The London Book Fair, Decisions & The Ultimate Sacrifice #MondayBlogs

Last week saw me visit the London Book Fair 2017, the UK’s largest book fair. Over 25,000 people attend to negotiate rights, deals, have agent sessions, attend insightful seminars and network with author services as well as meet fellow authors.

I spent two days there and frankly, I think they have to be the best two days of my entire writing career to date. I learnt so much, mostly unexpected things. But also things about myself, things about the industry, and things I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

But all that’s led me to one stark conclusion and one that’s resulted in me taking quite surprising action.

Image Credit: The London Book Fair

But before I tell you my decision, let me tell you about the fair.

THE LONDON BOOK FAIR

I’d been more militant about preparing for the fair than a bra burning protester. I planned everything down to what break I should get my lunch in, to circling locations of the seminars on my maps. I was determined to get as much out of the fair as possible.

I was on my own the first day, several blogging buddies joined on weds.

Being on my own was not cool. There was no part of me that was okay with knowing I HAD to speak to total strangers. My insides rocked themselves rhythmically in dark corners of my mind while my stomach curled into a million knots.

The seminars were good, but I realised they were pitched at beginners. I learnt fast that the benefit of the LBF was not the seminars, but the networking and opportunity to meet others. So I tossed my  itinerary in the bin, sucked up my inner introvert and said fuck it. Off I trotted to talking to people… LOTS of people. I’m pretty sure I’ve used my quota of meeting new people for the rest of my life!

I met my absolute idol, Joanna Penn and tried very hard not to fangirl the shit out of her – I failed miserably and if it weren’t for BlondeWriteMore holding me upright, I’d have thrown up in her lap.

There’s too much to break down into one post and I’ll share things over the next few months but here are some quick tips I learnt from the fair:

1. The Two C’s – Book fairs, conferences and any other event with real writing cyborgs in attendance isn’t really about the content, it’s about the connect with other writerly cyborgs. I learnt more talking to other authors than I did from anything else I’ve done… Period.

2. Connection means support. Authors are amazingly generous creatures, and often, asking… just putting it out there that you’d love to connect, or guest post, or pick their brains is actually as satisfying to them, as it is helpful to you.

3. Every author’s journey is different, but the guiding principles are the same.

By that, I mean if you want to sell books, you better make damn sure you have a business mindset, be unscrupulous about priorities/time management, and get a fucking subscriber list! But none of those things are new, I say them all the time. But it was nice to have them reaffirmed at the show.

4. Take business cards. TAKE ALLLLLL THE BUSINESS CARDS you have to any event you go to. I was shocked at how many I used.

5. Planning is everything and nothing. I’d planned every last second, but my plan got torn in two in favour of an ad lib one. But if I hadn’t planned I wouldn’t have been in the right place to bump into people, nor would I have known who they were or what burning questions I wanted to ask. Know who’s going, know what you want to ask, then give them your business card!

6. Smile. Be friendly. Grab yourself by the balls and just say hello, it’s amazing but people don’t actually bite… Okay. I do bite. But only on the weekend.

If you haven’t been to the book fair you should. The two days I spent there have permanently changed my life. I’m still trying to consolidate everything that happened.

Which leads me to my announcement…

There were a lot of conversations at the seminar. I learnt so much from all the amazing authors, and I’ve been given some pretty awesome opportunities to help with my book launch… but those opportunities have pretty finite deadlines. SO…

With a huge amount of reluctance… I am stopping blogging… completely. Well. Until I finish my current manuscripts and send them off to the editor at any rate. I fannyied around attempting to cut down blogging before Christmas with the help of some amazing guest posters (thank you my wonderful blogging buddies), but I need more time. I’ve sacrficied pretty much everything I can without stopping sleep completely, and much as I like to think I am the robotic version of wonder woman, I’m not. Realistically, there’s only one thing left I can give up… The ultimate sacrifice… The blog. The blog has got to go.

I know. Don’t fall over.

Watch me rip my Tarzan t-shirt and roar in my best Schwarznegger voice,”I’ll be back.”

But things are too tight, too close, and frankly, I am desperate to just finish the bastard books. As a result of the networking I’ve got the opportunity to do some pretty spectacular things but now I HAVE to hit my deadlines (cool shit to be revealed when I’m back).

But for now, no more Monday posts. Writespirations will be posted, but I will close the comments – ping backs will work but I won’t be publishing the entries until I hand my manuscript over to the editor. The only other posts you’ll see are pre-scheduled ones for the Bash.

I hope this hiatus won’t be long, hopefully, it might not even last a month… but it could last two. I have to stay strong. I have to have a clear head, and I really need to tick some shit off my triple-figure to do list. Wish me luck, send me coffee or wine, or a shotgun for even considering writing a book in the first place. This isn’t goodbye, so I won’t bullshit you with that. Instead, let me say:

Image from Hot Imagery

It’s been emotional.

 

 

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79 comments

  1. I am so excited for you, it sounds like many wonderful things are about to happen for you, and you certainly deserve them!
    I wish you all the best with your books; I am sure you will meet the deadlines, you work so hard!
    Looking forward to hearing all your news when you get back! xx

    1. ahhh thank you so much Mary – it’s going to kill me, I am just doing the final bits of admin and scheduling of bash info/replying to comments tonight and then I am signing off. *weeps* it’ll be worth it though πŸ˜€

  2. “Light the blue touch paper and stand clear” standard instructions on a firework, but they suit this occasion perfectly. Burn long and burn bright, and don’t come back to earth until you’re ready!

    1. HAHAHAHA you make me laugh. Well, I hope, I reallllllly hope it is a break on the shorter side of things. But we shall see. Shits got to get done; books got to be finished, so a girls got to do, what a girls got to do!

