Bookfairs are seriously one of my favorite things on Earth. They are like the world's largest book shop but with authors walking around, millions of like-minded booklovers waiting to meet you and fun and educational events. It's every reader's and writer's magic place. And as I am both (plus having worked and planning to work again in the publishing industry) I enjoyed it a lot.
Because I experienced so much during these four amazing days, I'm going to divide my adventures into themes to not overwhelm you too much (though I still feel utterly overwhelmed in a good way).
I only have one semester left before I get my Master's degree and will finish my studies once and for all. Then what? So many people ask me that and I have no clue. What I do have are several vague ideas and as many of them revolve around books, I set out to check out the industry and what's in it for me. And let me tell you, there are so many possibilities!
I went to two networking events, getting to know many people from the industry (both people just starting out like me as well as top notch employees, CEOs and other important people). I collected their contact info and will definitely connect with them. It wasn't all rainbows and butterflies though. The book industry is a tough business, especially if you want to be an editor (in that case good luck - you're gonna need it!). Luckily I'm more interested in marketing and that's an easier career to get in. It's still tough but I'll find my way, wherever it may lead me.
As you may know, I'm not only a passionate reader but also a writer, working on a youth novel at the moment. I'm unpublished so far (well except a short story I won a contest with), so I'm one of the millions of writers who are looking to be published. I went to lectures on writing (which were amazing!) and also on marketing yourself or your book through social media.
The problem is that everyone is a writer nowadays. Classical publishing houses take almost no new authors at all. The chances to be published the traditional way are really, really bad, which I was told again and again at the bookfair. However there are other ways. Many say that traditional publishing is a dying breed anyway and the way to go is to self-publish. Obviously there are many disadventages to taking this route: having to market entirely on your own and being overlooked in the massive amount of self-published books out there are the most important ones. Which is why I will still try to find a publishing house to take on my novel. In the end, I believe that the best thing you can do to get published is to write the very best book you could possibly write. That's what I'm focusing on right now. Improving my writing, making my novel better, finishing it. We'll see how it'll progress after that.
I also attended a blogger event which was really interesting because they discussed many exciting topics and trends in the blogging world and also I met like-minded bloggers and You Tubers. I think it's amazing that everyone can start a blog or a You Tube channel. My goal is to start and establish a German blog solely about writing and reading and after the bookfair I am so motivated!
Of course it wasn't all networking and attending lectures at the bookfair, I also did some things purely because they're fun (but the other stuff was fun, too). Most notably I met my favorite YA author Teri Terry! Her trilogy "Slated" is the best thing out there. Seriously, forget about "The Hunger Games", "Slated" is the best YA distopia I have ever read. I bought another book by her ("Mind Games") and so far it's also amazing. She really knows how to write YA literature.
Also I attended a reading of my favourite German adult Sci Fi author, Andreas Brandhorst. I've only read one book by him so far but it's one of the best books I've ever read, particularily in the Sci Fi genre. His other books were too hard Sci Fi for me, but his new one is right up my alley, so I'm definitely gonna give it a try. He was reading and being interviewed together with Germany's most succesful fantasy author, Wolfgang Hohlbein, who I haven't read anything by yet but my Mum likes his work and she doesn't even like fantasy, so it sounds like it might be up my sleeve. His new book sounds great, too.
Also I met some old and new friends, as well as a famous German You Tuber and of course I spent numerous hours browsing books and being amazed by literature. It's truly magical what a good book can do to you and I'm so grateful for books, reading them as well as writing them. I brought home from the bookfair new contacts, wisdom, lots of inspiration and motivation and so much reading material in form of magazines, extracts and more.