I’m really looking forward to the London Book Fair, the annual showcase for publishers from all over the world. Many international and domestic publishing deals are completed in London, which is why it’s such a big event for the British publishing industry.
Authors at London Book Fair (LBF)
I’ve been going to London for more than ten years. In the beginning, when I was still looking for a literary agent and a traditional publishing contract, I took part in seminars aimed at unpublished writers, organised outside the Fair proper. In those days, attending the actual London Book Fair was a lonely pursuit; as an aspiring author, I felt like an outsider at an event for the industry I was an integral part of. Why were authors so ignored, I wondered. What, I asked myself, would all these people working in publishing do without us authors – even, and particularly, the aspiring ones?
The Alliance of Independent Authors
I didn’t really feel at home at the Fair until I witnessed the inaugural meeting of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) in 2012. Suddenly there was an organisation, filled with authors like me, who’d also taken the plunge and self-published their books with Amazon KDP. Authors who wanted to find readers for their work themselves, rather than rely on traditional gatekeepers, with their individual tastes, to validate their worth. These were the first author/entrepreneurs, headed by Orna Ross, who self-published their books and earned their royalties direct from distributors without the help of publishers or literary agents.
The Changing Face of Publishing
The world of publishing has changed a lot since those early, heady days of self-publishing. The traditional and indie worlds are getting closer and closer together, with both parts of the industry learning from each other at events like The London Book Fair.
Today indie authors, or rather, author-publishers, as well as aspiring authors, attend London to network, learn more about the industry and to sell rights to their own works – or find out how to get a traditional agent and publishing deal.
Author Events at LBF
There are several seminars at the London Book Fair for authors, sponsored by the self-publish platforms like Amazon, IngramSpark and Kobo. These are usually held at the Author HQ (stand 1F60). There’s even a Dragon’s Den type of event called Write Stuff where authors pitch their ideas live to agents.
This year ALLi also has its own stand (1E40) where there are one-to-one consultations and book giveaways. For those who are not able to attend the Fair, ALLi runs twice yearly Self-Publishing Advice Conferences online.
If you are an author who is planning to attend the LBF, don’t forget it’s not all about serious work. There are lots and lots of parties too! What’s more, it’s easy to find them. Just look out for groups of people standing around holding paper cups after the main business of the day has been completed. Join them and network – some of my best contacts have been made during one of these drinks parties.
One party I will be attending is on Wednesday 11th when Head & Heart book publishing celebrate its birthday at 5pm. You are most welcome to come along! See below for details.
Want to Write and Publish a Book?
If you are at the London Book Fair and would like to meet up to discuss a book project with me, let me know. I have a few spots left and would love to find out how I could help you to get that project off the page and into print! Comment on this post or find more about my mentoring programme here.
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