This week I attended the London Book Fair 2017 and wanted to do a post to share my writer learnings from the event.
Apologies to those expecting the next part of my series Heaven Calling. It will be back next week.
I have never attended the London Book Fair before so I didn’t really know what to expect.
Here are my learnings.
- I am so grateful I wore flat comfortable shoes and one of my writer friends talked me out of wearing a lovely (blister inducing) pair of nude coloured high heels. The event is huge and there are two levels with hundreds of stands. If I had worn heels my writer friends would have either had to give me a piggy back round or ditched me a few stands in past the entrance.
- It’s a great place to meet up with writer friends. I met up with some writers who know me from my blog which was nice as in-between listening to speakers we were able to carry on talking about writing. I seized the opportunity to force some of my writer friends to sit and listen to my latest second draft woes.
- Successful and famous authors are mingling and you never know who might be having a coffee from you a few tables along or standing near you. It is worth staying ‘eagle eyed’ and being prepared for an author crush moment (I had several!).
- The speaker events in Author HQ get really busy so we had to sit on the floor at times to listen. Next year I plan to take a little fold away camping chair, which I can pull out and erect at a moment’s notice, plus a little camping stove.
- Author crush moments can happen at any time and when they do you will lose all control of your mouth / brain. I found myself spotting a famous author, racing towards them with a head full of intelligent questions and once I stood in front of them all that came out of my mouth was…gibberish. It was good to see some of my writer friends suffering from the same issues. I found myself walking away from a puzzled looking author, shaking my head with embarrassment and having a stern word with myself about getting carried away again!
- Author crush moments will result in you requesting (begging in my case) a selfie and you need to think carefully about your selfie pose. I wish I had done this. As you will see from the photos below you need to think about severe hair partings and looking like you are a weird stalker fan. I achieved all these looks in my selfies *sigh*
- Behind every successful and famous author are years of hard graft, overcoming failure and persistence. From the speakers I listened to it was clear there is no such thing as overnight literary success. They just keep writing, no matter what!
- I learnt that you cannot have a one book approach. If you are going to publish a book you need to have another one waiting in the wings. Readers who like your first book don’t want to wait years for your second book, which I can understand.
- You need an author website which contains links to all your social media channels and blog. Your author website must bring this all together. Several of the big name authors I spoke to mentioned the importance of having an author website.
- Building a mailing list is key! This is what we should all be focusing on. Seeing as I don’t have any books out yet I am not sure what I can share in a newsletter. On the train home I came up with some ideas for a Lucy Mitchell newsletter; a collection of bad jokes, photos of cakes I have recently consumed and a selection of amusing tales from the letters I used to write to my parents when I was a university student (so many wrongs in over 50 handwritten letters). This is why I don’t have a newsletter!
The photo below is me with my writer friends.
Me and NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author and creator of the ‘Creative Penn Podcast’ Joanna Penn. I religiously listen to her podcast and her book titled ‘Author Mindset’ is amazing. Joanna is such a lovely person in real life and didn’t mind us disturbing her coffee time.
As you can see I managed to give myself a severe hair parting for the selfie.
Me and author of the international bestselling DCI Ryan mysteries – L J Ross. I loved talking to Louise and she shared so many useful tips.
As you can see I am modelling a slightly unhinged look (I’ve not even noticed that my top is on the slide and if you look closely there are many veins bulging in my forehead.)
I did introduce myself to one of my favourite thriller authors but that didn’t end with a selfie as I didn’t sound great and kept muttering ‘OMG you’re actually real!’
It was a fab experience and I will be back next year!
Have a great day!