London Book Fair Day 2 : The Starguard News

London Book Fair Day 2

by ray burke on 03/19/17

Day 2 - Weds March 15

I was a bit delayed getting in, but met Dave who was going to visit his publishers Austin Macauley. Dave is featured in their brochure and on their posters. He's been travelling the country on Waterstones book signings. Check him out in your area next time!

We spent time walking around as I wanted to check out publishers and also possible sponsors for my 'secret project'! But unfortunately most of the people I talked to worked on academic projects. David then led me to Falcon Oast, who had a marvelous book mountain built from their client's books. If you correctly guessed how many books comprised the mountain you would win a hamper of wine, other drinks, cheeses and jams/chutneys. I guessed 720 books (which apparently was a good guess). We left our emails on our cards as a contact I case we won. Don't look like we have!

We walked around some more taking pics down the main drag before I got to my first event:

12:45 Genre Spotlight - Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ian Drury, Jo Fletcher, and Ed McDonald spoke about the usual trends and issues which rear their heads - worldbuilding, info-dumps (which I have been and probably still am and guilty of committing), and 'magical' technology. But we authors have to remember that such devices and worlds serve the story and not the other way around. Character and plot come first no matter how pretty the world is or how awesome the technology is.

Jo made point about magic in books. You don't have to describe every aspect of it, but dole details out throughout the book. Ed talked about 'grim-dark' trends in fantasy works, the anti-hero/boy-to-king stories, and handling multi-character books (for some reason I didn't take too many notes here so specific details forgotten :-()

13:45 - The Create Writing Process

With chair Jonathan Telfer and authors CL Taylor and Rosanna Ley. So how do they write?

CL (on the right) mentioned Alexandra Sokoloff's book 'Stealing Hollywood'. It takes you through how to write screenplay-type plots making for efficient stream-lined well-paced books. She is a planner and even puts up scenes on her wall on post-its adding scenes to fill in plot gaps. She works on emotions, dialogue and the book's voice.

Rosanna added that while she writes more organically there is a certain amount of planning expanding from notes to a full book. All writing is a learning process and not all old unused ideas will be wasted, ideas can be recycled for other works.

After, a question came in from the audience regarding character perspective 1st, 2nd, 3rd person voices. CL said to avoid 'Head Hopping' (my favourite phrase of the days) to avoid confusion. Perhaps it could be used in separate chapters but not within one.

14:45 - How to Reach More Readers and Make More Money From Your Books

Orna Ross founder of ALLi chaired the meeting with author Adam Croft, digital strategist Gabriel Mercer and the lovely Joanna Penn (seriously everyone loves her!) of series.

Adam Croft had a breakout year selling over a million copies of self-published book. His secret? A change in his mindset. He got serious not just about his work, but also his entrepreneurial side, after all, self-published authors are a business in themselves. He started with Facebook ads (a la Mark Dawson). He had a hook to grab people's attention with his thrillers. Now his books sell more than JK Rowling.

Jo (who now follows me on Twitter and waved to me just after taking the picture - not that she knew me!) has published many fiction and non-fiction books, is a blogger and professional speaker on writing. She has always talked about multiple streams of books (print, audio, ebook), workbooks, boxsets and bundles, etc. She has also rebranded and relaunched her older fiction books into boxsets and with new titles, covers and pen names to seperate her fiction and non-fiction worlds, with another pen name coming soon under a different genre.

Gabriel mentioned "where our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors." Cool! I took their survey to add my data. This helps authors identify where the trends and sales opportunities are. There were also Amazon writing services and KDP Select. And of course there's the huge trend of books being made into TV series.

There was time after to meet up with people I had met last year and yesterday. I got to get their pics on the second day.

Last year, I had met Anita Williams of BooksNAuthors UK. She introduced me to Anton Marks, a fellow author and a blogger. I hope to review a book for him in June, plus he's invited me for his podcast. Anita also introduced me to Nilam Ashra McGrath from Leeds who is writing a book based on her diary and notes from her PhD days about the process of writing a PhD. It's a kind of manual, self-help guide and insight into her struggles and triumphs.

On Tues, as Dave, Stephen and I sat around in the Kindle Publishing area, I decided to talk to the guy beside me - such does the book fair encourage such behaviour. He was Benjamin Smith author of Graven Vengeance. He had published through New Generation Publishing. Great guy and as we found out later we have a lot in common with our jobs even working within the same borough.

Jon-Jon and I had met last year at LBF and took a pic in front of the Ivy. We did the same this year to continue the tradition.

Before going on to the ALLi event in the Albion pub, the Ratpack made our way to Publishing Scotland where whiskey and gin was on offer. I ran into author Andrew Wallace another BSFA attendee and Laura who described her role as a 'glorified librarian'. While we were upstairs, down below the IPG (Independent Publishers Group) were having their drinks. Out of sight, by the Gardners/IPG signs is Head of Zeus Publishing. When I visited their editors weren't there but I hope to submit to them over the weekend.

Then we made our way to the very crowded and hot 1st floor of the Albion. Luckily windows were opened and buffet food served though was still crowded. Rubbing shoulders with so many other authors, publishers, agents, other industry experts is great. I do intend to follow up on the 20 or so cards collected over the 3 days. Never know where it will lead ;-)

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