Cinders to attend London Book Fair


A few weeks ago I wondered out loud on social media whether to attend the London Book Fair. I had no ‘real’ understanding at the time of what the event was all about. The response of those who answered my thoughts was fairly consistent: don’t bother.

What the London Book Fair is: a place for the book industry’s players to get together and do business: press the flesh, network, trade, buy, sell, thrash out deals for their traditionally published pets. It is a place for the professionals.

What the London Book Fair isn’t: an opportunity for unpublished or self-publishers to prowl the stands and the aisles, clutching carrier bags of manuscripts and book synposes, stalking possible marks (agents and publishers) that they might be able to corner in the hope of impressing them with the quality of their work and get a ‘deal’ out of it.

I’m clear about all that. Now that I am I can attend and just relax. I have my ticket.

Why would I go to an event where I will likely be treated as a pariah if my identity were uncovered? The truth is that having just spent eight months living in a culturally sterile city – in fact hidden away in the suburbs – where my unswerving daily routine has been devoid of cultural and English language experiences that haven’t come out of a computer screen, a television or a Kindle I feel the rather desperate need to dive into an atmosphere devoted to one of the loves of my life: books. (Think man in tattered clothing, sunburned to a violent crimson, weeks of stubble and almost blind from the intensity of the light, crawling out of the Sahara desert and spotting a swimming pool shimmering with cool, unchlorinated mineral water. [Or is it a mirage?]) And the opportunity to visit and soak up a bit of London’s atmosphere is something else I’m looking forward to. Maybe I’ll call in on the bookshops in Charing Cross Road and Cecil Court. Just thinking about it is making me smile.

As for the LBF I have aboslutely no intention of doing anything other than turning up, mooching about, handling books, smelling success, sipping coffee and generally spooning up the ambience of the place. I don’t think that I even want to talk to anyone. (After eight months in the wilderness I’m not much of a conversationalist these days).

I’ve never been to anything like it before so it’s something new for me. It can feed my dreams, which is never a bad thing if it’s not hurting anyone. And who knows, I might learn a thing or two.


12 thoughts on “Cinders to attend London Book Fair

  1. Morning Oliver,
    Firstly, I think it’s a good idea for you to go to the LBF: personally I would feel like a fish out of water, but it would be informative to just peruse, look and listen to what is going on around you, you never know you might learn something we all need to know about.
    As for being in the wilderness for the past eight months, don’t you think we writers are basically solitary creatures anyway, who only really come alive when writing. But if you are anything like me I have to force myself to even attend any literary circle in the immediate vicinity of my home. I’ve been there, done that, got the T shirt, but on the whole my time with budding writers did prove useful.
    I still can’t get used to talking about my work, or work in progress, as I have this irrational fear that it will all go tits-up if I talk about it. I put myself under a Writers Official Secrets Act – WOSA – until the book is finished, even then I find it difficult to talk about it. I’m under a WOSA now with my 7th book.
    You must be thinking, what a weird woman, but I do like to keep things under my hat: you might also be thinking that it is not a good thing to do if I want to ‘put myself out there’ so to speak.
    The buck stops here with me, I know, as I still go under the old fashioned premise that if my books are good enough they will be read.
    In the meantime, I can’t wait to hear all about your trip to the LBF, hob-knobbing and rubbing shoulders with the literati. Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to let us all know about your experiences there. Best wishes. Pat.

    PS: I left a comment on Amazon re: White Knuckle Christmas.

    • Good morning to you, Pat,
      I hope the sun is shining where you are as it is for me. Glorious weather here at the moment.
      We have a great deal in common, as far as our writing goes at least. I was thinking the other day what a solitary life being a writer is. Not lonely. Never lonely. It’s not going to be for everyone. I think you need to be a particular kind of person to be a writer. And I don’t like sharing my stuff until I’m happy it’s the best I can make it. Then it gets passed on to my daughter whose opinion I value. And then on down the line when I’ve taken on board her comments.
      You can probably tell that I’m looking forward to the LBF experience. No pressure, just a mooch about to drip-feed the dream. i love being an ‘indie’ but nothing would make me happier than having one of my books traditionally published. Just one. That’s my WIP. (But I don’t want to talk about it yet πŸ˜‰ )
      I did see your wonderful Amazon comment. Thank you very much for it. I’m glad you enjoyed the read.
      Of course, I intend to blog about my LBF visit. Always looking for a blog-post and when I was looking around the www there wasn’t much to be honest.
      All the best, as always. πŸ™‚

  2. Enjoy your day at the fair,, Don’t forget that London is a very fast paced city… O and very noisy! Hope the coffee is good though?!. Sherley…

    Sent from my iPad


  3. It’s a trade fair. At Olympia. Where there’s no daylight and the refreshments are foul and expensive (Take your own.) But there will be lots (too much) to look at, loads to learn and as many free pens as you can stuff in your pockets.

    I’ve done quite a few trade fairs (both as an exhibitor and an attendee) and offer the following advice;
    Plan your visit – the seminars you want to go to and the stands you want to visit. It’s hot, noisy and confusing and without a plan you’ll feel overwhelmed.
    Take some business cards (you never know).
    Collect business cards (ditto).
    Spend time in the cafe talking to people. On the stands they may be looking out for ‘more interesting’ business prospects. In the cafe people are more willing to chat.

    Let us know how you get on.


    • Hi Sarah
      Thanks very much for your advice – the voice of experience. I appreciate it and am factoring in what you’ve suggested. Good point that the cafe is probably a better place to catch people than in the ‘game’ atmosphere. If nothing else, I hope to get a blog-post of out of it. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes.

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