Are you interested in attending a book fair as indie author? Should you attend book fairs as an independent author at the first place, or is this just a waste of money? This question is driving most authors nuts: on one hand, book fairs seem like the heart of publishing industry, where experts from all fields meet, network, make deals and give amazingly interesting lectures. On the other hand, book fairs are all about signing deals and making new contracts: what can an indie author make out of it?
As a relative newbie in the publishing industry, this was the first year I ever attended book fairs: early summer I went to London (this was kind of home territory), then this October I participated in Frankfurt Book Fair: I thought it will be similar to the London one, but I was mistaken.
At this point, most big book fairs have an area dedicated to indie publishing. However, this area always is a tad detached from the rest of the fair: in London, Author HQ was right behind children’s books, at the far end of the fair; and in Frankfurt, author services were at the back of Hall 3.0, Amazon present with only a tiny stand in a whole separate building dedicated for German publishing. Definitely very far away from the rest of the fair that was happening mostly in Halls 4 and 6, with the agents’ lounge and the business tables all situated in at least 10 minutes of walk; and surrounded with German teens queuing up for signings.
Authorpreneur event at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017
Despite the hostile environment, though, the organizers of the International Independent Author Program (Porter Anderson and the Publishing Perspectives) did everything in their power to make the program interesting and engaging.
Starting with IngramSpark’s Andrew Bromley (who was the only one using the great chance to give away free books); continuing with ALLi’s Orna Ross giving an inspiring pep talk on how the indies should use every opportunity to give away free samples of their writing (by blogging for example) in order to attract much needed audience; and finishing with our very own CEO Kinga talking about smart tools indie publishers can use to increase their ebook sales, the program has something in it for authorpreneurs at all levels. Last but not least, there was a discussion involving all speakers and the audience.
I’m sure that all attendees have enjoyed it.
However, it isn’t necessary to have been present in Frankfurt in order to access all these talks and much more: ALLi organized an Indie Author Fringe to coincide with the Fair, collected great speakers on their own and published recordings of the Frankfurt speeches as well. All for free. Lecturers include Porter Anderson on whether Frankfurt Book Fair is indie author friendly, Joanna Penn and Sukhi Jutla on how to become an author-enterpreneur and Tim Lewis on using a podcast to deepen follower engagement.