So earlier this month I attended London Book Fair. The fair is an annual event and is designed for publishers and publishing related individuals to engage in trade agreements and ‘talk shop’.
There are a number of talks and seminars throughout the days it is on and this year it covered three days in mid March.
I received a free ticket to the event through www.bookmachine.org which is an online networking platform for people in the publishing industry. I travelled down to London on all three days to attend as there were a number of talks I was interested in hearing about.
My general overall experience was very positive. I learnt a lot and discovered some new authors which is fantastic. The show is unfortunately more geared towards industry professionals however and I get the impression that if you are not part of this throng it’s difficult to ‘fit in’ however it is still well worth a visit just for the experience and talks.
The talks and seminars were of a very high quality although I was disappointed to note that if you were not there at least 15 minutes before you were unlikely to get a seat or even in the room especially on the more popular courses / talks. A lot of them clashed also which I suppose can’t be helped due to time constraints although I feel this could have been planned a bit better as there seemed to be many clashing talks.
The building itself is incredibly large and difficult to navigate and I found some time was wasted trying to get from place to place as a complicated map was necessary due to the sheer vastness of the place. In addition the food in the venue was incredibly overpriced and so I preferred to bring my own after the first day!
In respect of the talks and seminars I attended quite a few including ‘Connecting Readers to Content and Keeping Their Interest’, ‘How to Write for Film’, ‘Spotlight: America’, ‘How to Achieve Success in a Career in Publishing’, ‘There is No Such Thing as the Reader’, ‘The Creative Writing Process’ and quite a few more.
Each day I attended I also received lots of free literature including copies of The Bookseller, an industry magazine for publishing specialists, the New York Review of Books and some free books too! I picked up many publisher’s catalogues which detail the latest titles they have published; obviously for ideas on what to read next. Many of the publishers I couldn’t see were there to sell any of their published books as it isn’t really the point of the fair but I did buy one book on photography which was allowed.
Comedian Ruby Wax was in attendance also as she is raising awareness of her new initiative ‘Frazzled Cafes’ which is in association with Marks and Spencer. The high street retailer will be hosting cafes to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide a space for those who suffer with mental health issues or just want a quiet space to gather. I grabbed a copy of her new book ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’ for a small donation and she signed it and posed for photos with me. She is a great advocate for this kind of thing as she has been a mental health campaigner for a long time and also holds a Masters Degree in mind based cognitive therapy. She, like many of us at one time, has also suffered with her mental health and I highly recommend her book. I’ll write a full review soon! See the link below for Marks and Spencer’s press release on the initiative.
Did you go to LBF2017 and what were your experiences?