How to Make the Most of London Book Fair 2020
Every year the publishing industry goes a bit crazy during London Book Fair week in March. I have been to the London Book Fair every year bar one, for the last five years.
The first year I went as an agent’s assistant and was therefore on the agent’s floor – which is separate from the actual fair as this is where rights deals are made. The second-year I attended as with the recruitment agency, Atwood Tate. I was their Administrator and Social Media Coordinator at the time and I was running a competition, making a YouTube video, and generally documenting the whole experience.
The following year I didn’t attend because I had just started as a Marketing and Publicity Executive at Canelo, and Marketing and Publicity Executives don’t need to go to the London Book Fair. But the following year, as a Campaign’s Officer working under the Sales Director I did go and I attended many meetings alongside her in a sales capacity.
This year I will be attending as a Trailblazer/speaker, but also a representative of my company HarperCollins.
I am talking on two London Book Fair panels:
- Trailblazers 2020: What’s Next For Publishing on Wednesday 11th March at 2:30-3:30 pm in the National Hall Gallery
- How to Get Ahead in Publishing on Wednesday 11th March at 5:15-6:15 pm in Olympia Room, Grand Hall
So if you’re around on Wednesday 11th March at the London Book Fair then let me know! I’ll be around all afternoon.
How to prepare for the London Book Fair
But this post isn’t about me, it’s about how to make the most of the London Book Fair. Today I’m going to share my top tips, based on experience.
1. Wear trainers!
You’re going to be walking a lot! The Kensington Olympia is massive and there are a lot of things to see. Not to mention very few places to eat or sit and very long queues. Don’t wear heels whatever you do, by the end of the day you’ll feet will be killing you. That being said whilst flats are better they don’t offer that much support on your feet so if you’re going to be there longer than a day I would go trainers for maximum support.
2. Be prepared
Know what conferences you want to go to, where they’re based, and have a map. If you know that’s there’s a conference that ends at 2:30 and another that begins at 2:45 make sure you have a rough idea of where each of the conferences are in the building. Sometimes it can take as long as 15 minutes to get through the crowds so make sure you have your bearings.
Also, bring a notepad and pens – plural, as they’ll run out – and don’t expect lots of freebies. This is an industry event, not a funfair.
3. Decide on your priorities
Reiterating the above fact, the London Book Fair is an industry event so make sure you know why you’re there.
If you’re coming because you want to get a job in the publishing industry then make sure you attend the relevant conferences – like the Society of Young Publishers on getting in and getting ahead in publishing. Not to mention finding out where the recruiters are based and contacting them on Twitter or Facebook in advance to see what their thoughts are on talking to potential new applicants for roles. I would also highly recommend the Career Clinic at LBF if you’re looking to get into publishing.
If you’re an author or want to be, then I highly recommend you check out the Authors HQ and check out these events.
4. Use social media
The London Book Fair is very good at utilising social media over the course of the fair. Follow the hashtags – usually #LBF20 – and follow the relevant people you want to see or talk to. If you’re going as an author then follow the authors that are going to be speaking so that you can confirm the talk times and whereabouts of the events.
Follow the publishers you like the most to see what content they’re producing for the fair. Some publishers give away copies of their upcoming books at certain points and announce this via Twitter. Others perform stunts – who can forget the Handmaid’s Tale stunts from 2019?
5. Bring a portable charger
There are charging stations around the fair but these are often full and take an age to actually charge your phones or laptops. Bring a portable charger and your own cables to stay in touch with the outside world as London Book Fair does become its own type of planet when it’s on.
6. Bring snacks
Of course, there is food on offer but if you’re broke or unable to stand in a queue longer than fifteen minutes I would recommend bringing some snacks. Energy bars, crisps, a sandwich. You also don’t know when you’re going to get a chance to eat if you’re back and forth in meetings so this really is the top advice I can give.
7. Stay hydrated!
It gets hot, but there are plenty of water filling stations. Bring your own (sustainable) water bottle and refill whenever you can. Hydration is key to energy and you’re going to need a lot of it at the London Book Fair.
There we go. My top tips! There will be plenty of others shared over the next few weeks so have a read. But most importantly have fun! The publishing industry is great, but remember it’s just books.