Wednesday, April 17, 2013
London Book Fair
So I went to the London Book Fair. Someone once said - I'm sorry, I don't remember who - that a book fair is no place for a writer, but it's perhaps a sign of the times that this year there was a strong emphasis on self publishing, with seminars on things like how an author needs to be an entrepreneur, and Advanced Marketing for authors, and there was a dedicated Author's Lounge for unpublished authors - though I'm not quite sure who they were supposed to be networking with: each other? I somehow can't imagine a load of agents and publishers coming down to be networked with, though I did attend a session there entitled The Future of the Literary Agent, in which Hellie Ogden, who has recently joined Janklow and Nesbit, talked of a new relationship between authors and agents in which authors appointing agents want to know what agents can do for them. The whole tenor of this session, at which Andrew Lownie of Andrew Lownie Associates also spoke, was that it's a whole new world in publishing, with agents taking a much more active and creative role in managing the careers of their authors, and many publishers getting left behind in a quickly-changing digital ethos, overtaken by e-self-publishing and the kind of enterprise Andrew Lownie himself has - apparently very successfully - begun, trialing books as ebooks and via print on demand.
The Authors' Lounge for this event was vastly overcrowded, with people standing and sitting on the floor, and I did take a photo to show you, but I'm afraid when I got back to my very cheap hotel with absolutely no room whatever in the bathroom, the iphone (on which I'd taken the photo) slid off the pile of towels on top of the lavatory cistern into the loo (which made it in the end a very expensive yet inconvenient hotel). I know it's a cliche, dropping your phone in the loo when you're drunk, and I can't deny I'd had a glass or two, but still...
I was at the fair to take part in a Salt panel on How to Build Social and Brand Equity on a Shoestring. Branding was a key word at this fair. The great message of our panel was that we all have to be ourselves, yet we all need to be a brand, indeed we need to brand ourselves, so figure that one out, dear Readers. In fact, our great chair, Elaine Aldred is going to blog about the event, and I'll link to her post when she does.