Why I am not going to the London Book Fair this year | Laxmi Hariharan
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Why I am not going to the London Book Fair this year

I’ve got a ticket to the London Book Fair, but decided not to go this year. For a couple of reasons

a. A lot of the fair itself seems to focus on marketing, branding, building author profile, and industry trends. All of which is wonderful to know, but I find myself drawn more to the ‘art and craft’ of writing. Don’t get me wrong. I was at the fair last year and listened to some wonderful discussions especially from amazingly talented authors. The Mexican authors in particular stood out because of their ‘authenticity’. Still uncorrupted by the West is the phrase that comes to mind in their regard. So, yes I’d love to hear from more of the authors this year, and about their process and what inspires them. But at the back of my mind all I can think about is the unfinished books I am working on and the deadlines I have to meet.

The way I see it

One evening = 2000 – 3000 words if I am lucky.

And that feels more precious to me right now than listening to other authors speak about their process. Perhaps it’s because I’ve found my process. One where once I find that ‘groove’ I need to grab it and keep going and get the book done. And right now I don’t want to deviate from that.

b. I made a promise to myself a while ago. I wouldn’t force myself to be at a place I didn’t want to be at. If that makes sense. And I want to be here at my desk writing. So I am.

c. I am trying to hit a personal deadline best. Read: a mad endeavour to break my own record. When it’s done I’ll tell you what it is. But the last few months have been a ‘try’ and ‘trial’ process for me. Try to complete short stories, to experiment with writing rhythms, try on a few different styles and slightly different genres, learn to dial up the ‘me’ factor  in my writingbwhile still ticking genre tropes … that kind of stuff. And part of it I am finding is, the more I write, the better I get at it. The more confident I feel about my craft, the more fearless I am with my characters. This is the feeling I keep looking for. The one where I know I have progressed further at my craft. So I am going to stay in and you know, write.

d. I really want to meet my fellow authors especially the ALLi team who I have been in touch with and gotten to know the past year. But the talk when we meet is going to invariably circle back to sell more books. And I am conscious that I need more ‘books’ first.  A bigger, stronger deeper back list so I have more to sell. So, yeah, I am gonna stay back and write.

I’d actually wanted to just do it, not go and not say anything to anyone. I mean what’s the big deal after all. But felt compelled to at least put it down as a blog. Perhaps so I can look at it next year and see how far I’ve come. Perhaps.


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