Select Page

The London Book Fair 2016

The London Book Fair 2016

Year on year, The London Book Fair (LBF) provides authors and industry professionals with invaluable opportunities to network and learn. It’s the perfect space for budding authors to exchange contacts and receive tips and advice from experts in the field. Agents, publishers, illustrators, printers, editors and providers of digital solutions are just some of the people that you can rub shoulders with at LBF.

Welcoming 25,000 attendees last year and celebrating its 45th year in 2016, LBF is well established and certainly worth a visit. This year, it’s rounding off London Book & Screen Week, so there will be a healthy dose of Shakespearian influences and performances throughout the three days.

What Happens at the London Book Fair?

It might surprise you, but although the Booksellers Association (BA) is one of LBF’s sponsors, the main aim of exhibitors isn’t to sell books at the Fair. In fact, most stands will only have a modest selection of books on display as a way of showcasing their best or most unusual titles to demonstrate their strengths – or perhaps to cash in on a title that has enjoyed an unprecedented amount of press coverage.

I’d advise starting with a purpose, especially if you’re only attending for one of the three days, otherwise it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

Make no mistake – this is an opportunity for companies to sell themselves. Unlike many events in the literary calendar, the LBF is as much a trade fair as it is an opportunity for companies to display their wares. The symbiotic relationship between authors and others within the book industry is perfectly represented in this environment. There are so many things that prospective or existing authors can get involved with during the event, though, especially if they plan their time well…

Making the most of your time at the fair

Of most interest to authors is the extensive programme of seminars on offer. Make a list of the Insights Seminars that you hope to attend and make a beeline for a seminar schedule and a map when you arrive, to ensure you make it to any that are of interest. This year, there is a comprehensive list of back-to-back talks and seminars squeezed into the programme. Talks are on a plethora of topics ranging from the possible predicted impact of artificial intelligence on future literature, to case studies about people who have self-published.

Take some business cards, if you have them and target the stands of those companies that you’ve researched online beforehand. There’s definitely a place for meandering between stands, but I’d advise starting with a purpose, especially if you’re only attending for one of the three days, otherwise it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Additionally, there are many sessions for people within the creative industries – so if you are a freelance editor or illustrator, it’s definitely worth talking to companies who might like to use your services, and seeing if you can book into a relevant event or two while you’re there as well.

Author HQ is a fantastic resource that’s almost entirely aimed at authors. It’s essentially a free-to-access area that guides writers through the inundation of publishing possibilities that are available to them. They host Author HQ seminars that explain the minutiae of writing and publishing. They also offer Agent One-to-Ones and The Write Stuff, which is hailed as the Dragon’s Den of the publishing world, where authors pitch their work to a panel of agents. Unfortunately, these events book up fast, so if you haven’t booked in this year then you can’t feature, but it’s still well worth dropping by Author HQ as there will be an abundance of advice from professionals who know their fields.

What not to expect…

Keep in mind that this is chiefly a trade event and while authors are welcomed, most commercial publishers are not there to attract or sign up new talent. In fact, if you don’t have an appointment, you’re very unlikely to get past the stand’s gatekeeper to talk to anyone… though never say never – it has been known to happen! So, have a plan, make appointments in advance (if you can) and when you attend, do so expecting to come up against a few ‘brush-offs’ from seemingly disinterested publishing companies.

Having said that, there’s just so much to immerse yourself in as a writer at LBF – that’s without even mentioning the various celebrity appearances. Last year, Conchita Wurst (Eurovision winner) was a guest speaker. The year before, I bumped into a famous TV gardener and a few years back Gordon Brown (then Prime Minister) stumbled onto our stand. LBF always has an excellent line-up of well-known visiting authors, as well. This year sees a range of authors including Jeffrey Archer, Marian Keyes, Julian Fellowes and Tracey Chevalier. I’ll certainly be attending; I can’t wait.

Keep an eye out for our follow-up piece on the LBF in video format, coming soon.

About The Author

Rachel is the Editor of The Self-Publishing Magazine. The magazine aims to educate, inform and entertain the world about everything to do with self-publishing. Rachel has an English degree and a Creative Writing MA from the University of Southampton, and writes in her spare time. She is also a keen runner and an avid reader, especially of historical fiction.

Video Update!

From the editor…

As we move into February, literary events season looms. You can expect lots of articles explaining how indie authors can really make the most of the events that are on offer.

You may have noticed our recent piece about DIY self-publishing. As the name suggests, this is for authors who are considering what it might take to ‘go it alone’. It’s the first in our mini series looking at the very basics of self-publishing – ideal for those who are new to this or repeat authors considering a fresh approach.

Expand...

It’s been great to hear from so many of you already in 2017. If you think of anything you’d like to see featured on the site, or would like to contribute, get in touch. That’s how the Back to Basics series came about!

We would love your feedback

At The Self-Publishing Magazine, we are always trying to cater to our audience, so we would love to here from you.

Please feel free to fill in our survey by clicking here, your feedback is always appreciated.

Indie Pick

dosag-cover

This limited edition book is a love note to Canada by its creator, and Zelpha Comics founder, Luanga Nuwame.

The book is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter… help make this one-of-a-kind collectible item a reality.

On July 1st 2017, Canada turns 150 – and the entire country is celebrating all year long. To mark this grand anniversary, Zelpha Comics is launching a unique, collectible hybrid book to showcase the people, landmarks, wildlife, inventions, international relationships and interesting factoids that Canada is famous for.

150 Years of Awesome Canada is an innovative combination of a multiple set trading card series and large format coffee table book. Each glossy page contains 8 to 12 cards, which readers can cut out. 150 Years of Awesome Canada also contains trading cards that tackle intriguing subjects such as the growth of gay rights, free trade, universal healthcare, G8 Power, women of distinction, Canada at war and Canadian comic book legends. There is even a comedic ‘President Trump meets PM Trudeau’ card – to our knowledge, the first one to be made.

Recent Tweets