The London Book Fair: a guide for Indie Authors
Taking place in Olympia from 14th-16th March as part of London Book and Screen Week, The London Book Fair is in its 46th year. The Book Fair is a massive event that showcases global talent and innovation and serves as a platform for publishers to explore rights and distribution options. Each year, an average of 25000 professionals attend. On the face of it, this is an event for publishers, which might not appear to offer much to authors. It certainly isn’t a place to make direct sales or pitch your book to potential customers… but it does offer plenty to authors, mainly in the shape of the dedicated author area, Author HQ.
What is Author HQ?
Intended to be the ultimate toolkit to help authors to make decisions about getting published ‘in a world where conventional and self-publishing opportunities offer an ever expanding number of routes to market’, the Author HQ is the bit of the Book Fair that’s aimed at authors. While the London Book Fair is a trade event and has attracted some criticism in the past for not doing enough to involve authors, Author HQ is all about you. The Society of Authors will even be running an advice clinic from there for the duration of the fair.
Interested in articles like this?
Undeniably, there is a focus on getting traditionally published, with set-ups such as The Write Stuff, a panel event whereby authors pitch their work to authors, and literary agent one-to-ones. However, there is more of a focus on indie publishing at the fair than there has been before. It means that you, the indie author, have several reasons to attend the Fair in addition to mingling, handing out business cards and assessing the competition.
The standout section of Author HQ this year is the seminar programme, which promises talks from all kinds of industry experts. In fact, at a glance, indie experts seem to dominate the line-up. With talks called ‘The Indie Publishing Journey, Independent Publishing with Kindle Direct’ and ‘There has Never been a Better time to Self-Publish’ among many others guiding authors through the nuts and bolts of cover design, book production and even the craft of scriptwriting, there is bound to be something that is relevant to the majority of self-published authors. The organisers have invited an array of inspirational speakers, too, with representatives from ALLi, self-publishing companies (including Matador’s Jeremy Thompson) and The Creative Penn’s Joanna Penn.
Making the most of LBF 2017
- Network: Hand out business cards to other authors, printers, self-publishing companies and freelancers whose services you might want to use in the future.
- Be open to learning more about self-publishing. Even if you’re set on publishing an eBook, attend talks by self-publishing companies, printers and crowdfunders; you might choose to do one thing differently.
- Use this chance to do some research. LBF is an opportunity for publishers to showcase their best books. Browse their stands. See what the trends are at the moment, and who your competition is.
Attend the London Book Fair if you can, even for one day. Learn from talks, network your socks off, and have fun! How can you not, with talks from Michael Morpurgo, Roddy Doyle and Olga Tokarczuk? Although entry for The Write Stuff and Agent one-to-one session are now closed for this year, you can still attend the events and seminars. All author events are free to attend with the purchase of a three-day pass to #LBF17 – and you can download the LBF app to help plan your visit. For more information about the Fair’s author offering, click here.
Tweet us while you’re there and let us know how you’re getting on.