Wednesday, 20 May 2015

London Book Fair Fringe and IAF '15

Our Day by JJ Marsh & Gillian Hamer
Bestseller CJ Lyons

Friday 17 April saw London Book Fair's first Fringe Festival. Foyles, London's biggest independent bookstore, opened its doors to the Alliance of Independent Authors, IndieReCon, and IAF15 organised by Triskele Books.

The atmosphere was buzzing from the opening minutes of the event, and from speaking to other attendees, there was more atmosphere in the room than in the whole of LBF at Olympia!

CJ Lyons opened the event explaining how by using the analogy of a blacksmith. Forge your first book with love and care, then keep honing your craft. Engage with readers. Don’t try to sell a million. Write something a million people want to buy. Not bad advice from someone who has now sold well into the millions of books. And food for thought for all authors in the room.

L-R: Peter Urpeth, John Prebble, Nicola Solomon and Debbie Young
Debbie Young of the Alliance of Independent Authors chaired a discussion with panellists Peter Urpeth of Scottish based Creative Agency, Emergents; John Prebble of Arts Council of England Literature Relationship Manager and Nicola Solomon of the Society of Authors. The theme was how to keep the cash coming in while you write. Grants, prizes, Public Lending Rights, mentoring schemes, partnerships with business development organisations and sponsorship are all potential sources of support for authors.

Dan and Rohan
Dan Holloway and Rohan Quine fired up the audience by speaking eloquently and poetically on diversity in literature. Both writers are superb examples of genre-busting talent and the audience responded to their rousing appeals for creativity and originality in publishing. Read Dan’s poem 'Because' and Rohan's stirring speech in their own sub-post in WWJ.

ALLi’s literary agent, Toby Mundy of TMA chaired a panel including Scott Beatty of Trajectory, book-scout Sharmaine Lovegrove of Dialogue Berlin & Fremantle Media, and Katie Donelan of BookBub to discuss how authors can sell more rights. Porter Anderson introduced SELF-e. Authors everywhere can sign up to get their ebooks into US libraries.

Sharmaine Lovegrove, Scott Beatty, Katie Donelan, Toby Mundy
Much talk centred on what self-publishing should learn from trade publishing. Rarely vice versa. Porter Anderson explored this key question with panellists Robert Caskie, Senior Agent at Peter Frazer Dunlop; Dr Alison Baverstock, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Publishing, Kingston University and Robin Cutler of Ingram Spark had an interesting discussion on how self-publishing affects trade publishers, editors, agents and bookshops?

Debbie Young and Piers Alexander introduced the new #Authors4Bookstores campaign. All writers and readers love bookstores and want to see at least one on every high street. This new campaign encourages and enables indie authors and bookstores to form mutually beneficial, supportive relationships.
Dr Alison Baverstock, Robert Caskie, Porter Anderson, Robin Cutler
Last session of IndieReCon saw Joanna Penn grill a range of successful indie authors, Rachel Abbott, Steena Holmes, CJ Lyons, Mark McGuinness and Nick Stephenson on their tactics, breakthrough moments and advice. There were interesting individual stories from each other, but also a collective agreement that the story was key - and making the effort to engage and retain readers vital.

Orna Ross & Porter Anderson wrapped up the conference with a look back at the last three years of ALLi and plans and hopes for the future. You can access all this and more via IndieReCon – talks, tips, ideas, videos and vast amounts of resources to peruse at leisure.

The Indie Author Fair at Foyles
Team Triskele
The last part of the day was IAF15 @Foyles, organised by Triskele Books. Fifty authors with books, balloons, goodies, quizzes and smiles welcomed browsers, bookclubbers, friends and most importantly the elusive band of readers.

The atmosphere was happy, friendly, communal and everything an indie author fair should be. Books were sold, contacts made, canap├ęs devoured and wine consumed - and everyone went away happy and looking forward to the next IAF.

So, now we’re planning the next one. After a cup of tea.

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