Books Need Us

Books Need Us Blog: The London Book Fair

By Maria Vassilopoulos – Books Need Us. 

In the Book trade we are currently in the middle of the London Book Fair, the biggest trade event we have in the UK! If you’ve been before then some of what I’m about to say will be familiar to you. If you are coming along then it may help, and if you are thinking of going next time then it will hopefully give you a good picture of what to expect.


What is it?

The London Bookfair has been going since 1971 and originally was a much smaller event – read more here. Nowadays the emphasis for the publishing business is around meeting their sales teams and bookstore buyers, showcasing new products, reminding customers about their past and best-selling titles and selling and acquiring international rights.


What’s there?

Basically most of the UK book trade under one roof. As the big publishing conglomerates have the plush stands its easy to spot them but also great to explore the medium and smaller publishers. There is also a digital zone were you can find out about the latest content driven technology. Each year a different country becomes the Market Focus – for example this year it’s Korea, so it’s quite interesting generally to see what publishing looks like in a different international market. There are seminars throughout the 3 days and these range from finding a job in publishing to marketing a children’s book – if you want to do a bit of networking then these are a good idea.

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By Maria Vassilopoulos.

rp_Maria-300x3001.jpgBook events can be held at any time of year and either in store, online or at literary festivals.  It is a chance to tell your direct audience about your product.  It is a chance to sell your product.  Christmas may seem like an ideal time to hold a book reading or event, but bear in mind just as your social calendar may get busy, so will the bookstores.  They will be gearing up for their busiest time of year and might not have the facilities to host events at this time (Think staff and more demanding customers).

However some stores hold Christmas events where a number of authors attend and get table space in order to sign copies so it may be worth doing some research in your area to see whether this happens at your local bookstore – you may even want to suggest it.

Other good times to hold events are during the spring when festivals start happening and stores need to keep customers coming into them – Christmas is only once a year and so events provide community interest in the bookstores when that’s not there.

There are a few types of event format: Continue reading

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Easy Ways to Promote yourself…

OrganicBooksBlog.jpgBy Maria Vassilopoulos – Organic Books. 

When I worked as a bookseller, there were three main ways I would get asked for books by customers. One was if a certain celebrity or known person had written a book, people would come in and already know what they wanted – for example, the new Jamie Oliver or *insert celebrity’s name here’s* biography. The other one was by title or cover, some customers would actually ask for “that red book” or “that tractors in Ukraine book”. The last one was for children’s books and centred around the age suitability of chapter and picture books, “is this ok for my *age* child/friend’s child to read?” kinds of questions.

It’s important to think about these questions when promoting your book and others that customers may ask. Also, it’s paramount to make sure that the booksellers know about them too. I only recommended books I knew something about.

By something I am meaning any extra information or activity that goes with the actual book, including launches, events, media coverage (big or small) and the main gist of the plot. This helps when people walk into bookstores wanting booksellers to tell them about good content.

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Stay Creative

 Organic BooksBy Maria Vassilopoulos- Organic Books

When you are writing your book(s), it is with the creative brain.  Even with non-fiction there is a creative process involving having the vision to see the end result and manipulate the content to be easy on the eye as well as informative and educational if needed.  When it’s all printed and bound and ready to go, don’t stop the creativity.

You have to play a bit of a game here – imagine you had all the money in the world, a totally receptive audience and all the time a person could need to think and really get behind your product (yes, your book once printed is a physical product that people don’t know they want until you find a way of communicating to them) and write down what you would do to promote your work.  Some ideas: Continue reading

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Think Big

rp_Maria-300x300.jpgBy Maria Vassilopoulos- Organic Books

You are the author of your book (s) and that makes you, by default the king of their world.  Without you, they wouldn’t exist.  If you hadn’t been inspired, nobody would now own your masterpiece.  Correct.

However, now you are king (or Queen) you have to decide how to rule.   There are a few types of reigning authors:

The dictator– You believe your book is the greatest thing ever read and that if people aren’t paying attention to it or doing enough for it they have a problem.

The Laid Back Larry– It’s done, you are sure somebody will read it and you are far too busy to tell everyone about it – that’s what the bookshops are  for – right?

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What’s it like to be an Author?

OrganicBooksBlogBy Maria Vassilopoulos- Organic Books

I don’t know.  I can’t write all that well – although one of my fondest school memories is of penning an A5 sticky backed plastic novella called “Small Adventures” which was about Titchyfoot the little little person who had got shrunk by a witch and was trying to get back to her mother.  I got 5 house points and staples to hold it together.

However, when I have tried to write anything else, my brain gets bored and my inherent laziness takes over.  I stop the story, give it a bad ending and leave the characters I partially created hanging in limbo and feeling pretty cheated.

Blogging is better for me as it’s shorter and punchier.  At one point I thought maybe Journalism was for me but as I found out when doing work experience at a local newspaper whilst at university, it really wasn’t.  I didn’t enjoy the structure of how I had to write and there wasn’t a lot going on that summer.

It was more about the actual books for me.  I didn’t have Continue reading

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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