London Book Fair 2013 – Year Zero

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I have a head full of tips from my first visit to London Book Fair.  I trod the pathways between publishers, squinted at the rows of books and receptionists and consumed latte at prices that made me gulp.

Having never been before, it was interesting to hear that this event was far more author-friendly with a serious focus on targetting self/independently published writers.   There seems a clear move from the disparaging attitude of self-publishing as vanity-publishing to it being not only comparable to ‘traditional’  publishing, but a preferred, sustainable entrepreneurial model.  The strongest advocate for this was Joanna Penn who used her own career highs and lows to demonstrate how independently published writers can build a career; the focus of her seminar was advanced online marketing – practical information you can actually use.  Worth the £30 entrance alone.  There’s a bundle of advice on her website  http://www.thecreativepenn.com/  The pic above is me looking slightly sheepish and Joanna looking as if she’s regenerating.  That can only be a good thing.

Also plonked myself into a session on author branding by Authorprofile.  After deconstructing Rick Riordan (off-duty affable history teacher who has cornered myth) and Jilly Cooper (posh, Tory-supporting purveyor of Carry On sex) we had to brainstorm our own brands.  Describe yourself in three words.  Go on!  I thought hard about everything I’d written.  What did they have in common?  So… My ‘brand’ seems to focus on family stories – whether folk tales or family member tales passed through generations, identity – what it means to be a woman/man/black/mixed race etc, in the UK today and the Caribbean, particularly Trinidad.  Hmm.  Not quite filling the coffers like myth and funny sex.  Perhaps i better work on it.

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