Today was the third and last day of London Book Fair. *weepy noises* Having been out late two evenings in a row, I decided to be kind to myself and just go along in the afternoon. I was helping out at BookCareers’ ‘career clinic’, and looking forward to doing so for 2.5-3hours.
Unfortunately, I’d gotten a little complacent with timings to get there, setting off later than planned. Coupled with traffic on the bus to Richmond, I was running late, so quickly got an Uber to get to Olympia.
Once I’d got there everything was pretty much set up, and the ‘advisors’ themselves were arriving. My duty for the day was time-keeper and bell-ringer, the idea being to ring a bell every 5 minutes to keep advisors aware of the time, so that as many of the visitors as possible got to sit down with them, if they wished. It was a good idea – though I did find myself just ringing the bell and mildly annoying whoever happened to be nearby when I did so. It certainly lightened the mood, though! I also wandered about making sure the advisors had enough water in their bottles – it was warm in the room, especially when it was full of people and eager conversation.
The energy in the room was great, and I did my best – between time-keeping and bell-ringing – to mingle with those who’d come along. Like yesterday, today’s was a nice crowd. I’m seeing a theme here… Interestingly, I saw just 3 guys during the course of the whole afternoon, again highlighting the gender disparity at entry-level in the publishing world.
I was also able to speak to a couple of the publishers and recruitment consultants towards the end when it got a little less busy; I recognised a couple of the latter from Twitter, and one of yesterday’s panels, respectively.
Aside from feeling good about helping out, the main reasons for offering to volunteer was just to mingle and meet likeminded others, like yesterday’s socialising in the Cumberland Arms pub after the Fair. It was interesting to chill with the other volunteers, too – turns out that we were all trying to get into publishing. Others I spoke to over the course of the afternoon (attendees and volunteers) had work experience/placements/interviews and such already; though I’ve only just starte dgetting my CV ready and sending off applications, meeting others has actually – rather than make me nervous – inspired me to ride the momentum/boost in energy to be more proactive. A couple of deadlines fall next week, so I’d best get my act together! It was so nice to connect with others, and make more potential friends and Twitter friends.
Last year, apparently everyone was told to leave the Olympia building at 5pm sharp. This year, it wasn’t until after 5.30pm that we were warned that the doors were about to be locked, so we’d best leave.
I carried on talking to one of the volunteers as we walked together to Baron’s Court; it turns out she also writes stories, and has actually written a series which seems nearly ready, but for some editing. I hope she publishes these and gets them out in the world one way or another.
A fitting way to end what’s been a really great 3 days, leaving me with energy, inspiration, self-belief and excitement… with some nerves in there too. “I wonder what we’ll be up to this time next year” I mused out loud to another volunteer just as we were looking around one last time and leaving.
I guess we shall see.
✏ Written: Friday, 13th April 2018 @ 1.56pm