On the run up to this year’s London Book Fair, I realised that a lot of people have been asking me whether I think it’s worth going to it. After all, tickets are around £50 and then you have to factor in travel costs and potential missed revenue.
For me, it’s really a question of what you’re hoping to get from it. I go along because I get value from it in a range of different ways. I can promote my book blog, my freelance work and my books depending upon who I’m talking to, and I can also wander around and meet up with friends who work in the industry. I also like to be kept up-to-date with what’s going on.
If you’re an aspiring author and you go to London Book Fair because you want to find an agent or a publisher, you’re probably going to be disappointed. But if you go along to learn from some of the speaker sessions or to scout out the landscape then you’re going to be happy.
Ultimately, it’s all about setting your expectations. Decide beforehand what you’re hoping to get out of it and then speak to some people who’ve attended in the past and ask them whether your expectations are realistic. They’ll also be able to give you a good idea of whether it’s worth you even going in the first place.
If you want my opinion, I say give it a go sometime. It’s so big you need to see it to believe it, and yet it’s also small and almost close knit. I’m glad that I went last year and I’m glad that I went this year, but I also appreciate it’s not for everyone. You need to be the one to make the call.