How To Get The Most Out Of A Book Fair

How To Get The Most Out Of A Book Fair, Guest post by Dan Brotzel, co-author of Kitten on a Fatberg.

Guest post by Dan Brotzel, co-author of Kitten on a Fatberg.

How to get the most out of a book fair

How To Get The Most Out Of A Book Fair, Guest post by Dan Brotzel, co-author of Kitten on a Fatberg.
Book fairs can be daunting – especially the big, international ones like London and Frankfurt. They are meeting points for thousands of publishing professionals – agents, publishers, booksellers, distributors, licensers and buyers and sellers of rights – and a lot of what they do can seem somewhat remote and arcane to the average author. Having said that, in the twenty odd years that I’ve been going to book fairs, I’ve noticed they’ve become a lot more author-friendly. These days, they can be great places for authors to keep abreast of publishing trends, as well as to meet other authors and network. Here are a few tips on what to do when attending your next book fair.

Come prepared
The last thing you want is to turn up at the fair and wander around aimlessly for hours trying to work out (a) where you are, and (b) who to talk to. Before you arrive, take the time to study the fair’s website. Decide which conferences and seminars are relevant to you and find out where and when are they happening. It’s a good idea to book ahead for the popular ones. Also look at who is exhibiting. The book fair app will contain a map of the hall so you can familiarise yourself with the layout and locate the stands of any publishers of interest. The London Book Fair (LBF) now has an author club, with its own newsletter, discounts for author events at the fair, and a chance to get your book into the hands of agents and publishers.

Listen and learn
Book fairs often host fascinating talks by authors in which they talk about their journey to publishing success, be it through conventional means (getting an agent and then a publisher) or by self-publishing. There are seminars in which industry experts offer authors advice on how to get their work published, as well as panel discussions about trends in the publishing industry. A recent innovation at LBF is ‘The Write Stuff’, a Dragon’s Den-style event in which authors pitch their books to a panel of literary agents in front of an audience, bidding to win a follow-up meeting with an agent.

Take advantage
Book fairs are great places to meet publishers, editors and agents, so don’t be shy about going up to them and introducing yourself. Remember though that most of the people on the stands are rights sellers meeting with other publishers, so they won’t have a lot of time for authors. Occasionally you may be lucky and meet an editor on a stand, but this is unusual. The best time to meet publishing professionals is by booking an agent one-to-one meeting (available at LBF) or at networking drinks after the fair has closed.

Finally, remember that book fairs aren’t all about hard work. They are also great places to socialise and share your successes and woes with fellow authors. Don’t wear yourself out by trying to do too much. Plan ahead and try to be disciplined about what you do and see. At the same time, always expect the unexpected: book fairs are brilliant places for serendipitous meetings, usually in the coffee queues. One final tip: book fairs take place in enormous exhibition halls and entail an awful lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes!

How To Get The Most Out Of A Book Fair, Guest post by Dan Brotzel, co-author of Kitten on a Fatberg.
Dan Brotzel
Dan Brotzel (@brotzel_fiction) and Alex Woolf are co-authors of a collection of a new comic novel, Kitten on a Fatberg (Unbound). To pre-order Kitten on a Fatberg for a 10% discount, quote KITTEN10  

How To Get The Most Out Of A Book Fair, Guest post by Dan Brotzel, co-author of Kitten on a Fatberg.
Alex Woolf 


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