If you are an author and you have never visited the London Book Fair then you have, my friend, never lived at least that is my humble opinion on the matter. The huge, bustling event is proof, if ever any were needed that the thirst for opportunities to learn through some form of ‘book’ whether printed, spoken or e is huge and the market is getting bigger – you only have to look at the size of the event each year to realise that despite the doom and gloom of the nay-sayers that this is only going to grow even bigger too.
Now, imagine being part of all that and how exciting and uplifting it is to be a part of it and feel the buzz. I’m visiting for two days, today and tomorrow, sadly I can’t do Wednesday because I’m running a small seminar table at a networking event back in Dorset, if anyone else is visiting and they feel like sharing a coffee and a chat then why not send a tweet to @lindaph and we can quickly meet up and say ‘hello’.
The reason I started attending this brilliant event was because .. way back in the dim and distant past … I actually went to Library School. My ambition as a teenager heading off to University was to become a librarian and I sort of did, eventually. I did my first degree in Theology (I know, call me mad!) and then a Masters in Information Science at the Loughborough University Library School. It was at this point that I really discovered the power of the web, even though I’d been using the Internet for years, and the rest as they often say, is history because it was out of this MSc that the Hysterectomy Association appeared.
The London Book Fair was therefore on my radar back in the mid 1990’s but it took until the early 2000’s to make the effort to attend and I did so because I’d just self published my first two books – The Pocket Guide to Hysterectomy and 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy. I didn’t know anything about publishing, had bought a set of ISBN’s and was now wondering what to do next. The fair sorted me out by slapping me around the face a few times with several wet fish and reminded me that the writing and printing were just the first tiny step on a very long journey and that the real work was still to come.
I’m pleased to say that the various seminars helped me enormously. I visited publishing stands, I heard their pitches, I listened to authors talk about their experiences and I loved every minute of it. As a result of that first visit, together with valuable insights gathered I now have a couple of best sellers on my hands. I’ve been able to apply all I learnt and adapt it over the years, but that wouldn’t have been possible without the first, tentative visit into the heart of the lions den.
This year I’m hoping to find out more about things like the ever increasing blurring of boundaries between roles in the publishing industry and what the experts think will happen in the future too. I’d like to learn more about the future of eBooks (having started out in the late 1990’s with pdf downloads and now moving into the Kindle etc…) and content development. I’d like to get some more hints and tips to improve book sales and I also want to hear ‘the great debate’ called ‘the fight for survival.
I’d urge every author to get themselves out of their studies and away from their desks just once each year to put themselves in the way of getting the biggest buzz you will ever have from being a part of this amazing industry and head off to your nation’s book fair.