London Book Fair 2018: Lasting Impressions

By   Hannah Bickerton 2 min read

The whitefox team attended the London Book Fair again this year, and it was a very exciting and busy 3 days! Thanks to all of you who came by our table to say hello.

One of the clear themes that emerged from this year’s LBF is the growing accessibility of self-publishing, with an ever-increasing number of writers choosing to take their books to market themselves. At one of the seminars held in the Author HQ on Wednesday, we listened to a panel of independent authors and self-publishing experts about some of the advantages of taking the DIY route.

(Image: @whitefox_publishing Instagram)

While speaking to an overflowing audience at the Insights Seminar about self-publishing on Wednesday, independent author David Penny remarked that ‘as a self-publisher, you don’t have have to be a business person, but you have to have a business-oriented mindset.’ When choosing to self-publish, there are many aspects to consider besides the task of writing: editing; design; marketing and selling your work. David Penny advised writers to ask what you can do yourself first, and then see what you need help with, either from your personal network or from professional service providers.

There are clear benefits to deciding to self-publish your work, such as being able to retain your rights, maintain creative control, and be more involved in the overall publishing process. Robin Cutler, the director of IngramSpark, spoke about authors who are using IngramSpark as a self-publishing platform, which prints and distributes their work on their behalf, but allows them to keep the rights. The panelists advised authors to think carefully about selling their rights and any contracts they may choose to sign. For advice on this, Orna Ross, the director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) said that writers can contact ALLi.

The panelists agreed that one of the most daunting aspects of self-publishing is marketing your book. They said that writers need to understand their reader in order to be successful. However, they also stressed that whatever your situation is as a writer, you can find experts to help you, including with the marketing of your book. They encouraged writers to know the value of their work, and to keep the reader central in their mind when it comes to marketing.

During the Q&A session, independent author John Lewes emphasised how much self-published writers can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of professional publishing service providers. He spoke about how helpful his marketing consultation with whitefox was when it came to figuring out the primary audience for his new book A Spy After All (Which is out now!). The panel commended him for his confidence and encouraged more writers to find the joy in marketing their books. As David Penny concluded, ‘marketing is not being boastful, but being proud of the work you produce, and writers should not be afraid of selling it’.

One of the guiding principles of whitefox from its inception was the idea that it was possible, via a heavily curated network of trusted freelancers, to access the same professionals who assisted traditionally published authors. Over the years, this has had the impact of creating a more level playing field for content creators. This was our third LBF exhibiting, and our proximity to the huge number of entrepreneurial writers networking at the Author HQ talks confirmed what we long believed: old prejudices are dead. And creative collaboration within the whole eco-system of publishing is alive and well.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.