Last year at the London Book Fair 2012, I felt like authors were on the periphery and barely acknowledged.
We skulked around the edges at some of the learning seminars but the main event was very firmly focused on the publishing industry side. Self-publishing had not really become acceptable in the industry in the UK this time last year either.
How things have changed!
How has the Book Fair changed for authors?
At LBF 2013, there was a lot more going on for authors and the atmosphere was positive and upbeat. You know I'm a glass half full person, but I really do think the industry attitude has changed towards authors and self-publishing.
The Authoright Author Lounge in the Digital Zone was packed out for every session, with security guards turning away people because the crush was a fire hazard. I did hear (unsubstantiated) rumors that 25% of attendees were actually authors and hopefully that means an even better event next year with more space allocated to the growing number of authors who want to learn more about the industry.
I truly believe that only last year, it would have been impossible for an independent author to be ‘allowed’ to speak at the premier publishing industry event. I talked openly about keywords and metadata, email marketing and principles around social media and platform. For the graveyard shift at the end of the Fair, it went really well.
In this video, I interview indie author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors Orna Ross, NY Times bestselling thriller author
CJ Lyons, BookBaby President Brian Felsen and Gareth Howard, Authoright PR about how things have changed for authors at the Book Fair. Watch below or on YouTube here.
Meeting the top self-publishing distributors
Amazon Createspace and KDP had an ever-busy stand with authors queuing up to ask questions of the helpful team, but the Digital Zone was dominated by Kobo, who launched the marvelous new Aura device on Monday. They also had an author-in-residence program and, as ever, were hugely supportive of authors, regardless of mode of publishing.
Both Kobo and Amazon representatives spoke in the Author Lounge over the few days, and both also sponsored parties and events.
In the video below, I talk to Mark Lefebvre from Kobo Writing Life, and Thom Kephart from Amazon KDP & Createspace. I also managed to catch up briefly with Mark Coker from Smashwords and Brian Felsen from BookBaby, both fantastic distributors and helpful to authors. You can see all in the video below or find the video on YouTube here. (The video was dying a little so apologies for the image going in parts).
Last year at LBF, the Alliance launched to a small crowd of avid indies and this year we had a packed birthday party (thanks to Amazon for sponsoring it!) We also launched ‘Choosing a self-publishing service‘, which is a must-read book for anyone considering self-publishing.
It helps navigate the fast-moving world of author services companies and contains the experiences of a lot of authors as well as advising on what to avoid. You can buy the ebook now on Amazon, and it will soon be in print and on other ebook stores.
In the video below, founder of the Alliance Orna Ross talks about the new book, plus we get some tips for authors from Ben Galley and David Gaughran. Watch below or on YouTube here.
Interviewing Amazon bestselling author Mel Sherratt about her success
I also caught up with Mel Sherratt, who you might have seen on the front of the Amazon KDP site. Her crime novel Taunting the Dead reached #1 in the UK charts and was also one of the Top 10 bestselling books of 2012 in the UK Amazon store.
In the video below, we talk about what happened when she decided to self-publish after 12 long years of submission, how success has changed her life and her tips for authors on connecting with fans.
We talk about personal connections and Mel mentions Mark Edwards & Louise Voss, Rachel Abbott and Talli Roland, all successful indie authors who have had phenomenal success on KDP. Mel has a book on submission with an agent, as she wants to be a hybrid author and she mentions that there is no ‘right' way – authors need to decide on their own path.
Watch the video below or on YouTube here.
Other views of the London Book Fair 2013
Here are some other posts on the Book Fair and what people learned:
- Why authors should go to the book fair – from Helena Halme
- At LBF, authors think like entrepreneurs – featuring Orna Ross and Polly Courtney (Publishing Perspectives)
- All the indie fun of the fair. Self-published authors at #LBF13 – from the Alliance of Independent Authors
- The authors are taking over the asylum – Triskele Books
If you attended the London Book Fair, or any other publishing industry event, I'd love to hear your thoughts below in the comments. Is the attitude towards authors changing?