Three pieces of advice for your time at the Bologna Children's Book Fair:

Three pieces of advice for your time at the Bologna Children's Book Fair:

Here are my three pieces of advice for your time at the Bologna Children's Book Fair:

Following my first-ever visit to the Bologna Children's Book Fair, I wanted to share some advice: BCBF is a mecca for children's book writers, illustrators and publishers. As a designer and illustrator, I was fortunate to attend this year's fair as part of the team of Green Bean Books, helping them with design and art direction for social media, and photography. While it was a last-minute decision, the experience was invaluable, and I've come away with some excellent advice for anyone looking to make the trip next year.

First, the vibe in Bologna in early April is tough to beat—sunny warmth, world-class food and wine, and a city overflowing with incredible children's book art and talent. It's truly a feast for the senses and creative soul.

However, as unique as it was, I did have some challenges that were easily avoided with proper preparation. So, for those looking to get the most out of next year's fair, here are my top tips:

Prepare Well in Advance

  • To avoid last-minute stress, have your portfolio pieces, business cards, postcards, dummy books, etc. printed and ready weeks beforehand.
  • Book your accommodation as early as possible when rates are lower and availability is better.

      Travel with Friends/Colleagues

      • It's much more fun and enriching to experience the fair as part of a group
      • You'll make industry connections more easily
      • Group dinners and downtime are more enjoyable with familiar faces

        Apply for Exhibitions/Portfolio Reviews

        • Many exhibitions, competitions and reviews are happening - apply early
        • Prepare something special for the Illustrators Wall to stand out
        • Research publishers attending to identify potential meetings

          The energy, creativity, and connections at Bologna are unmatched. While chasing down printers for my postcards at the last minute caused some stress, just being immersed in that world of children's book art and storytelling was an incredible experience.

          By planning, leveraging your network, and putting your best work forward, you'll be primed to take full advantage of everything the fair offers. The Italian setting, food and culture alone are worth the trip, but coupled with the professional opportunities, Bologna is a must-visit for anyone in this field.

          I can't wait to attend again, prepared to soak it all in. Arrivederci Bologna!

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