Although everyone says you should ask the difficult question, the question of whether you should attend a book fair is not a difficult one. The answer is easy: yes or maybe YES! Before I get into the nitty gritty of why you should attend, let’s talk numbers because authors LOVE numbers. How much does it cost to actually attend a book fair? I recently attended the London Book Fair. As I live on the continent, my costs included hotel and train travel. That’s not entirely unusual, however, as you can’t count on an awesome fair like the London Book Fair happening around the corner. So, here are my numbers:
Train travel (Eurostar) = € 160
Hotel = € 117
Fair = € 52
These costs are not necessarily representative of your travel to a fair. First of all, I decided to attend LBF way late, which meant my train travel was quite expensive. Planning ahead can equal big savings. As I went overboard on train fare, I went with a much cheaper hotel. About the only good things I can say about the hotel are: it was close to the venue, safe and the price included breakfast. I also paid full price for the fair this year. Next year, I’ll be paying a reduced price as I joined the Alliance of Independent Authors and they offer a 50% discount on the fair entrance fee.
So, what are the benefits of attending the fair, which makes spending €329 worth it? There are tons of benefits, many of which I didn’t consider before attending.
Seminars. The primary reason I decided to go to the London Book Fair was the list of seminars. The Author HQ has a full day of seminars on all kinds of topics that are interesting to the indie author. Although some of the seminars were a bit basic, there were also tons of more in-depth talks that really got my juices flowing on how to improve my PR and marketing. I came home with a three-page to-do list!
Networking. Although this is one of the reasons I initially considered attending the fair, I didn’t expect to actually do much networking. After all, I am your typical introverted writer. But it’s impossible not to make connections when you are sitting next to someone for a few hours. And there were drinks!
Agent Meetings. At the London Book Fair, it’s possible to book a meeting with an agent for a small fee. Although I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, I met plenty of writers who did and were happy with the outcome. I may do this in the future as it’s an awesome opportunity to have a one-on-one with an agent that I might otherwise never have.
Indie Author Support. Several organizations that support self-published or hybrid authors, such as the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Society of Authors, were on hand. In addition to doing seminars on self-publishing and marketing, they answered questions at their respective booths. This was a great opportunity to speak to fellow authors in person and perhaps ask those questions you wouldn’t otherwise dare to.
Publishers. Naturally, Amazon KDP and IngramSpark were at the fair, but there were also other self-publishing firms on hand. As I use CreateSpace, I took the opportunity to sit down with IngramSpark and discuss why they think I should change to their platform. I also talked to other self-publishing platforms to get a feel for the market. It was really refreshing to learn that many publishers were no longer negative about self-published authors. Instead, they were jumping into the market!
As a self-published author, the London Book Fair was a great opportunity for me. In addition to all the above advantages, it was also a chance to just be around others in the industry for a few days – something I miss as an author that works at home alone most of the time. I came home reinvigorated and ready to take on the world.
This blog post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. This is a monthly blog hop hosted by @raimeygallant. Make sure to stop by the other author blog posts in this month’s blog hop to fill up your author toolbox!