I’m going to The London Book Fair!
I’m incredibly excited, as both a writer and a publishing student, to be able to attend the book fair this year. This opportunity has been afforded to me, and fellow publishing students from my university, in order to expand and develop our knowledge and understanding of the business (in other words, our tickets were free. Huzzah!)
So what exactly is The London Book Fair? My immediate thoughts (before educating myself) were cast back to the little book fairs you had at primary school. You know? The ‘book people’ would bring their big vans packed with metal shelves full of books, and unload them into your school’s reception, atrium, or wherever there was an iota of space. Then you’d line up, be given a little yellow slip on which you had to write down books you wanted, and then elbow other children that got in your way. Then you’d stalk the shelves like a pre-pubescent tiger hunting an antelope as you tried to get the copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone before anyone else could.
Another of my misconceptions was believing the fair to be like Comic-con. No later than I had sewn together my life-size costume of China Miéville’s award-winning novel The City & The City, I was told that it isn’t a place where people go in fancy dress. See the picture below for too many people not wearing their favourite book as a costume.
So, I decided to Google the blighter. The fair generally attracts around 25,000 people, from over 125 countries, to rub shoulders with publishers and stare intensely at people.
Jokes aside, there are two main reasons that compel me to go.
- This is a place to hear interesting talks, stories, and seminars from authors, editors, and agents. It’s a place to learn from those already in the book trade.
- To network and meet other publishers & writers, including people from different countries.
It is not a place that you go to pitch and/or sell books unless you have been invited to do so. Nor is it a massive bookshop, which is a massive disappointment (though I’m disappointed whenever I go to a place that isn’t a massive bookshop.) But it is a trade fair, populated by rows upon rows, stalls upon stalls, halls upon halls of people that work in the book trade. And that is good enough for me.
I’m looking forward to going immensely. With any luck, this will turn into a yearly pilgrimage for me.
If you’re interested in the London Book Fair and want to go, click here for the website where you can book your tickets and/or find more out about it.
Expect to see a blog post about it in the future, after the book fair is over (14th-16th of March.)
Thanks for reading, see you soon!