Monday 14 April 2014

The London Book Fair 2014: What Went Down

The Entrance
As most of you know I spent last week in London for the 2014 Book Fair and I had the most fabulous time!

I met so many people that I have gotten to know over the years through the Internet, and met a bunch of fabulous authors for the first time, including Hugh Howey! (Whisper: He's such a spunk.) If you've never been to a book event like this, I totally recommend it. I have to say it's the best career investment I have made in a really long time.

Hugh Howey and Me (photo taken by Debbie Young)
Note: I've included more photographs from the event, and of people I had the privilege to meet, below the post if you'd like to see.

I spent most of my time in an area called the Author HQ where a variety of seminars and workshops took place. Subject matter varied from things like "Know Your Rights," and "The Hallmarks of Self-Publishing Success," and "The Principles of Book Cover Design." Some were useful, others not so much, as I think they were a bit too geared toward the complete beginner. Hopefully next year they will have more seminars that are a bit more meaty in content.

Although I didn't learn anything new about being an indie author, I did discover that I'm already doing everything "right." And it was definitely great to have that confirmed. I now feel confident I can continue doing what I've been doing all along, and not worry about whether there is anything I am missing.

Seminar with Ben Galley & Orna Ross
I have to say that the BEST seminars (for me) were the ones that included speakers from The Alliance of Independent Authors (Orna Ross, Ben Galley, Joanna Penn), and an interactive interview about Self-Publishing with Kobo Writing Life's Diego Marano, and author-extraordinaire, Hugh Howey. I came away feeling enthused, and quite comforted, regarding my career choices. I have to say, I hold these authors in very high esteem. Not because they are successful, but because they are so genuine, kind, honest, and approachable, and they do not behave in any way superior to anyone. There is a lot to respect right there. Nothing has "gone to their heads" so to speak. They are just like "us".

Seminar with Barbara Freethy & Bella Andre
I also really enjoyed the seminars with bestselling authors, Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, and Liliana Hart. I learned a lot about "branding" covers (i.e. to be sure they feature something that is easily recognizable as "you".) I've done it with my nonfiction, but never really thought about doing it for my fiction. So that was quite an eyeopener.

Dan Holloway, Orna Ross, & Debbie Young
The "Opening Up To Indie Authors" book launched at the Kobo booth, too. The book was written by ALLi members, Debbie Young and Dan Holloway, and edited by the founder Orna Ross.

As Dan Holloway writes on his blog:
"The book is more than just an essential campaign document and rallying cry. It’s a guide to working with every sector in the global literary sphere, from bloggers through prizes and bookstores to festivals, making the case for the inclusion of indie authors, helping indie authors to understand the industry and helping the industry to see why it needs indie authors."
You can read more about the launch HERE.

To top all this awesomeness off, I also attended a party sponsored by Amazon to celebrate the 2nd birthday of ALLi, and I had the privilege to read from my novel, Bitter Like Orange Peel, alongside some other magnificent authors: Dan Holloway, Carol Cooper, Jerome Griffin, Polly Courtney, Paul Murphy, JJ Marsh, Piers Bearne, Mark Speed, and Orna Ross.

Thank you to Dan for catching it on video for me!

So ... that was my week. (Phew!) Have you ever been to an event like this? Was it a good experience? Why?

More photos:

Me + Eliza Green + Lorna Fergusson

Les Moriarty + Me + Glynis Smy

Glynis Smy + Me + Alison Morton + Talli Roland

Me + Carol Cooper

Me + Dan Holloway

Me + Roz Morris

Me + Joanna Penn

Rohan Quine + JJ Marsh + Me

Me + Len Lambert

Debbie Young + Me

The BEST selfie ever, taken by Dan Holloway, because
he had an old camera with no screen to see if we all fit!
L to R: Debbie Young + Me + Hugh Howey +
Orna Ross + Diego Marano + Dan Holloway


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  1. The video of you reading from BlOP is absolutely fabulous!

  2. I haven't been to an event quite on the scale of the London Book Fair, but I'm glad you had a chance to go and thanks for sharing. It looks like it was a great event.

  3. Hugh Howey's good looking. Just sayin'. So many guy authors are definitely not good looking.

  4. Cool you got to meet Howey! And after hearing you sing, it was cool to hear you speak.

  5. Hi Jess - the whole week/weekend and event - sounds like loads of fun .. it's given us a good feel for all that went on - so pleased that Dan recorded you reading .. I've got Bitter Like Orange Peel and must definitely read it .. interesting to read about the "branding" element for both non-fiction and fiction ..

    No wonder you're pleased with the investment of coming to London - cheers Hilary

  6. Moments in my life I will never forget while in your company ...

    1: Walking Earls Court Road with coffee while we 'looked for words'.
    2: Breakfast coffee chat, then taking the tube to our final destinations.
    3: The Blackbird Pub Meal


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