Trade Fair Preparation for Authors – Checklist

Are you already looking forward to the next book fair? We can understand that well! But in order to master the exciting and varied days at a trade fair in the best possible way, comprehensive preparation is the most important thing. As an author or visitor, you should start your trade fair preparation in good time. Today, in the trade fair preparation checklist, we present the most important tips on how to optimally prepare for the upcoming book fair.

1. Measurement preparation checklist – plan arrival and departure!

As soon as you have decided to participate in a trade fair, you should plan your arrival and departure as the first point of your trade fair preparation. Every day of the fair counts thousands of visitors. Train tickets and hotels in the surrounding area are often booked out quickly during this rush. Especially at the two major trade fairs, the Leipzig Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair, you should take care of detailed planning and bookings in good time so that you do not have to choose the most expensive hotels and train connections in the end. A trade fair preparation checklist is therefore also suitable here for detailed planning.

Tip: If you are preparing for the fair, be sure to look at private accommodation. Often these are very centrally located and cheaper. A shared apartment with several trade fair visitors can also be an option to save money.

2. Create a schedule

When you prepare the fair, you can record your arrival and departure dates in a schedule. This is one of the most important points of your trade fair preparation and the checklist. As soon as the program of the fair has been published, you can enter all dates and interesting events there. Especially if you are only visiting the fair on one day and your schedule is very tight, you will keep track of things.
It is also advisable to plan a time buffer between the individual appointments so that you can change the exhibition hall if necessary or do not have to interrupt a conversation early. Especially on the trade fair weekends, the halls are usually very crowded and the paths narrow.

3. Preparing the trade fair: Networking with publishers and colleagues

If you already know which publishers, agents, editors, and other trade fair participants you would like to talk to, it makes sense to make appointments in advance. This not only makes it easier for you to plan your own trade fair visit but also increases the chance that your desired conversations will come about at all, as many from the book industry are permanently stuck between two appointments and it can easily happen that you do not see your desired person at all or only too briefly. Therefore, try to express your interest in a conversation in advance, for example by e-mail, and ideally plan it firmly in your schedule. If you want to introduce yourself to editors, write a maximum two-page exposé in advance, which summarizes the plot of your work in the present tense and presents the topic, genre, and, if necessary, some background information. So you are optimally prepared and can quickly get to the essentials and save time.

4. Networking with readers

Book fairs are a great opportunity to meet and get to know like-minded people. Nowhere else will it be so easy for you to get in touch with people who are interested in the same things as you.
When you prepare the fair, inform your readers in advance when they can meet you where in order to expand personal reader loyalty and receive direct feedback. Many publishers or platforms that are represented with their own stand offer that you as an author can meet the readers, for example, in a signing session or a meeting at the corresponding stands. You can also simply make an appointment at one of the retreats at the trade fair or attend a joint event.

5. Trade fair preparation checklist – create advertising materials

Have business cards printed in advance with your contact details and possibly also flyers for your next events and readings. Other advertising materials, so-called goodies, are also popular with readers. These include, for example, bookmarks, postcards, reading samples or even bags and pins. Plus, take a few copies of your book with you, which you can sign, distribute, and raffle off to your readers at the show. This effectively and quickly increases the reach of your book and makes it known directly and personally to many readers.

6. Be open to new ideas

You probably know in advance, thanks to the trade fair preparation checklist, which events you are attending and with whom you would definitely like to get into the conversation. Nevertheless, try to be open to new things! So take a look at events that do not exactly correspond to your areas of interest and have conversations about topics that are not directly related to your career as an author or your book. And who knows who or what you can encounter during an aimless walk through the exhibition halls? Thinking outside the box can be worthwhile!

7. Choosing the right outfit

Whether you’re giving a talk or making new contacts, there’s no need to put on a mask and dress up. Blazer and suit are good. But the outfit should underline you and your work. Stay natural, this looks authentic and is best received by your counterpart.
Remember that you will probably be on your feet all day and cover a lot of distance. With regard to your outfit choice, you should therefore make sure that you can move comfortably and feel comfortable. For example, we cannot recommend high shoes.

8. Catering

Running from appointment to appointment all day long, missing as little as possible, and having countless conversations – a trade fair day can be really stressful and exhausting despite all the fun. It is not uncommon for people to fall over! This makes it all the more important that you keep yourself happy and energetic by regularly thinking about your food. At the fair itself, you can buy something to eat at numerous stands and stalls, but this is usually very expensive. Be sure to pack enough water and snacks for the small hunger in between!

9. Take advantage of the trade visitor days

As an author, you have the opportunity to visit the trade fair on the trade visitor days. The halls are emptier, the contact persons at the stands have time for you and your book, and do not get lost in the crowd. If it is possible for you, you should therefore stay at the fair on weekdays. Tip of the trade fair preparation Checklist: Simply accredit yourself as a trade visitor at the book fairs and enjoy empty halls and events without annoying waiting.

10. Follow-up

Every trade fair preparation also includes a follow-up. Have you made any new contacts? Good! Contact them shortly after the fair to be remembered. In addition, structure your ideas and start planning the implementation. Do you have your own blog? Then let your readers share your experiences and experiences of the fair.