Bologna Children’s Book Fair *tips*


^ Sarah replenishing her business cards on the ‘illustrators’ wall’

Before leaving for Bologna I read up on a couple of blog posts by other illustrators for tips (I found quite a few tips and links on Laura Wood’s blog). They really helped me prepare, so I thought it’d share mine here as well:

  • If you’re planning on getting a two-day pass for the fair, I’d recommend going on Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday is good for putting your stuff on the ‘illustrators’ walls’ (though that said, all my posters had disappeared by Tuesday!), but publishers are so busy on Monday they won’t have any time for illustrators. Quite a few publishes were seeing illustrators’ portfolios on Tuesday and Wednesday.


  • I read this elsewhere and it’s so true: you can’t bring enough promo material. Like I said my four posters had been torn off the wall by Wednesday (glad to know one of them was an art director at Oxford University Press!), and I wish I had brought more to replace them. I brought 750 postcards, that I left on the floor at the bottom of the illustrators’ walls and they were all gone by Wednesday. Sarah had a great little fold-out (A3 to A6) sheet with a few examples of her work and a little bit about herself, for handing out, which looked great went down very well.


  • Don’t rely on getting a taxi to the Fiera, it was a nightmare to book them. There is a free shuttle bus service to the city centre at the end of the day, which was very convenient. When you’re leaving the Fiera look out for the sign on the right.


  • After all the publishers’ parties had ended place to be seemed to be  Swinebar (Via Righi Augusto, 24), at least for the UK/Irish contingent there.


  • A lovely illustrator we met, Kim Clements, told us she had entered the illustrators exhibition, didn’t get selected but did receive a free 4-day pass to the fair (worth €70). So if you’re planning on going that alone might be worth the effort of entering.


  • If you’re based in or near London the London Book Fair, which takes place three weeks later, is a good place for following up on leads picked up in Bologna. The children’s book section is pretty quiet in London. And if you’re a student (or look like one…) you can get in for free.

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