The AuthorLounge presence at the London Book Fair has been a feature of the event for several years and this year it gets a complete revamp and will focus on unpublished authors. LBF organisers have partnered with UK book marketing and author consultancy, Authoright. I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of exhibitors specifically focused in the area of self-publishing services and independent authors. The self-publishing service market is no longer the bastion of companies like Lulu, Author Solutions and Amazon/CreateSpace. Every year I see more traditional publishers and agents turn up for LBF with increasing attention and involvement in seminars and activities aimed at unpublished and self-published authors. And if they turn up unmoved by all that is self-publishing, often a great many necks are craned in that direction by the second day of the event.
This year AuthorLounge will give pride of place to unpublished authors, whatever their chosen publishing path, and authors will be able to attend seminars by Faber, HarperCollins, Penguin, Foyles, Kindle Direct Publishing, Matador and the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency (the agency is another in a growing list of agencies to launch an ebook and POD imprint). It is no surprise to see those three big publishers involved. Faber has a very successful workshop programme for authors called The Faber Academy, HarperCollins own and administer the online writing community, Authonomy, and Penguin became the first of the big six publishers to launch a dedicated self-publishing imprint with Book Country.
The focus this year for the AuthorLounge was prompted by LBF organisers’ recognition that ‘the shift in publishing towards author services’ can no longer be ignored. No book fair worth the trouble and effort to pull together can afford to ignore that unpublished authors now have two distinct and valid choices to make when they complete a manuscript. What is encouraging is that finally we are seeing the acknowledgement that companies (be it agency, traditional publisher or publishing service provider) are prepared to sit down together under the one roof and platform and argue their validity and case. Publishing service providers and self-published authors alike no longer sit outside shuffling their feet awkwardly in the sand. They all have a rightful place at the main table. Just this week, thousands of miles away from London, in New York, the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference dedicated one of its event days to Author (R)evolution.
Jacks Thomas, senior exhibition director at LBF told The Bookseller:
“We’ve received lots of feedback from those wanting to be published that The London Book Fair offers a valuable one stop experience to explore all the options available to them. It’s great to be partnering with Authoright at this year’s Fair and to be providing a more customised content stream for as yet unpublished authors. Through the seminars, events, networking opportunities and the unique access to the publishing solutions sector, all visitors to The AuthorLounge curated by Authoright are bound to have a very rewarding book fair.”
LBF and Authoright have launced a dedicated microsite for the events at this year’s fair to include seminars, a pitch session for authors to agents, and the Lounge for videos, networking and information. Further details and events have still to be loaded to the new microsite in the coming days.
The AuthorLounge takes place as part of the London Book Fair at London’s Earls Court from 15-17th April this year.