    1. hahaha, did I say that?! It always makes me laugh my head off when people replay the random nonsense I say!!! well, updates shortly! But for now, I shall crack on with finishing book 1!

  3. LBF is a bit of a trek for me, but I know lots of people rave about it. I was interested that a lot of the author sessions were pitched at beginners however and smiled at you ripping up your meticulous plan (must be a parallel with drafting a novel there) but which nevertheless must have helped to focus. Glad you had such a fab time and I’m shocked at your announcement : – ) but I have wondered a capacity to juggle all those elements and still have a life. As blogging royalty (you, not me), you could consider yourself like the Queen, taking a well-earned break to Sandringham or wherever she goes, although I know you’ll be working damn hard. Good luck!

    1. Yeah, that was a real surprise for me too actually. I expected the seminars to be detailed and pitched at industry professionals, but I guess the attendees must be mostly beginners. LOL definitely a parallel with the novel – I re wrote my entire first draft!!! hahaha. I know, I was shocked too, but I am literally out of options, and I am hoping it might only be a month, but I guess it’s crunch time, and I’m fed up with not having that bookbaby in my hands. PAHAAHAHA blogging royalty – now I’m the one laughing, what an honour! not sure it’s true, but I’ll take it anyway. :p

  4. Oh, Sacha, we cannot be everywhere at the same time. It is hard to set priorities… but we need to survive… lol! Don’t worry, take your time, we will be there whenever you are back πŸ’–

    1. I am so glad you understand πŸ˜€ it means a lot, and you’re right I guess I am having to choose what I really want, its painful but liberating all at the same time πŸ˜€

      1. I hear you so well, Sacha! We love it but it is so time consuming! Sometimes we need to choose but the good news is that you already have your place here 😘

  5. It’s a step I’ve been contemplating myself. I’ve been using my blog to feel that I’m writing every day, instead of the actual serious writing on the WIP. We will miss you, but I completely understand.

    1. Ha! yep, I’ve been there too. I don’t know why we get sucked in so fast. It’s addictive I guess. But I guess this is the only thing I can do. Hopefully a month or two of pure concentration will be all I need. I will miss all you guys too <3, and you should totally do it - you'll finish your book way faster! πŸ˜€

  6. You’re giving up your blog…. wow, that’s a bit of a shocker. I should do that too… would get a lot more writing done. I am intending a break soon to get my final edits done. Getting there, how is it going for you?

    1. Yep. Got no choice. It has to be done. I am close to completion on two books but I just need a bit extra time and not having to give up hours of admin time will be just the ticket, I guess I am just hoping that it doesn’t take too long! Editing is always a pain, but I think I can see the light FINALLY!! How’s it going for you?

      1. I’m getting there Sacha. But you’re right editing is an almighty pain. Still quite a lot to do, but beginning to feel that I am getting somewhere… I always seem to get side tracked and that slows me down!

  7. You know, Sacha, you are talking to a lot of other authors here, right? We totally get it! No worries, no sweat. Enjoy the freedom to focus on your manuscripts. They are important and worthy of your undivided attention. We will all be here when you get back. Happy Writing, my friend. <3

    1. haha, I know, I know. But I feel like Im failing by not being able to do it all! But I guess short term pain for long term goals. I am doing all the hard work I’ve put in a disservice by not finishing the books, and hopefully it will be a short break πŸ˜€

  8. I’m so envious! It sounds amazing! πŸ’–

    It’s not possible, is it? We can’t do it ALL. I’ve been reflecting on what can go in my life. It’s all way too much. Blogging is time-consuming. Good call. We’ll all be here when you return with your book completed.

    1. Well, I suspect you can, but you end up doing everything badly, rather than just stopping and concentrating on doing one thing well. Lesson learnt I guess. I just need to finish the damn projects, before I reach 90 and I still haven’t published. Thinking of you today xx

    1. You know you really rocked a lot of people’s worlds when you took that break – it was like so against the unspoken rules, and yet you did it, and it was amazing. So pleased you did I don’t think I’d have had the confidence to if you hadn’t first πŸ˜€ <3

  9. Great post. I was also at the Book Fair. I only went the one day this year. I find it so awe inspiring and I am sure it gets bigger every year. I will be going again next year but for 2 days again.

  10. How exciting! I had so much to learn in LA and that conference was 3 years ago. Yes, networking and connecting. Shut it down, make your deadlines, and we’ll be here when you get back!

    1. you went to that conference three years ago? Surely not. I swear I remember you writing all about it. It can’t really have been that long?????? wowza. Thank you for your support Charli, means the world πŸ˜€

  11. About time! Was getting tired about all the notifications about a new post being posted. You were acting like as though me and everybody else has enough time to read your long and useful posts.
    No seriously. Hope you meet all your deadlines and accomplish all that you need to.
    See you soon x

    1. HAHA, for a minute there I thought you were serious! I was like *weep* thank you – means a lot. Hopefully it will only be a short intermission, but I’m definitely determined not to come back till I am done.

  12. Good on you Sacha. You learned quickly how overwhelming it is to write books, blog, do life and market and promote, we are all tired, lol. I tried to stop blogging while on vacation, even that didn’t work. I remember when I met Joanna at a small gathering in Toronto. I was a newbie then so it was a thriller. I wish you lots of luck. I know you’ll be around, but get some shit done. I have to do the same when I return. I need to get back to book writing seriously, so I may be doing the same. <3

    1. Thanks Debby, I know I adore my blog, but it isn’t my books and as much as the blog is a platform, if I don’t have a book to sell I can’t sell any books. SIGH. Well we can break together <3

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