I've been going to London Book Fair since 2011, before I was a published author. Back then, it was very much a trade fair, not really for authors at all. But I had a dream to be published by one of the big six publishing houses (now five) so it was wonderful to wander around the aisles.
When I self-published in December 2011, little did I know that one day I would be taking part in panels and events. As a guest of Kindle Direct Publishing, I spent a good few years helping at the stand and doing the panels.
It was there that I met author Caroline Mitchell and we've become such great friends. The book fair is a tradition of ours. We hadn't been since 2019, so it was wonderful to be going back. My advice to any author is to nab a buddy like I did. It's the one true support I couldn't do without.
From the minute I get inside Olympia, I'm like a kid in a sweetshop. It is such a delight to feel the buzz of the fair, see huge trade stands and spot a banner for my favourite place, Author HQ.
One lovely thing about the fair this year, was how lots of people were bumping into people they hadn't seen since pre-pandemic and the joy on their faces, as well as the squeals on some occasions, when they reconnected.
When I first started taking part in panels, Author HQ didn't exist, and over the years, it has grown into a wonderful place.
There are three days of panels to dip in and out of. A range of authors take part too, alongside agents, publishers, PR representatives, and organisations like ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors).
You can catch talks on how to publish a book, how to write, how to market. There are panels from industry experts too - from book to screen, cover design, how to pitch to an agent, working with audio books, etc.
Obviously, my favourite place to be is the KDP stand, where I can chat to authors I know, and meet up with some that I know online but have yet to meet. This is one of my best times as I never know who might turn up!
I had some great chats with authors LJ Ross, JD Kirk, Rachel McClean, Nicola May, Dave Gatward and Alex Smith. I also love chatting to KDP staff - Darren Hardy in particular as I have known him since 2014.
I spent the last evening in the company of several wonderful ladies. Louise Ross (LJ Ross) took this photo of a gaggle of authors. I often pinch myself to be sitting amongst such talent.
After that, I was exhausted. It really does take it out of you after two full days and I was glad to go home to Stoke the next morning. I had such a lovely welcome from Dexter too!
And now it's back to the grind... next week, I'll be sharing news of the latest Allie Shenton book. I'll be revealing the cover and title - and it may even be on preorder by then too.
And just before you go...
As part of the Kindle Monthly deal, Taunting the Dead and Follow the Leader are on offer for 99p/99c in the UK and US.
These versions are the recently edited ones and are also in Kindle Unlimited.
Have a great week!