Visit to the London Book Fair LBF 2015

Every year I attend the London Book Fair in April. As an illustrator it is a fantastic opportunity to see the current publishing trends, illustration styles, new books that are coming out and also to say hello to previous clients.

This year the fair was at Kensington Olympia, instead of it’s previous home at Earl’s Court, and it was packed out! A beautiful 3 day sunshine bonanza hit us which did make it a little uncomfortable under the glass ceiling but it didn’t put off the crowds.

I started off by having a wander round the kids’ books section up on the first floor and was greeted by a HUGE bill board image of one of my illustrations which was a treat. I then had trek around the different publishers stands. My systematic approach from previous years at Earl’s Court went out of the window with the vastly different layout in Olympia. But I do think the carpet is better, I’m sure my feet weren’t as tired from walking around! After that I had a few meetings with previous clients of mine. The Book Fair is a fantastic opportunity to meet clients in person as most illustration work is done by email, so I would really recommend it.

Tips for an illustrator / author planning to go to the London Book Fair.

1. Book on-line in advance. Tickets are cheaper this way then buying them when you get there.

2. Bear in mind that publishers are mainly there to sell. They are looking to find buyers for their books, rather than chat to illustrators! This also means that they may just have a sales team there, rather than anyone from their design team. If there are some art directors or publishers you are hoping to see it is best to contact them prior to the fair to see if they are going and arrange an appointment.

3. Get a directory and a map! This is really useful in the maze of the London Book Fair!

4. Don’t panic! The fair is huge and pretty overwhelming. Take your time, and try to enjoy it. The best thing to do is to have a look round the books and make notes of those you like or any publishers who you think your illustrations suit, and then to contact them after the fair.

5. Check out the Illustrators’ Cafe, located in the kids’ book section. It is a great place to have a coffee and look at some illustrations.

6. Wear comfy shoes! There will be a lot of walking involved!

Save the date!! LBF 2016 is taking place on the 12th – 14th April 2016.