From David Gaughran:
The most prestigious event in the UK publishing calendar, the London Book Fair, welcomes predatory operators with open arms, deliberately positions them opposite author events for extra cash, and then helps to whitewash their reputation – even running misleading interviews and puff pieces on its own website to help them get more leads.
I’ve been campaigning against vanity presses and author exploitation for five years now, and one thing that became apparent is the key role of book fairs and industry events in this mess.
Vanity presses are always keen to appear at these events because it:
- lends their seamy enterprise an air of legitimacy to inexperienced authors who don’t know better;
- gives them direct access to a pool of newbie authors attending the events; and,
- creates an opportunity to sell various products to their users such as book signing services and book display packages costing thousands of dollars.
. . . .
I called the London Book Fair this morning posing as a potential exhibitor called Arthur Kerr (sorry, couldn’t help it). Actually, the person I dealt with so nice and helpful that I felt terrible for the subterfuge, but I needed to establish some key points:
- It costs more to exhibit near the Author HQ, especially directly opposite same.
- Part of the deal (costing several thousand pounds) is a marketing package which includes “lead generation” – marketing speak for “we will deliver even more authors into your clutches.”
- No vetting whatsoever is done of exhibitors – even those who explicitly state they are engaged in author services and wish to take a stand directly opposite Author HQ. There were more questions about how many chairs I would like than what my “company” actually did (a big fat zero on the latter).
You might have guessed all of this already, but it was good to get it confirmed: the London Book Fair has absolutely no problem with exploitative author services being positioned where most writers will congregate.
Link to the rest at Let’s Be Digital
Here’s a link to David Gaughran’s books. If you like what an author has written, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.