating the problem I’m attempting to solve as a publisher. It all started with the opening question, “What is your target industry?” which threw me into a familiar tailspin.
I’ve long struggled with this question, to be honest, because I feel that my work and motivations straddle three sectors: educational tourism, children's literature, and the school and library markets. Yet, every business mentor I’ve ever worked has advocated that I hone my efforts to address the needs of one single audience. But how, when the whole point of our multi-format publishing model is to allow us to go broad?
I was downstairs with Gryffindog in the park just in front of our house today when, out of nowhere, a jubilant yellow lab came lolloping toward us. I’m always extra vigilant when Gryff meets a new dog for the first time; you never know when one or the other won’t be friendly. But I quickly dropped my guard as this dog exuded pure joy with every move. She was just so happy to be alive. I couldn’t help but notice, though, that a patch had been shorn off the fur on the middle-right of her body. It took me a second longer to realize that the dog was running on three legs. And only then did I see that the wound at the shoulder of the missing leg was fairly fresh. Finally (keeping in mind that all happened in the space of about seven seconds), I recognized the dog as one of Gryffin’s friends. One we hadn’t seen all summer.
Tessa’s owner and I shared “Welcome back”s and “How was your summer”s before I ventured to ask what had happened. She’d been hit by a car. It was touch and go for a while. The vets had to take the leg. But she was bouncing back more quickly than expected, defying all odds and expectations.