London Book Fair


Two days packed with 30 minute appointments - or at least what's left of the 30 minutes once you take off the time you've spent looking for your next meeting, rushing down escalators, trying to work out the floor plan...

That's a literary agent's experience of a trade fair, and we're just back from the London International Book Fair in Earl's Court with notes galore which we need to transcribe now, before their meaning becomes lost in the blur of it all.

Meetings are a mix of bringing us up to date with ongoing contracts, feedback from rights teams about foreign - and other - rights, and presentations of new titles from new and established authors and illustrators.

Some editors are old friends, and we make new friends too. The merry-go-round of publishing means that people we've known for years can suddenly reappear in shiny new incarnations with a different business card and a fresh set of objectives.

But really, nothing changes that much. We're all looking for the books that readers will want to buy, in the format of their choice. 

This year's Most Common Request was for fiction for 8 to 11s/9 to 12s. Some want standalone, others are looking for series - or at least series potential. It's useful to know, but hasn't that always been the case? That's the core market for building readership.

If you're looking for some guidance, and you're a writer living in Scotland, don't forget the Emergents' initiative - Today's Writers for Today's Readers - in which we're playing a part. The chosen age-range is exactly the one for which publishers are currently on the look out, but the guidelines make sense for whatever kind of writing you're doing. Even if you're not eligible for geographical reasons, you may find the information on the website and in the video helpful.

And perhaps yours will be one of the novels we're presenting at high speed at next year's London Book Fair.

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