Authors at London Book Fair have got so much to see and do. Over the last few years, the annual trade fair has really adapted to the change in the market and put on a lot more talks, events and sessions for authors themselves, who are of course at the heart of the publishing industry. When we first started attending London Book Fair years ago, you hardly saw any authors and it was exclusively a trade event. It’s great to see so much positive change. However, trade fairs can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to get lost or underestimate how long it will take to get from one side of the building to the other or find a particular stand or seminar hall. So here are our top tips for making the most out of the day. If you have any more, please add them in the comments box below:
Top 5 Tips for Authors at London Book Fair
- Go to seminars. Check out what’s on here. This is your golden opportunity to hear the latest industry news and issues discussed at the highest level. There is usually a Q&A session at the end of these talks, so you potentially have the chance to ask everyone from the retailers to the technology companies, to publishers and even literary agents a direct question. You can really clue yourself up on the industry inside scoop, which will put you miles ahead of authors who don’t have such access to the companies and people who shape the industry. That said, there will be a lot of seminars that won’t be suitable for you as an author, so be selective. The seminars are split into streams. Plan your day. Have a good look at what’s on and when, in order to ensure that you don’t miss any interesting seminars. The seminar stream ‘Authors: Central to the business’ will be most appropriate for you, but don’t be afraid to stray outside of those events programmed specifically for authors. There may be talks aimed at anyone in publishing on elements such as marketing, social media etc. that could be valuable for you.
- Get a floor plan. Download one here. Exhibition centres are always so much bigger than you think, and they tend to look exactly the same from several different angles, which can be very confusing. Make sure you know how far it is between the things you want to go to and allow yourself time. Ladies (and gents for that matter), I advise sensible shoes for obvious reasons.
- Only take business cards/bookmarks. London Book Fair is a great networking opportunity, but people are not going to want to lug about printouts of your sample chapters or indeed your whole manuscript. If you have had paperbacks printed, take just one display copy to show people. Give cards out wherever you can, get email addresses to follow up with later and super-charge your networking by going to some of the excellent designated networking events such as those run by Byte the Book and Book Machine.
- Go to Author HQ, but don’t be afraid to stray outside it. There are some fantastic events programmed just for authors like you at London Book Fair Author HQ, but when you get a break between sessions, do have a wander around the rest of the show – see which titles the big trade publishers are promoting, check out the competition in whatever genre you write in and, of course, get inspired.
- Get on Twitter and use the hashtag #LBF2016 to share your experiences, enter into discussions and gain followers. Some of the biggest movers and shakers in the industry will be doing this, and you have a chance to join them and start chatting. Check it out now and you’ll see it’s already gathering steam.
What to take to London Book Fair
- A notebook, or digital equivalent, to scribble down all the pearls of wisdom at the seminars.
- A bag. You will pick up a large amount of leaflets, books, book magazines, etc. throughout the day, which you probably won’t have time to read then but may want to save for reading at home.
- A bottle of water and some snacks in case you don’t have time for a proper break.
- Some cash – not everywhere inside the event takes card payments.