Monday, 4 March 2013

Guest Post: Writers take centre stage at the 2013 London Book Fair

For years, Authoright has been droning on and on to anyone who’ll listen about how authors have been largely neglected by the big international book fairs. Despite the fact that these events are overwhelmingly business-to-business focused, huge numbers of authors turn up each year, hoping to land an agent or give their manuscript to a publisher. And each year they leave disappointed. Given the way in which the industry is changing, with previously cast iron roles losing their definition and becoming more fluid, and the wealth of new publishing solutions available, we really felt that it was high time that book fairs recognised the importance of author education and made themselves more accessible to those talented individuals who, ironically, the whole industry is built upon.

Our proposal to The London Book Fair was ambitious and yet straightforward: we wanted to create a vibrant, stimulating area in which writers could access all the information they could possibly require about every single aspect of the book trade - from cover design to editing, from distribution to marketing, from getting an agent to setting retail prices, and everything in between - consult with experts and attend valuable workshops and seminars. It wasn’t to be a crude sales opportunity, but rather an open marketplace in which authors could shop around for advice and information, chat with publishers, new tech companies and even - drum roll please - literary agents. We even dared to suggest that writers should have their own drinks receptions. Heaven forfend!

Luckily for us, The London Book Fair team were very supportive and ahead of the curve in recognising the importance of “author services” - sorry, that’s an awful term but the trade is awash with it at present - and the need to embrace authors rather than to marginalise them. Whilst there has been a space for author at the fair before, it has always felt half-hearted; we should know, we’ve been involved with it and have been desperate for its true potential to be reached. This year The LBF AuthorLounge curated by Authoright will be the perfect place for all writers, whether they’re seeking a traditional deal or planning to self publish. It’ll be divided into three distinct sections: The Seminar Room, The Lounge, and The Pitch, which we are especially excited about. The Pitch will give unpublished authors the opportunity to present their manuscripts to literary agents, for the first time ever at The London Book Fair. The event will be free and we anticipate it to fill up quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on our microsite for more information on how you can book yourself a slot.

The Seminar Room will play host to an eclectic line-up of speakers from across the publishing landscape - including Foyles, Penguin, Kobo, Faber & Faber, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency and Matador - who’ll be giving lectures and Q&As on a raft of contemporary publishing issues. Bestselling authors like Polly Courtney and Nick Spalding, who have both self published and had traditional deals, will be offering tips and insight.

So whether you want to pitch your book to a literary agent, find out if bookstores have a future, attend a tutorial on cover design, have your manuscript assessed in a text clinic, learn about marketing options, or speak to a direct publishing platform guru about their royalty rates, then you’ll be able to do it at The LBF AuthorLounge curated by Authoright. Many of Authoright’s UK team will be there too, including CEO Gareth Howard and Director of Marketing Hayley Radford, who’ll be on hand to answer questions and help authors get the most out of the event. We’ll be offering discounted tickets to The London Book Fair to authonomy members as well as holding a special authonomy drinks party on one of the evenings during the fair. We hope you’ll join us.

We’ll be announcing further details over the next few weeks; keep an eye out on Twitter for the hashtags #LBF13 and #AuthorLounge.

For full details of The LBF AuthorLounge curated by Authoright, please visit our microsite.

4 comments:

Mary Vensel White said...

As publishing opportunities and choices have expanded for writers, so have the many ways they can be misled and mistreated. I’ve been to several conferences over the years and it wasn’t until recently that anyone would even address self-publishing or digital publishing. But the tides are turning. At this point, anyone hoping to get their work to print should be really focused on educating themselves about what’s out there, and it’s nice to see writers’ conferences, book fairs and festivals beginning to shift to include considerations of self publishing and other non-traditional routes. This sounds like a wonderful event and you’ve provided a variety of ways for aspiring authors to educate themselves and network. I hope many UK-based authonomy members will take advantage and attend.

The Gray Monk said...

After a couple of expensive (for me) and non-productive years attending the London Book Fair, where the only people who would talk to me were those wanting me to pay to publish through them, or pay to have them take what I had published and 'promote' it, I more or less gave up on Book Fairs, so it's good to see that someone is at last recognising that even unpublished authors may have something worth looking at. If I lived in the UK now I might have risked another venture into London, but I now live in Germany - so I'll explore the Frankfurt Buchmesse once again and hope that Authonomy and Authorite try their 'experiment' once more.

Playfull Genie Muse ~ CreaTEAvity said...

Ah! This is wonderful news! I'm a virgin to the London Book Fair extravaganza so thanking my lucky stars I will be able to take advantage of this great opportunity. Thanks so much!

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