Here are our top tips if you are job searching and going to the London Book Fair (LBF).
1. Don’t expect to find a job at the London Book Fair. If you are coming it is to seek information, look around and keep up with developments. Be prepared to potentially make contacts and network. Our tips for networking will help.
2. Exhibitors. Unless they are recruitment consultants or training providers they are unlikely to be at the LBF for you; Exhibitors are there to buy and sell and do deals. A publishers’ output for the next few years may rely on the business they do at the fair, so bear this in mind if someone is curt with you if you are asking questions. Likewise if you are going from stand to stand trying to pitch your unpublished novel to a publisher at the LBF.
3. Do not go around handing in your CV. There is probably no one on the stand who is from HR and even if someone does accept your CV it is unlikely to make it back to the office. Much better to check their website afterwards and see if they accept speculative applications, before emailing your CV to the office instead. However, business cards are the standard level of communication that one would expect at a Book Fair. We recommend Moo for business cards* and lots of our clients have had a successful experience using them.
4. Do go through the list of exhibitors (search by category, rather than alphabetically is useful) and make a note of which stands you want to see. Check out the floorplan too so you don’t walk endlessly for miles – we have been asked to point out that you should WEAR, FLAT, COMFORTABLE SHOES!
5. Do look at the stands of the exhibitors that you want to see, noting the following:-
- Look how busy they are. This could be an indication of how well they are doing at the moment.
- Notice how many staff are on the stand.
- Look at the stand design and layout. Is it good or bad? Would you do anything differently? These are always useful discussions for future sales and marketing staff to have at job interviews.
- What book or series are they promoting at the moment? Look at the walls and the sides of the stand. What are their lead titles? Again, excellent points to discuss at an interview.
- If they have catalogues or brochures to give out and you are up to carrying stuff, then take one. (Check they are free; and bear in mind that the copies of books on the stands are not for retail sale – this is a trade only fair). Although you can view publishers’ catalogues on line, taking a hard copy to an interview speaks volumes.
- Check out the competitors of the publishers that you want to work for. What are they doing differently? Is it better?
- Make some notes so you don’t forget what you have seen!
6. Do go and look around all areas of the exhibition, so that you are informed of new developments and opportunities.
7. Do go and visit the recruitment consultants if they have stands, especially if they have had your CV for a while and you haven’t been put forward for anything. Putting a face to a name is a great way to remind them that you exist.
8. Seminars. There are lots of free seminars going on throughout the fair (over 270!). Here are our favourites:-
How to Get Into Publishing
How to Get Ahead in Publishing
Building the Publishing Workforce of the Future
Challenging Tradition – What Skills are Trending Now?
Writing the Future – Black and Asian Authors and Publishers in the UK Marketplace
Why the Editor is Invisible No Longer
How to launch your own Poetry Press in your 20s
We are All in it Together – Collaborate or Compete
Including the Excluded – Diversity and Inclusion in Action
Creativity, Coding and Commercial Savvy – Fusion Skills for a Future in Publishing
The Real New Publishing
9. Parties. Towards the end of the day you will notice a number of standing setting up for drinks parties. If you are fortunate enough to be invited don’t get drunk and use our tips on networking to see you through the event. Networking events include Book Machine and Byte the Book.
10. Follow up! If you’ve made any useful contacts at the fair, don’t waste the opportunity and follow up promptly.