I’m just back from attending the wonderful three-day London Book Fair for the first time (14-16th March 2017) and I wanted to share my experiences. This fair really is a fantastic opportunity to meet with publishing industry professionals from around the world who attend to negotiate rights, sales, and the distribution of books written by authors worldwide. More than 25,000 people attend each year and there are plenty of opportunities to mingle with and learn from people from all aspects of the publishing world. Inside the Olympia, the fair is spread over two floors and in two main halls. What I loved most about the London Book Fair was the openness and friendliness of everyone there and the spotlight it put on self-publishing authors. Also, unlike the world famous Frankfurt Book Fair, everything is in English and the program of events is varied and invaluable for indie writers out there who are planning to publish either by themselves or by traditional publishing routes.
I spent most of my time at the Author HQ where successfully published Kindle authors LJ Ross, Mark Dawson and Rachel Abbot talked about their writing processes, how they market and promote their books, and what they attribute their success to. I spoke to many authors who were in absolute book heaven and loving every second of it, so if you are a writer, this fair is definitely not to be missed. The Kindle Self-Publishing stand is right beside the Author HQ so it’s easy to speak directly to the authors who are more than happy to have a chat and help you on your writing path.
Besides the exhibitors, there are many other hubs for various possible interactions and networking, like the English PEN Literary Salon, the Children’s Hub, an Illustrators’ Gallery, the Literary Translation Centre and the Writers’ Block exhibitors who offer a range of services and support for self-publishing writers, like BookBaby, Type & Tell (site soon to be in English) and Clays.
This is an excellent opportunity for networking. Keep an eye on the #LBF Twitter and Instagram feeds to see what exhibits are hosting a networking session and head along. If you’re there early enough, you’re likely to get a cuppa or a beer too. Have no fear of speaking to anyone, have no limits, and ask any questions you have. There are also plenty of food and snack areas inside so why not strike up a conversation with your neighbor in the queue. If you struggle with networking, head to the nearest bar, which will be filled with others attending the book fair and just say hello. Remember, you all have something in common to talk about!
Were you at the London Book Fair? Will you find this article useful for your next visit to the fair? If so, please leave a comment below.