Our New Year’s Resolutions might have flown out the window, but it’s still time to think about the future and getting ahead. Writers all across the UK and beyond will be making the most of an upcoming event which looks to find new talent and publicise industry news from across the world.
The London Book Fair is one of the highlights of the literary calendar. Attracting star-studded names, top publishers and large audiences, the week-long LBF is definitely the place to be for any aspiring author.
Often held at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, the LBF has recently moved to the cavernous Olympia in West Kensington, giving this spectacular event the chance to spread out and strut its stuff. Places can get booked up months in advance with hundreds of up and coming novelists jostling for a place at one of the most reputable events of the year.
However, it’s not just new writers who plan to attend the LBF. Established authors use the event as a wonderful chance to build new contacts, network with illustrators and just generally catch up with the world of books.
But with so many faces and titles on show from across the globe, how do you get noticed?
Here are our five top tips for getting a foot in the door at the London Book Fair.
- Know your stuff Make sure to do your research before you head down. Who will be there and on which day? Will there be Q&A sessions? And who will be on hand to give you the advice you need?
- Make appointments Publishers are happy to meet with writers and you can arrange an appointment to make sure you get seen. It’s good to do this several months in advance. Agents and Editors tend to get fully-booked very quickly so nab your slot in advance – a phone call is always better than an email and can make you more memorable when you meet face to face. Be armed with a plot synopsis, your first three chapters and a marketing strategy (and don’t skimp on paper quality!). If you happen to blag a chance meeting with a top publisher this will leave the best impression.
- Don’t be distracted! Large children’s publishers often take up lots of room, covering several pitches and use bright, colourful displays to say, “I’m here!” You might find yourself queued up outside a circus marquee for half the day. However, don’t miss out on the smaller, up and coming publishers who may be occupying smaller plots and might have more time to give you detailed industry advice. Scout around and find out the best new presses in town.
- Go to seminars – but not all of them! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the extensive programme of events and talks that go on at the LBF. Seats are like gold-dust with popular talks so make sure you get there early (I’d recommend about an hour in advance) and keep hydrated – with all those creative juices flowing, it can get quite hot in there… Pick and choose the talks where you will have chance to network with the most people and get answers to your all-important questions.
- Tap into trends There’ll be a lot of gossip floating around the hall! Keep your ears out for up and coming trends in the market. Does your latest book fit in with the hottest new theme? Speak up now! You’re in the perfect place!
The London Book Fair is definitely the place to start if you want to go global and get your name heard on the literary scene. So the best advice I’d give to authors is be bold, have confidence in your work and remember – don’t ask, don’t get.
The London Book Fair is held on 13-19 April 2015 - book your place today!
Jennifer Lane is a children's writer based in Lancaster. When not scribbling away at her latest fantasy novel, she is probably outside getting muddy and watching the birds.