• Hannah Cartwright

7 Tips for Attending The London Book Fair

Last week, I attended one of the biggest events in publishing: The London Book Fair. Held at the Olympia in London, the event spans across three days and consists of multiple talks on the book and publishing industry. As someone aspiring to work within the publishing industry, I couldn’t wait to attend and immerse myself in it all.

Prior to attending, I didn’t really know what to expect. As a student I was there more to observe and learn; I had no meetings or obligations. This didn’t mean that it wasn’t a hectic couple of days though! We were walking over five miles a day just going from talk to talk and stand to stand. It was a really great experience though and I’m already hoping to attend again next year!

Here are some little guides and tips for anyone looking to attend in future:

1. It is tiring! The days are long, extended by travelling there and back. We were getting up at around 6:30 am and getting home at around 7 pm. You’re pretty much on the go the whole time too, navigating around the Olympia and listening to talks. Make sure you get an early night for each day because you’ll need the sleep!

2. Bring your own food! The food there is pricy but there’s nothing to stop you bringing your own snack and lunch to keep you going! However, seating is very limited so be prepared to perch on windowsills or sit on the floor!

3. It’s hot! It got very hot and stuffy in there at times so wear something you’re going to be comfortable in and that you can easily add or remove layers from.

4. Go to lots of talks! Scan through the programme before you go to see which talks look interesting to you. There’s a handy app you can use to favourite the ones you like. There are loads going on throughout the day, so you’ll never be short of options. Try to get to them early though if you want a seat, they fill up quickly!

5. Talk to people! I was actually terrible at this and barely spoke to anyone, but this is a great place to meet people and gain more advice on the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask people questions – the worst they can do is turn you away!

6. Follow the LBF Hashtag on Twitter! Although all the talks are listed on the website and app, publishers sometimes post about further talks and opportunities on their Twitter pages. It’s worth having a check throughout the day to see what’s going on. We found that this was also where publishers would announce their book giveaways but get there quick because they will fly out!

7. Pack light! If you’ve travelled to London for the book fair and want to take advantage of the free books, pack light! You don’t want to spend your final night trying to cram everything back into an overflowing suitcase, working out how you’re going to carry all your additional bags on the tube the following morning!

Next year, The London Book Fair will be held on Tuesday 10th March to Thursday 12th March.

For more information on attending and tickets, click here.

For more information on what goes on at the fair from a publishers perspective, visit Fairlight Books here.

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