If you write books, work in publishing, or find yourself anywhere near people who do, you’re probably hearing a lot about the London Book Fair right now.
This year LBF is at Olympia from April 18 to 20, and the theme is “Defining the Future of Creative Content”. If you’re an author, your reaction may well be Grrrr! I write books, not ‘creative content’.
There’s nothing like the phrase creative content to put authors in their place. Should an author even bother with LBF? Well, the fair is hardly a must, but it can be useful for the insights you’ll gain into the business of publishing, the chance to network, get some marketing ideas, and listen to some interesting talks.
The Author of the Day interviews are usually worth attending. This year’s guest authors include crime writer Ann Cleeves and children’s author Robin Stevens. I also hope to be there on Tuesday afternoon at Author HQ for the fifth annual Selfies Book Awards which showcase the very best in self-publishing.
Every year the book fair is a little different. I hadn’t entirely expected last year’s energetic display of Arabian dancing.
Still, some features are eternal. If it’s your first LBF, I can confidently pass on seven suggestions.
1 Leave your beloved manuscript at home. Don’t even expect to speak to a publisher or agent unless you have an appointment. LBF is a trade exhibition, so it you can’t expect it to cater wholly for authors or would-be authors.
2 Wear comfortable shoes. Olympia is vast, there’s very little seating, and it’s impossible to keep smiling when your feet are killing you. What’s more, LBF doesn’t sell foot plasters. A gap in the market, right?
3 Bring paracetamol or whatever works for your headaches. LBF doesn’t sell analgesics either.
4 A sandwich wouldn’t come amiss. LBF does sell food, but you may find the fare a tad overpriced.
5 Remember your business cards.
6 Don’t help yourself to books from the stands. There will be freebies like keyrings, bookmarks, tote bags, and the like, but the books on display are intended to show off a publisher’s range, so stop stuffing your bag with glossy new titles.
7 You can’t buy the books either. LBF isn’t a bookshop.
If you go, I hope you have a wonderful time. And let me know of any tips you’d like to pass on to future visitors.
You may enjoy a previous post JANET & JOHN GO TO THE LONDON BOOK FAIR.