View Full Version : London Book Fair--worth the trip?

03-01-2008, 01:01 AM
I'm living abroad and getting to the London Book Fair is pretty easy for me. My MS is currently out with 3 agents who will also be attending. Would attending be a benefit? Or would approaching the agent (they've had the full for less than a month) be considered too forward? What's the best way to go about asking without making it seem like pressure to read the MS?

Also, Could it be helpful in terms of approaching an agent for the first time?

I skipped the Frankfurt fair because it seemed like it wasn't the right venue to seek out an agent or publisher. London, however, I know is geared more for agents. Do you take private meetings there or is it more of an in-house event?

Thanks so much!

03-01-2008, 03:39 AM
Not worth it.
This is where agents talk to publishers, publishers talk to other publishers about translation rights.
If no-one knows who you are then no-one is going to talk to you.

03-01-2008, 05:28 AM
The same is true for Book Expo America.

- Victoria

03-01-2008, 10:35 AM
Thanks, all.

That's rather what I figured (did a NYC stint as a book editor for a number of years). However, I didn't want to be foolish and miss a valuable opportunity because of a false assumption.

I can try and use that time more wisely now, like working on book #2 (or obsessing more about those fulls....)

03-01-2008, 10:39 AM
The same is true for Book Expo America.

- Victoria
And the Frankfurt Book Fair. These fairs have nothing to do with authors. We are just the manufacturers.

03-01-2008, 10:58 AM
But if you live abroad, could it be a good chance for some face time with an agent who's interested or am I reaching here?

I think I know the answer...

03-01-2008, 11:19 AM
No. They have no time for authors.

03-01-2008, 11:24 AM
That said: I have met with agents and publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair. That was because I lived in Germany and my agents (I had two of them) lived in England, so when they came the arranged a meeting. I;ve also spoken to editors there; but they knew me beforehand. As an unknown you won't have a chance.

That said, again: The Horse Whisperer was discovered at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I don't know the whole story, but I do know that the author went there with 100 pages and somehow got Robert Redford to read them. The film rights were sold on the basis of those 100 pages. But that is the exception!

03-01-2008, 11:28 AM
Ah yes. I just googled the Horse Whisperer story and i see it was no exception. Evans already had an agent, and it was that agent who sold the rights, not Evans himself. I always thought he had been non-agented. The agent was none other than Caradoc King, a power agent. So you see, he too played by the rules.
Here's the story (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CEFDD1438F937A3575AC0A9639582 60&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all)

03-01-2008, 01:36 PM
If you want to talk to agents and editors writers conventions are a much better bet. The agents and editors who attend are expecting to talk to authors.

The Winchester Writers Conference is a good general one
www.writersconference.co.uk/conference.htm (http://www.writersconference.co.uk/conference.htm)

03-01-2008, 06:31 PM
I definately have no desire to break the rules, at most *bend* them ever so slightly. Or rather, help along a "budding" relationship. That said, it sounds like my best bet is to sit tight and wait for a phone call/email one way or the other and continue on from there.

Thanks for all the good advice.

03-01-2008, 08:32 PM
The thing with these fairs etc, is that they are actually kind of boring if you are anyone other than a publisher, agent or book buyer (as in book buyer for a book store). Yes you can get free books, which is kind of awesome, and occasionally an author will be there to sign them for you, but other than that no one is interested in speaking with you if you aren't one of those three people I mentioned earlier. Besides that, even if you want to talk with a specific agent, chances are they are booked solid with meetings with different publishers and book buyers and so won't be too pleased to have to spend time chatting with an author who may or may not be in their future stable.

If you can go for free, or just to get the free books, then that's fine. But honestly there is no other reason to go at this stage.

Andrew Zack
03-07-2008, 12:17 AM
Until just a few years ago, the cost of getting into BEA made it highly unlikely anyone other than trade pros would go. Then they added a day for the general public, which to me is simply silly. They can't buy books and by the time they get there, most of the free stuff is gone. I think LBF has a longer history of a public day. It publishers planned better for that day, both in the US and UK, it might be something great for readers, but both BEA and LBF are really for booksellers. At LBF--at least the last time I was there--you could still find bookstore owners in the booths placing orders! So much of that is online now that you see little of that at BEA.

For a while, some US publishers stopped attending BEA. And these were big publishers. The cost exceeded the value. Better to spend the money on more marketing materials and mail them out to the accounts, or build better online systems to give more material to the booksellers and make it easier for them to learn what's coming up via the web.

I believe BEA is now in NYC every other year. For a long time it was rarely in NYC, because the costs for booksellers to visit NYC were too high. But the publishers are more likely to participate when it is in NYC and they get more public attendance when it is, so it's cost-effective. But I suspect BEA might stop happening sooner than later.

The same can be said of LBF, though it has the advantage of timing. LBF is in March or April. BEA is in June. Frankfurt is in the fall. If you go to LBF and Frankfurt, you really don't need to go to BEA. And that's what most non-US publishers do, as well as a good number of foreign agents. The foreign agents show up for BEA in NYC because they can come for a week and see EVERYONE. But when BEA is in LA this year, you're not going to see many foreign agents. They'll have just seen everyone in London, so why come to LA?

As for authors, unless you have self-published and are getting your own table or booth, I can see no reason to attend unless your publisher is paying your way to be there for a signing.


03-07-2008, 12:41 AM
Thanks! I appreciate your advice.