Yesterday I gave myself a treat and went to the London Book Fair at Earls Court.
This is an annual event which attracts an International assembly of publishers and literary agents – and anything to do with the book business in fact.
This year the ban on flights into the UK had a serious impact on the number of professionals who could attend – but the Fair went on bravely nevertheless.
So what was I doing there when this is primarily a business meeting event for the trade?
Seminars and presentations to expand my horizons. A day away from my desk to take advantage of a rare opportunity to hear from the best in the biz – and visit loads of publishers trade stands and digital stands.
And in particular hearing from experts on a topic I am very interested in – Teen Fiction and the expansion of fiction into graphic novels and digital format. Only one session on Teen Writing in the US was cancelled because the speaker was stuck in the USA, and I went to a crime writing seminar and an agent pitching tips session instead, but otherwise all went to schedule.
Best for me?
* Visiting the Harlequin Mills and Boon stand and meeting my former editor and some of the sales team -who are working their flat [ standing all day and Earls Court is HUGE with loads of stairs] shoes off selling our books and promoting the new covers and branding designs to the trade.
* Writing for Teens. The Panel was Barry Cunningham of UK Publishers Chicken House, and authors Rachel Ward and Sophia Bennett.
* New Opportunities: Graphic Novels and Digital. David Fickling, Ian Rankin [ who is passionate about comics and graphic novels] and Paul Gravett and Emma Hayley who runs a graphic novel company.
And lastly – I blagged permission well in advance to attend ‘New Books from UK Children’s Publishers’ – a 90 min presentation from all of the top publishers to independent Bookseller.
AND it was FABULOUS!
The passion for the books was totally infections and the books were stunning. I did think that it would be totally cheeky to stay for the drinks party for the booksellers who work so hard to hand sell these books – and it was after 6pm – but the publishers had arranged for many of the authors to attend the party and meet the booksellers in person. Sigh.
This Book Fair is not designed for authors – it is a business event for the trade where booksellers and literary agents and publishers meet face to face and made deals. But the spin off is that this is one place where you can meet top names and experts who were there to work. It also runs for several days – and it can be tough to chose one day, but SO interesting.
And I came away with two new story ideas just allowing my brain to spin off in lateral directions.
Now. Back to work. Books to write LOL.