Review: The London Book Fair 2014


This week I’ve mostly lived up to my female stereotype. No, I haven’t been baking scones or screaming at children in supermarket aisles, rather I’ve been multi-tasking like a wizened ninja. Monday was admin; Tuesday & Friday were music; and on Wednesday and Thursday I went along to The London Book Fair ready to immerse myself in its soft, papery underbelly…

But first off, I’d forgotten the golden rule: trade shows are not meant to be fun. They’re huge, soulless places full of glaring lights, stale coffee and clammy skin – and LBF didn’t disappoint. However, as I walked in and strolled down the aisles of books, I still felt a frisson of excitement as I always do in such close proximity to tons of books. I gazed at their beautiful covers, their crisp, silky pages & their very newness, all the while surreptitiously stealing sweets from stands when the stallholders weren’t looking. It worked in the main.

And throughout the two days I spent there, I went to some inspiring presentations, soaked up some interesting facts & figures and drank my bodyweight in coffee so chewy, it could have had a part in Star Wars.

Some of the fantastic self-published success stories speaking included Hugh Howey, Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy, who all had wise words to impart, along with self- publishing must-dos & try-to-avoids. However, the most important pieces of advice were to keep writing and keep your sense of humour. I know it’s a cliche, but Americans know how to inspire and enthuse and I emerged from one such talk featuring Bella and Barbara ready to take on the world! Revolution is ours! Then promptly nearly got run over at those traffic lights just outside Earl’s Court. Still.

I also managed to chat to people from self-publishing hubs Kobo, Kindle and Nook about promoting your book & becoming more discoverable, one of the key buzzwords around the show. I’m sure there was plenty else going on, but for me and all the other self-published authors present, Author HQ was where it was at, offering advice, guidance, free books and even a professional photoshoot courtesy of Kobo.

This being my first London Book Fair since helping my dad out on his book label stall over 20 years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a great couple of days where I met a bunch of cool people, ate soggy sandwiches and felt infused with booky love. Plus, the Kindle free bar on Wednesday was an added bonus. See you next year, LBF.