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Pippa Cox, BA Publishing Media

(Marketing Assistant, at Pavilion Publishing and Media)

Books Are My Bag: The London Book Fair 2015

April is one of the best months of the year; the evenings are brighter, Creme Eggs are on sale, and the London Book Fair comes to Olympia.

As a Publishing Media graduate, I have the fondest memories of exploring the fair whilst I mastered competitor research, tried to scribble down witty quotes for essays, and assessed which stands my wardrobe would best suit in the future.

This year was an exciting prospect as it was the first time that I attended the event as a professional. It was the perfect opportunity for a little reflection as I was now seeing the fair from a different perspective, armed with everything that I had enjoyed learning at Brookes and with a year’s industry knowledge. There were three observations that I wanted to share with current and future Brookes Publishing students…

Keep in touch with your connections

I jumped at the opportunity to attend a few of the hundreds of free seminars arranged at the fair, but wasn’t very impressed by the smartphone addicts all around me – professionals can be so badly behaved! However, rather than reading posts on Lad Bible or adding pins to their imaginary wedding Pinterest boards, they were actually tweeting about what the speakers had to say, arranging who they’d schmooze with over lunch, and sussing out which stands their meetings were at. This observation highlighted the importance of connections and networking and how pivotal these events can be in confirming, or establishing, your name in the publishing world. It can be frustrating that this industry is as much about who you know, as what you know – but don’t panic, you’re ahead of the game already with all of your brilliant lecturers (remember to be nice).

The publishing world doesn’t sit still

The London Book Fair isn’t an event that you can attend once and then check off your list - every year is different so you should take every opportunity to attend. The publishing world is thriving (don’t believe any of this ‘the publisher is redundant’ rubbish) and so it’s always adapting to new technologies, strong competitors, and expanding markets.

I last went to the London Book Fair in 2013, back in the days that it was at Earls Court and before the Penguin Random House mega-merger. This year in particular, it was really obvious how digital wasn’t at the book fair as a novelty anymore, but as an essential dimension to the industry, with social media and vlogging becoming main parts of the conversation.

To be academically and professionally successful you need to keep up with how publishing is evolving; it’s an industry which is forever keeping you on your toes and that is what I love about it.

Brookes is best 

Whilst making pre-seminar small chat you begin to realise just how recognised the Publishing Media course is, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be talking to somebody who is or knows Brookes alumni. Consider your years at university as an ongoing networking opportunity and make the effort to get to know your peers, because you’ll be bumping into most of them again in the future, and most likely whilst you’re at the book fair. 

Posted on 22 Apr 2015 around 1pm

Filed Under Publishing Alumni