Author, Wendy H. Jones describes her thoughts and observations from this year’s London Book Fair and her frantically busy schedule leading up to the Oakwood Literature Festival in May.
It’s been a whirlwind time for this author recently. Many people think that we authors sit in our writing rooms and pen beautiful words every day. Whilst that is true, we do sit in our offices and write most days, I’ve found out there’s a lot more to it than that. We do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time at festivals and various book events.
I seem to be attending several conferences all in the space of a few weeks. These are all different and yet all very much needed, both for authors and readers.
By far the largest of these in the UK is the London Book Fair. Taking place in March in Olympia Exhibition Centre in London, it was packed head to toe with exhibitors. Publishers, agents and writers from every possible corner of the globe were there. The first time I attended, three years ago, I was like a rabbit caught in headlights, not knowing where to go next. The frenetic pace wore me out as I tried to go everywhere and do everything. By the second year I had a better idea of what to do and how to network. This year I was a pro, meaning I could relax and make the most of LBF.
Whilst this is an industry, rather than a writers or readers, event, it nevertheless has an impact. Writers block, in Author HQ, is where all those who support writers hang out. I was wearing three hats – I was there as the Secretary of the Society of Authors helping them on their stand. Next as an Alliance of Independent Authors member, helping out on their stand. I was also there as myself, giving back and soaking up the industry.
Knowing the industry well is crucial in the modern publishing world. No longer can we hide in a garret and dip our quills in ink. The modern publishing industry is changing so quickly that we need to keep up. London Book Fair helps us to do that, through meetings and discussions either formally or over coffee. The buzz and the vibrancy is exhilarating and inspiring. I left feeling inspired to write and to ensure I brought my books out in all the different formats. I had discussions about foreign rights, met with my publishers and discussed soft toys and colouring books for my picture books.
Scottish Association of Writers
I was still on cloud nine the following week when the next conference hit. Which was a good job because, this was the Scottish Association of Writers Conference and, as president, I was running it. This was a completely different conference as it was just for writers. However, it still had the same vibe and everyone left feeling inspired to write. I had a blast.
This brings me to festivals which are first and foremost for readers, like Oakwood Literature Festival. I was honoured to be invited to take part this year as, what we do as writers is one hundred percent for our readers. Meeting those readers and providing a space for them to meet authors Is vital. I love it when I can spend time talking all things books with readers, so I can’t wait for the festival. It may have a completely different vibe but it will be the best one yet.
Wendy H Jones is the Amazon Number 1 best-selling author of the award winning DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. Her Young Adult Mystery, The Dagger’s Curse was a finalist in the Woman Alive Readers Choice Award. She is also The President of the Scottish Association of Writers, an international public speaker, and runs conferences and workshops on writing, motivation and marketing. Wendy is the founder of Crime at the Castle, Scotland’s newest Crime Festival. She is the editor of a Lent Book, published by the Association of Christian Writers and also the editor of the forthcoming Christmas Anthology form the same publisher. Her first children’s book, Bertie the Buffalo, was released in December 2018.