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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

It's a Wonderful World (of Books)

Working at a publishing agency does has its perks.

I had forgotten all about the London Book Fair when I went into work this morning.

Not only did I get the opportunity to attend, I also got some helpful tips for aspiring writers (as I am one).

The absolute highlight for was when British Author Joanna Troloppe surprised us all by coming on stage to introduce the Marketing and HR panel.

Her advice?

1. Don't be afraid to fail (this is coming up a lot for me recently. I need to embrace that what I have previuously considered "failure" is there to push me and allow me to grow into more, as Joanna just said to "fail better next time")

2. To train your mind to know/observe as much as you can about human beings and behavior - because that is where the magic of writing comes from.

I absolutely LOVED her. Especially because I hadn't planned on being able to actually see and make contact with a successfully published author. Then she wished us all luck with "our ambitions - whatever they might be"

So good!

I attended two panels. The first was on finding a literary agent and the second was the Marketing and PR panel mentioned above.

The take aways from both were pretty similar

1. Make sure you do your research ahead of time. No one is going to like it if you are submitting a non-faction piece of work to agent/journalist/blogger/ whose background is in science fiction or something else

2.Everyone is really busy and you need to catch their eye. You SHOULD NOT rely on mass/boiler plate mailings/templates. When you are submitting your work it is incredibly important that you tailor it to whomever you are submiting it to. That it is "bespoke" as they say over here.

3. Be succinct - No one wants to read a novel to explain a novel. Make sure your cover letter clearly states why you think this person should care (because you have researched them and have read how passionate they are about XYZ) as well as a few words on you and your work

It was also really interesting to me to walk around and see all of the negotiating deals going on behind the scenes. The event is called the London book fair but really its more like the established publishers/agents/rights negotiation house. I was not a participant this year, but someday I think it would be quite cool to be!

I loved that I got the opportunity to suss it out.


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