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5 Tips for Making the Most of a Book Fair

Lisa Vanterpool

Lisa Vanterpool brought us right into the action with her great post last week about her first day at the London Book Fair. Now, with a bit of distance–and time to rest and recover–she offers some great tips about how a young book professional can get the most out of a fair like LBF…or BookExpo America in just one month’s time, hint hint…



by Lisa Vanterpool

Now that things have settled down from The London Book Fair, and my feet have rested from pounding the exhibitor floor, I find myself reflecting on the experience. Believe it or not, LBF proved to be as exciting as everyone said it would be. After spending two days attending close to ten seminars, visiting hundreds of booths and meeting new people in the publishing field, I’ve learned quite a few things. And, lucky for you I’m eager to share! In no particular order here are few tips for attending your next Book Fair.

  • Be prepared. Take the time to review the conference agenda before you attend. The last thing you want to do is arrive the day of the conference and wander around cluelessly for forty-five minutes trying to figure out what booth to visit first. The London Book Fair made information even easier to access by having a free app for attendees to download to the smart phones. This app was so helpful in scheduling the seminars that I wanted to attend and the booths that I wanted to visit.
  • Take advantage! Realize that you are in the same building with thousands of other publishing professionals. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity that you have and put yourself out there. Meet people, strike up conversations, attend seminars, sessions, demos and interviews. LBF is like Christmas: it only happens once a year – so go for it!
  • Don’t be shy. Easier said then done, I know, but don’t feel shy about your status as a student or an assistant. Take yourself seriously and others will do the same. I must however add that LBF isn’t the place to pass out your resume or inquire about jobs. In fact, I found there to be more opportunities like this AFTER the official closing hours of the book fair. Which takes me to point #4…
  • Network. I attended the Publishing Talk Tweet Up and had a fantastic time.  That evening I mingled with some of my fellow colleagues was introduced to a few authors, editors, some start-up businesses and other students. The point is to meet people in a relaxed environment. So, don’t push your way into a conversation just because you think someone may be able to do something for you. Talk to everyone. Relax, smile and have a good time.
  • Be comfortable. I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing comfortable shoes but believe me; it is crucial. Dress smart, but be comfortable.

LBF was a fantastic experience. The next Book Fair I’d like to tackle? None other than the Frankfurt Book Fair. We’ll see if I get there. Wish me luck!

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