1. Reach a day ahead. This helps you overcome your jet lag as the London Book Fair starts at 9 am in the morning. And it’s best to use all of the time while the fair is on.
2. Never miss the first day. Most of the action takes place on the 2nd & 3rd day so the bigger organisations(read HUGEEEEE) are comparatively free on the first day and you might get lucky to walk in and get an appointment.
3. The London Book Fair, unlike our Indian bookfairs, is completely B2B (BUSINESS TO BUSINESS) and not open to the public. So, it also means it operates on time slots and prior appointments.
4. Taking cue from the previous point, start planning at least 1 month ahead of the fair, if not more. Make a list of publishers, organizations, agents and people you would like to meet. Check the portal (LBF site) and see if they are visiting or write to them separately and check for their available dates. Make an excel sheet with time and dates and later closer to date, put it on your phone calendar.
5. The London Book Fair is paid and you need to buy a pass for 42 Pounds(roughly). Once requested, they will also send you across a VISA letter for VISA application purposes(if required).
6. Remember, you have half an hour to 45 minutes. So keep to-the-point and do your research before sitting for the meeting. If you are meeting the person for the first time, work towards making a lasting impression.
7. Allow the London Book Fair to suggest you organizations you should visit based on your profile.
8. The London Book Fair is a dream for anyone who wants to work with translations from international languages.
9. Download the LBF app to spot a stall.
10. One very important suggestion: rather than carrying a shoulder bag or backpack, carry a trolley. You have to walk around a lot and you will have a lot of material to carry around all day.
11. Most definitely carry a bottle of water and some dry snacks as most places inside the hall are too crowded during lunch time.
12. There is a cloakroom where you can keep your jackets, so carry them for the chilly evenings. You don’t need to walk around with them.
13. When you are booking a place, try keeping it close to Olympia grounds. It can be around the Kensington Olympia area or even Earls Court. Airbnb is a savior for those who are on a budget.
14. Never leave the book fair before it closes. You never know when an opportunity crops up. If you are tired or free, then fill up your time by attending the seminars.
About the Author:
Esha, who belongs to the fourth generation of publishing business in Kolkata, runs her independent English publishing house, BEE Books. She loves the art of making beautiful books and BEE Books publishes everything from translations, fiction, non-fiction, essays to graphic novels and corporate coffee table books. BEE Books also provides the content support for the International Kolkata Literature Festival and Esha Chatterjee is one of the curators of the festival. She actively participates in structuring the events and looks after national and international collaborations. In her spare time, Esha is also a book reviewer, critic, moderator for literary events.