My day at the LBF 2013
In another life I used to be a Rights Manager. Book Fairs consisted of 3-5 days (depending on where they were) of back-to-back meetings every 15 mins, explaining the concepts of colour therapy and alien abduction to bemused Ukrainian publishers.
Now I go with one of my clients, Louise Jordan at the Writers’ Advice Centre and we meet authors to discuss their ideas for children’s books. Not only are the meetings more spread out, they’re a lot more interesting (and Louise provides sandwiches and wine – which also makes the day run very smoothly!).
I did a post before I went for the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook on whether authors should attend, so I approached the day with that question in mind. What would you get out of it as an author?
Well this year, you could book free appointments with Louise and me if you write for children. There were some coveted ‘pitch to a real live agent’ slots at the Author’s Lounge. The stall next to us had free cupcakes and lovely bags..
As I said in my piece for Writers’ & Artists’, the most useful element of the fair is to get a sense of who the main publishers are (the bigger the publisher, the plusher the stand), and what they’re promoting as their lead titles.
Traditionally there was always the Other Room at the LBF where the organisers hid remainder book companies (the dirty truth about where books go to die) and production companies (the tedious truth about how books are born) and a few other oddities. This seems to have morphed into the Tech Area. It’s got Very Glossy.
Self-published authors are big business, and the companies are out there to get your attention. Amazon, Kobo, self-publishing packagers, Ether Books (look them up – they’ve got an extremely interesting approach) are here – and here to stay.
Their stands are professional, and unlike the rest of the fair, they welcome new authors with open arms. There was a full schedule of seminars and events, and even a couple of waiters circulating with canapes. Canapes no less!
Did you go this year? If so, what did you think? And if not, would you consider going another year?
PS I would write about the book launch I attended at the end of the day – but there were no copies of the book there… I did pick up a copy digitally later, but it doesn’t feel like a launch without a book!
April 17, 2013