I have just spent 2 days at the London Book Fair, having been for the first time last year and really enjoyed the experience, and decided to make it an annual trip!

Unfortunately i was only able to go for the Monday and Tuesday, as i couldn’t really afford to stay 3 nights in a hotel in London! Since i was travelling and staying in London alone, i decided that staying in a national chain of hotels was a better option than in some grotty dive like last year! Plus i wanted to actually get at least one decent meal during my trip!

Woke up on the Monday morning to glorious sunshine making London look a lot more attractive! After a big breakfast i hopped on the Tube to Earls Court Exhibition Centre:

The London Book Fair 2012 at Earls Court Exhibition Centre

The London Book Fair 2012 at Earls Court Exhibition Centre

Seminars etc which i attended:

Literary Translation Centre

  • Publishers resources for National Literatures
  • Back to Basics: Getting started in translation Q&A
  • Gatekeepers
  • Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
  • World Literature: How much does it mean to us?
General:
  • The Great Debate
  • Your job in publishing: Recruitment and retention in the digital age
Author events:
  • Caitlin Moran interviewed by Sophie Heawood
The seminars were all very interesting, and quite useful in some respects, especially the translation ones as i’m still interested in translated fiction since doing my MA dissertation on the topic. I also talked to a few foreign arts councils and organisations about their books being published into English and got a few lists of books to have a look at. Hopefully i’ll find some good books to read and review!

What i learned:

  • That someone is FINALLY conducting some data research to find out what the status of translated fiction is in the UK market, after the supposed 3% figure which has been bouncing around the industry for years with no clue when or where it came from.
  • That to get a job in publishing, i need to get more office work experience AND prove that my social networking skills are actually being put to good use (i.e. that i’m promoting my blog properly and in what capacity).

Books i will now read after hearing about them:

  • After going to the discussion on the Monday about the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist, i decided to read all 6 books, and to finally get around to reading the one which i already have (“New Finnish Grammar” on my Kindle).
  • “How to be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran – I saw the interview with her on the Tuesday and thought she was really funny, so i went out and bought the book when i left the Fair!
Caitlin Moran interview

Caitlin Moran interview

My Highlights

  • The discussion with my fellow MA Publishing Alumni about J.K. Rowling’s new book due out later this year – We felt that the title (“The Casual Vacancy”) doesn’t sound brilliant and the plot sounds a little bit boring. But none of this matters because i suspect we will all buy and read it regardless, as will everyone else, meaning it will be a bestseller!
  • The Great Debate: “In the fight for survival, outsiders and startups are taking on today’s heavyweights and will ultimately deliver a knock-out punch”. – Allen Lau (CEO, Wattpad) described how traditional publishers are going the way of dinosaurs and will be “driven into near-extinction”, and also how publishers are like the appendix because it exists but is useless. A little harsh, maybe?! The pre-debate poll revealed 88 for, 37 against, and 82 undecided (including me!), and closed with 41 for, 147 against, and 37 undecided. I admit i did vote for the resolution in the end, but now i’m not so sure!
  • I loved the roof above the China Market Focus Pavilion, and wanted to take it home!
China Market Focus Pavilion roof

China Market Focus Pavilion roof

Slightly odd or amusing sights:

  • The LBF Lobster!
  • The weird girl sat in the English PEN Literary Cafe who gave me and a friend the evil eye as we walked past. No idea why!
  • I spotted a publisher called Meyer and Meyer Sports, which is my surname!
Meyer and Meyer Sports at the LBF12

Meyer and Meyer Sports at the LBF12

Things that bugged me:

  • Constantly being asked if i wanted a massage from the red-shirted or white-shirted rival massagers dotted around the Fair.
  • The photo of J.K. Rowling looked a little smug as she watched over us ( i do like her and Harry Potter but this poster just shows how much the publisher idolizes her).
  • People aimlessly wandering into your path as you try to get somewhere.
  • The food available at the exhibition centre is too expensive for what it is – cost me almost £5 for a bottle of water and a chocolate muffin! I walked up the road to Tesco because it was cheaper for lunch!
JK Rowling

JK Rowling looking a bit smug

I quite enjoyed my 2 days and learnt a lot, even though i didn’t do so well at the networking – i just find it so daunting! Will definitely being going next year if i can, and hopefully i might actually have a proper job within  the industry by then!

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