All About Book Fairs
The important thing when going to book fairs is to be prepared when you attend. Knowing how the system works will land you valuable information, like someone’s email address.
While this seems obvious, he felt it was worth mentioning. People will help you if you are polite.
Go to the right fair on the right day as not all fairs are created equal.
Try to get an email address: No one will remember a detailed meeting at the fair, so don’t bother to go for a long conversation. Instead, get an email address so that you can follow up with someone later when they have more time to devote to your idea. A word of caution: If you are going to pitch, don’t get too specific.
It’s like dating or going into battle: In both cases, you have to try to break down the person’s defenses and get them to open up.
Many agents or editors say that they will go in your stead, but they may not report back everything they found out. Plus, it’s a good learning opportunity for you, so it’s best if you go yourself.
Learn: A lot of attending book fairs is learning. You will find out about the industry, about what publishers are looking for, what they’re putting out now. It is the best way to be on the cutting edge of what publishers are looking for, and stay ahead of the “bandwagon.”
Which is better, book fairs or writing conferences? We think that writing conferences are great at the start of your career but sooner or later you need to stop learning and go out and apply what you’ve learned. You need to build your career.
At a book fair, you will meet publishers who are there to sell books to bookstores, supermarkets, schools, etc. At international book fairs, publishers buy rights to foreign books. There are often author signings, publishers often give away copies of books. There are also a lot of lectures and workshops.
When you attend a book fair, you will walk away with knowledge of what each publisher is going to do or publish next, you will identify your target publishers, you will make contacts, gather ideas, collect catalogs, look at foreign publishers’ work, survey illustrators, you can exhibit your own work, and learn about publishing in general. You can also investigate the digital revolution in publishing. But probably the most important thing you will do at a book fair, is network.
What happens at a book fair:
- Publishers are there to sell to schools, bookstores, supermarkets, etc.
• At international fairs, publishers buy rights to foreign books
• Author signings
• Publishers give away copies of books
• Lots of talks and workshops
What you will walk away from a book fair with:
- Knowledge of what each publisher is going to do/publish
• Identify target publishers
• Make contacts
• Gather ideas
• Collect catalogs
• Look at foreign publishers’ work
• Survey illustrators
• Exhibit your work
• Learn about publishing
• Investigate digital revolution
By the way, we will be at the Miami International Book Fair this November 16-18, 2018. You may contact us so we can display and promote your books in the book fair.