Friday, 17 March 2017

London Book Fair 2017

Around the World in 3 days at the London Book Fair 2017 from Karen Andrews on Vimeo.


Bringing the World Together at the London Book Fair 2017. 

Translators make it possible!


Around the world in 3 days? How is that possible? The London Book Fair offered a chance to visit the world via literature this week at Olympia. It would not have been possible without the work of translators. This was especially apparent during the panel discussion on 'Translating for Writers at Risk'. Translators help them to have a voice, contact with the outside world and often a 'friend' in exile too. The above video just shows a sample of the many 'countries' that it was possible to visit.

Polish Focus and Show App
Polish literature was the main focus of this year's show with a large area devoted to the work of Polish authors, large red and white banners and a special series of talks. There was an excellent app to help everyone navigate their way to stands and events. You could pre-book meetings with publishers and find lots of additional information.

French stand with Polish focus banner in background at LBF17

Visual Campaign Bravery
The first day's talks were extremely popular with standing room only. Visitors were even sitting on the floor to hear the 'Visual Life of Campaigns'. Jack Smyth explained the thinking behind the graphic design of Simon & Schuster's book covers and packshots. His advice could easily be applied outside publishing.

Jack Smyth urged everyone to sell the story not the product. Avoid camouflaging your book on the shelf. Go the opposite way to everyone else. Watch out for the law of diminishing returns. Every campaign has a lifespan. It is important to know when to move away from a campaign that is still working. Be prepared to change your design as everyone starts to copy you. Be more subtle or be more brave. A confident publisher is not afraid to leave information out. An element of mystery forces the reader to engage and seek the missing information.

Pop-up Events
Jon Slack described the success of pop-up and immersive events to attract new audiences. Appeal to the culturally curious who would not normally attend a standard book signing. Think thematically and creatively. Find ways to keep ticket prices low and you will attract new people with different and overlapping interests. 

Latvia in 3D
I recalled the Simon & Schuster design policy later in the show. My attention was captured by book covers on the Latvian stand. They had raised surfaces. The publisher had used 3D printing to produce them. They offered postcards and fridge magnets in the same format. It worked. The Latvian book covers stood out as different among all the books on display at Olympia.

Translators as Publicists
'How to Think Like a Publicist' stressed how publishers need translators to work collaboratively with them to promote translated works. The role of translator can now encompass:
  • Making videos about translated extracts
  • Social Media
  • Interpreting for the author in conversation at publicity events
  • Translation of selected pieces for use as future features
Society of Authors
The Society of Authors ran another excellent talk. I really appreciated their sound advice both during the presentation and more specifically on a potential project during a visit to their stand. Their free advice and undoubted expertise merits the membership fee.

Society of Authors' talk at the London Book Fair 2017

SFEP Guides
The Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SFEP) produce a series of handy guides that are available both in print and online. They were also helpful in answering my queries.

RA21
'Authentication and the Holy Grail' was the intriguing title of 3 presentations hosted by the Copyright Clearance Centre. RA21 stands for 'Resource Access in the 21st Century'. 

Eefke Smit presenting on RA21 at London Book Fair 2017

The 'Holy Grail' refers to the desire to get rid of multiple sign-ins and passwords when accessing content. Today's users want to access content seamlessly whether on or off campus, in a hotel, or on the move using multiple devices. STM, NISO and URA are currently cooperating on pilot schemes for secure, seamless authentication. They are also mindful of the new concept of privacy that will come into force with GDPR in 2018.

Poster for 2018 London Book Fair
Just a snapshot of the 3-day London Book Fair. There is so much more to see and hear. The London Book Fair will focus on the Baltic countries in 2018.


Karen Andrews is a freelance French to English technical and marketing translator, transcreator, content writer and editor. She has a strong background in global marketing.

Email Karen for further information via karenanglicityen@gmail.com in French, German or English.





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