Five practical ways Authors can use The London Book Fair in 2023
An action-packed plan for Authors
I visited the London Book Fair (LBF) last year and wasn’t sure what to expect. Having written the first draft of my self-help book for Creatives, I was excited for day one of the Writers’ Summit and even booked a 1-2-1 with a literary agent, but on day 2 I found myself wondering aimlessly around the exhibition halls. When I came across Author HQ I realised that I’d missed some brilliant talks and wish I’d gone into the fair with a clear plan of what I wanted to do whilst I had the opportunity.
That’s why I’ve put together this action-packed guide with five practical ways you can use the LBF as an Author to kickstart or advance your writing career in 2023.
1. Reflect: How can LBF help you reach your goal?
Are you just starting out as an Author, or are you a seasoned writer who’s always looking to improve and make the most of opportunities? Before you dive in and book your LBF tickets, consider what you want to achieve. Do you want to make new contacts? Catch up with familiar faces? Energise your creative process, find inspiration, and fall in love with the book world again? Perhaps you’re looking to land a book deal or find practical publishing to take creative control for yourself?
Knowing your career goals as a writer will help you to plan your visit to LBF and make the most of your time at this event.
2. Network and connect with the right people
With your goals in mind, who do you want to meet? LBF is the place to be for publishing and for the wider Creative Industries, so there’s a good chance your dream connection will be there.
The Writers’ Summit is the best place to start with a range of fantastic speakers and plenty of networking time in the tea & coffee breaks. Author HQ also has an incredible line up of speakers throughout the event, and there are other seminar theatres across the fair. You never know who you’ll meet walking around the fair or sat in the seat next to you.
My top tip is to look at the speaker line up beforehand and connect with them on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Also, look at who had interacted with LBF’s social media posts, because they’re likely to be attending too.
3. Find inspiration & energise your creative process
LBF is full of interesting people, colourful exhibition stands, and food (also an important part of your day). Chat to others about ideas and see what other Creatives are doing. The Authors & Illustrator of the fair are great sources of inspiration and will be taking part in ‘In Conversation’ events on different days at LBF. The 2023 line up is Pulitzer Prize Winner, Colson Whitehead (International Author of the Day), bestselling crime novelist, Ann Cleeves (Adult Author of the Day), Murder Most Unlady Like creator, Robin Stevens (Children’s Author of the Day), and Nibbies winner, Dapo Adeola (Illustrator of the Fair).
One of the biggest surprises for me last year, was the amount of people sat at the edges of the exhibition hall. Many were scribbling in notebooks, tapping on laptops, or chatting with colleagues and cups of tea. My favourite tip is to use LBF as an opportunity to write and share your story Reflect, journal, share practical tips, or even sketch note your experience. You have a unique story that people want to read.
Write for yourself or share on social media and tag LBF (with #LBF23). You never know who will read it. Here are some writing prompts to get you started at the Fair:
- What’s the most surprising thing you’ve heard or seen?
- What were you curious about before coming to the Fair?
- What was the coffee like?
- Have you met an interesting person? What was your conversation about? Where did you meet?
4. Get practical advice for sharing your writing with the world
Go into LBF with an open mind and visit the Writers’ Summit (conference), Author HQ (seminars), and Writers Block (exhibition stands). Gather all the information you need to make an informed decision about how you want to share your writing with the world. By the time you leave LBF, you should have a clearer idea of your publishing route and what steps you need to take.
Here’s my top tip. If there’s a talk you want to see at Author HQ, find a seat early because they fill up quickly. If you can’t get there early, there’s standing room around the edges.
5. Publish your book
Until I visited LBF last year, I never realised there were so many different publishing routes, and options around rights, multimedia, distribution, etc. The Writers’ Summit and Author HQ are good places to start for awareness of different options. If you’re edging towards the traditional publishing route, I would recommend the Writers’ Summit in particular. If you’re leaning towards self-publishing or a hybrid model, I would recommend exploring the exhibition stands for practical advice and tools.
I hope you found my approach useful for making the most of the London Book Fair as an Author. Plan ahead, know what you want to achieve, have your ideas ready to share, wear comfy shoes, and bring something to write on to capture your experience. Be part of the story at LBF2023.
I’m partnering with the London Book Fair this year as a sketch note artist, but I wasn’t commissioned to write this blog post (I just wanted to write!). I’m also working with a literary agent to traditionally publish my book, a self-help guide for early-career Creatives about improving your creativity every day for a fulfilling career in the Creative Industries. If you’re a publisher and interested in this book, I can put you in touch with the literary agent I’m working with. Email SamWarburton.ContentCreator@gmail.com.
I’m working on creating cases studies for inclusion in the book. If you’re a professional Creative and wouldn’t mind sharing your story to help early-career Creatives, I would love to interview you. Get in touch by emailing SamWarburton.ContentCreator@gmail.com, or DM me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Can’t wait to hear from you.