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London Book Fair

(13 Posts)
TiggyD Sat 11-Feb-17 23:23:12

Anybody going?

Is it good? Worth going if you're a wannabie author? Or is it just s business thing? 14th-16th March 2017.

kungfupannda Mon 13-Feb-17 16:45:54

I think it depends on what you are hoping to get out of it.

I'm thinking of going this year for the first time - a couple of my friends went last year and said it was a great experience. But they were treating it as a fun event, and a chance to learn a bit more about how the industry works.

The author events are supposed to be worthwhile, so I'm thinking about going to some of those, and just having a bit of a wander around. I know it's not somewhere to approach agents or editors - they are only there to make deals for existing clients, or to buy and sell rights. I'm not anticipating setting eyes on my agent or editor, even if I do go!

I think there are some pitching events on the authors' program - I know my agent did some one-to-ones last year.

TiggyD Wed 15-Feb-17 16:34:05

Hmm. I was hoping there might have been some agents left around unattended. Think I'll give it a miss. It does seem more of an industry thing.

ImperialBlether Wed 15-Feb-17 16:37:46

My agent said she and her colleagues had so many interviews with publishers they didn't have time to go to the loo. I do know one woman on my creative writing course who got there just at opening time and spoke to a few agents, but to be honest, she could have just sent them her work by email instead. There's no benefit to being face-to-face; either they like your writing and want to take you on or they don't.

If you're sending work out, I'd avoid the few weeks before and after the Fair as they all seem to be focusing on that.

Kai1977 Wed 15-Feb-17 16:51:39

ImperialBlether That's interesting, is there really no point in the one to ones? With most of them you send work to them in advance I think and then get 10 minutes to chat about your (finished or WIP) work.

I'm starting to think about agent approaches and had never considered the face to faces but all the writing festivals seem to have them now and I wondered if they at least help you stand out in the application afterwards (Dear X, good to meet you at the LBF, here's the chapters we discussed)? Too late for the LBF as applications are closed now anyway.

I'm interested to see what those who are further down the process think about it all though?

NamelessEnsign Wed 15-Feb-17 16:53:53

I'm in the industry and I can confirm that I have an appointment every 30 minutes from 9am to 6pm for all three days - all with publishers and agents and I expect other partners to drop by too. I definitely can't accommodate many drop ins! And the agents are usually in the agent's centre, which requires you to have an appointment before entering.

I second advice above to avoid making submissions around LBF as it is a very busy time. Good luck smile.

DeterminedToChange Wed 15-Feb-17 17:20:30

A one-to-one can be great if you're at an event set up for that. An agent can hear what you've got to say then have a chat about (eg) that genre not being popular at the moment and have you considered another genre (for example.) Crashing an event which is really meant for industry professionals isn't the same thing at all - they are there to do deals, not to take on new authors.

I went to the Mumsnet Get Published day a couple of years ago and met Jessie Botterill for my one-to-one. She was really nice and friendly and listened to my pitch and asked me to send three chapters in. I wasn't in a better position then, though, than anyone else who sent it in without having met her.

When I got an agent, we didn't speak on the phone until the call when she offered to represent me. We didn't meet until a few months later, when I met my editor. It didn't matter - phone calls and emails are fine - in fact emails are best because you have a paper record of what's been said.

It's all in the writing, not in the personality of the writer. Obviously they need to know that you're open to change and you can be polite and friendly etc, but in the end if the writing isn't good enough, they just can't take it on.

DeterminedToChange Wed 15-Feb-17 17:22:32

I do think the festivals and the one-to-ones there are really motivating and you can learn a lot.

DownHereInTheHorridHouse Wed 15-Feb-17 17:25:08

I wouldn't. The publishers I know get really ticked off by people who try to grab them and pitch - I think it could backfire. Much better to get a considered response when they aren't all going running round in circles.

Kai1977 Wed 15-Feb-17 17:39:31

Thanks all, just to clarify, I am talking about the one to ones you can actually book to meet agents at. LBF now closed for applications but this is an example:

Kai1977 Wed 15-Feb-17 17:40:08

Oh and sorry if I am hijacking the thread, hopefully still relevant for the OP!

ImperialBlether Wed 15-Feb-17 18:07:41

You can go to @askagent on Twitter, too, and lots of them have YouTube videos and articles in magazines. Novelicious is a good site for interviews.

OnTheRise Sun 19-Feb-17 09:53:13

As has already been said, the LBF isn't really an author event and most publishing professionals are involved in meetings in the agents' centre, where all the rights selling (the heart of the event) goes on.

It's an interesting day out and most of the events are very good. I'm going this year: my agent has asked me to meet a few editors there (she's going to be trying to sell a book of mine there), and I've been asked to give a couple of interviews, which is nice. But it's not a social event, and I'm only going to be able to meet the people I'm meeting because my agent has set everything up. We have very strict appointments and will have to adhere to them.

Don't go there with a view to finding an agent or a publishing deal. The easiest way to find an agent is to send your work in to them, following their guidelines to the letter.

Yes, you can get one-to-one sessions at most writers' festivals now but very few agents go to these events; and even if you are asked to send your work in following those events, you will just end up in the slush pile with everyone else. So go to writers' conferences with a view to learning about writing and publishing, meeting people, and having a great time, but not in order to get representation.

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