Preparing For The London Book Fair

It's the London Book Fair next week and I'll be popping along for what will be my third visit. When I first attended in 2013 I was like a rabbit in the headlights and a kid in a toyshop rolled into one. The children's publishing area of the Fair is a flurry of bunting and bright colours with beautiful books as far as the eye can see and a constant buzz as editors, sales folk, authors and agents gather around small tables, sipping coffee and talking business. It's a little intimidating to a complete newcomer to the publishing industry like me but also feels like an exciting peek 'behind the scenes'.

I wasn't sure what to expect but quickly realised that the Fair is all about the business of books rather than focusing on authors and illustrators like a literary festival. However, there is still a lot to learn and a lot to see. It's interesting just getting an insight into how it all works. There is a full seminar programme that's free with your ticket with fantastic speakers talking about a whole range of topics. Last year, I learnt a lot more about digital publishing and pitched an idea at an agent 'speed dating' event. And I've been lucky enough to see the likes of Joanna Penn, Eric Huang, Kate Wilson and Sarah McIntyre speak about their experiences in the industry. You can also spend time browsing publisher's stands to see what the latest trends are and mingle with other like-minded souls at Author HQ.

This year I'll be taking along the first drafts of the picture book version of Angel's Great Escape to share with some existing contacts and some new faces. Translating the app to the page has been an exciting and challenging process. My book designer, Sarah Goodwin's advice has been absolutely invaluable and I have learnt a lot about pace, continuity and variation from page to page. And I've realised that sometimes things just need to feel right on the page. The layouts of the app were a lot more simplistic, with a routine design of picture with words at the bottom, whereas the book has exciting fonts, words that leap out and curve and curl around the images. Kristyna has kindly worked on a couple of additional illustrations for me including the cute little chap at the bottom of this page. We've also lightened and brightened some of the colours and added a new image to the last page of Father Christmas looking rather chuffed as he munches on a mince pie. Then there was the back page text to the think of and the cover design for both the front and the back. Overall I am really, really pleased with what our little team has achieved. Holding the proofs in my hands I can hardly believe that Angel was once just an idea fluttering about my head.

In addition to the printed proofs I've created some 'leave-behinds' to give to people I speak to. These are A4 sheets including images of all of the book spreads, a little about the background of the project, a full transcript of the words and key marketing points. The Fair is so busy and everyone has so much to think about, I thought it would be wise to have something quite detailed for people to read through when they get a chance to digest everything back at their desks.

And as well as all the seminars, meetings, browsing and 'Angel's Great Escape speak', I'm also hoping to run into a few Twitter friends from the #colour_collective. I'm really looking forward to meeting amongst the books to put some faces to names and to learn more about their experiences of this wonderful bookish world.