London Book Fair by Tara Lyons

Chatting with indie authors M.A. Comley and LJ Ross
This week welcomed another first for me as an author: I attended the London Book Fair (LBF) on Wednesday 15 March. The night before, and for reasons I wasn't sure of, I found myself nervous and apprehensive and excited. Over the years, I've read so many blog posts, status updates and articles from authors who'd attended the event, and it always seemed like the LBF was a big deal.

Well, I can tell you, 'big' is the operative word when describing LBF. It's actually so vast, I found it all rather overwhelming. There are rows and rows of stands and promotions and people deep in conversations. I wasn't sure which direction to take. Luckily, you are given a handy pocket map and directory upon arrival... but there's still a lot of ground to cover. 

You are surrounded by a world of books and all the people that work with them - publishers, authors, promoters, agents, editors and journalists (and that's just a small list, so you get my point). The Authors HQ and Writer's Block can be found in one of the many halls - with children's publishing and Harry's Bar - and this is where I found myself continually drawn to. Here, I found authors I had met before, friendly team members from Kindle Direct Publishing, seminars/discussions on a range of topics and a cup of hot tea.  

However, looking back on my one day experience, I wonder if I missed something? Strolling around the huge venue, I found myself thinking: 'what's everyone talking about?' Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they were talking books, but the conversations taking place at tables at these stands looked in-depth, and perhaps even pre-arranged. I didn't feel as though I was there to myself, as I've self-published and signed with a publishing company last year, which left me unsure what I should be asking the various publishing houses and book sellers. Is it about chit-chatting and sharing thoughts? Or, is there something higher on the agenda that, like I said, perhaps I missed? 

Also, since Wednesday, many readers have showed their interest in attending LBF. Now, while there are many authors pounding the walkways, free books and seminars on offer, are these really aimed at readers? I'm not sure I would have benefitted if I attended pre-publishing my books. Are you a reader who has visited the LBF? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

I'm hoping next year, with more of an idea of what to expect, I'll be armed with experience and ready to go. But, if you're a seasoned LBF attendee, please share your experience with me, it would be great to know how I can get the most out of it. 

Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. In the Shadows is Tara's debut solo novel published in March 2016. She co-wrote The Caller and Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley. In August 2016 Tara signed a two-book contract with Bloodhound Books. The second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home, was published in January 2017. When she's not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son. 
Find out more about the author and follow her writing journey on social media:


Wendy H. Jones said…
Great to hear your perspective on this, Tara. It can be overwhelming, but also good fun. Meeting people is the best part.
Bill Kirton said…
My only experience of it, a few years back, mirrored yours, Tara. It's vast, exciting but also a bit overwhelming. The best bit was meeting up with other writers I Knew but had never met in the flesh. I'm sure great deals come out of it but I'm not sure how it all works.
I'd love to go one day...although my books have been there, I haven't. Someday soon :)
Funny that I didn't even know there was a book fair on and I am a bookworm. :-)

Greetings from London.

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