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And she points at this huge wall with MY FACE ON IT!

have finally realised at the age of 29 that just being myself is the way forward in life. Not like I thought I had to be someone else but I guess I wasn't sure whether to be my authentic self. I am loud, funny and opinionated and in an industry like publishing, sometimes I feel like I have to tone it down but since winning Trailblazers and being invited to so many events and getting the best opportunities, I realised that my work and my personality is what people are taking a shine too.

The biggest lesson I've learnt? I thought I knew what being busy meant...until I started a publishing house.

Being at The London Book Fair as a speaker and an exhibitor - both for the first time - was amazing. I felt so valued. I felt what I had to say and how I thought was important. We had back to back meetings and our main goal was to find a colour printing company for Hashtag, which we did. But what was so fascinating is companies we had approached as we were setting up Hashtag, who were like whatever to us, at LBF they were contacting US, wanting to work with US. Look what God can do.

I got to be on a panel for the first time and I loved it! I was so nervous though. My hand kept shaking as I went to drink a cup of water.  It was the Trailblazer Panel and the room was packed out! People were sitting on the floor. We were all like “I have no idea what these questions mean!” Honestly the ladies that I was with had like minded opinions as me. We had a great talk about diversity, and you know how I can bang on about that for ages. There was an agent who said that she had some diverse books come her way and she didn't know what to do with it. I was so stumped. I will never understand why people need to box Black and Asian writers and unless their books are about race, hair, religion, gang crime it's not 'sellable.' Such bullshit. I said bullshit during the panel and this girl at the front gasped looool.

I discovered I was allowed into the The Club at The Ivy. It was pretty much the only area that had seats. I went up to reception and said, “I'm a Trailblazer winner, can I come in?”
This lovely black lady said she would find out for me. I had no idea what it was like inside but all I knew was I had been walking around for hours and wanted to sit my arse down. She came back and said yes! Result! Then she gave me a high five and said, “Yes girl!” Needless to say I was the only black person inside. So I'm sitting in The Club and reading a magazine and then see my face!

I basically spent the whole week going out every night. Talk about work hard, play hard. I went to the CAMEO Awards and met JoJo Moyes! We were even matching! Helen couldn't come and she loves her so I made sure I got a pic with her which was very cool.

The next night, I went to The International Excellence Awards. I walked in and was in the cue to tick off my name and the lady with the clipboard said, “You're Abiola.”
Confused, I said, “Yeah that's me.” Also thinking how does she know my name?
She says, “You need to go and sign in on the other side because you're nominated.”
Now I'm really confused. Nominated for what?! I didn't get an email!
So I go to the other side and turns out I'm not nominated for anything lol but everyone seemed to know me which was weird. Then I met a lady called Emma from Cassava Republic Publishing and she says, “You're on the wall.” And she points at this huge wall with MY FACE ON IT!

Overall it was an amazing experience. Defo the best LBF I've gone too. Hopefully I'll be on more panels in the future.

I've sent my 3rd book out to agents who have requested it so fingers crossed. My title is Beats, Love and high top trainers. I got my inspiration from Angus, Thongs and Full frontal snogging. This book took me a while to get right but I love it now. I hope everyone else does.

We have some new classes with The Author School! Check out an An Afternoon with The Author School happening in July. Early bird tickets only £45

Didn't Avengers Infinity War have the longest credits in history? There was the most annoying boy at the cinema that keep pointing out things AFTER it happens. Come on, if you hear African drumming, obvs they are going to Wakanda. This genius says, “Yes! They're going to Wakanda,” when the screen blatantly shows they are now in Wakanda. I just looked at his girlfriend like this is who you chose?

I went to the Book Society dinner in Bond Street. I wasn't sure what to expect but I actually had a good time. It was my last prize from Trailblazer Panel. The host was announcing who were peoples special guests and I was David's who works for Book Brunch. People are elegantly placing their hand up when their name is called and I'm doing a raise the roof hand gesture. But the cool thing I was asked to be on the committee for Book Brunch! How cool is that?

The Originals and Hashtag Press party went so well! It even got featured in The Bookseller and a mention of the comp was in In The Moment magazine.
It was so cool meeting most of the kids that are in the book and just speaking to their families, shows me that it was well worth doing. It was so cute, cause I could over hear the kids being like, “My story is on page 72.”
And that cake though. Me and Helen were running around so Zarah kept us some cake. She put aside loads, so I said to give more out. This is BEFORE I tasted it.
Zarah: Are you sure?
Me: Yeah, I don't want to carry around all the cake
I have a bite of the cake. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!
Me: Where's the cake?
Zarah: I gave it away—you told me too!
Me (trying not to cry): It was before I tasted it!
So I just ate the crumbs left over on the cake stand.

BEYONCE. Mother of 3. 2 hour show. That is all.

Follow me on Instagram @abiolabello

If you haven't read my Emily Knight series - first of all that is poor behaviour and second of all here is the link
You're welcome :)


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