Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

International Events Impact Foreign Rights Sales

STATUS: TGIF although I’m working this weekend at the Missouri Writers Guild Conference in St. Louis. If you live in town, maybe I’ll see you there.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CHERRY BOMB by John Mellencamp

Here in the United States, we are often insulated from world news but events of the past two weeks have had a huge impact on publishing in the international arena. Even as US agents, we have to be aware and sensitive to all that is going on abroad.

Case in point, Post-Bologna, we were negotiating some new foreign rights deals when the huge tragedy in Poland hit the newswires. Immediately, we put everything on hold in that territory (and there was a lot going on!). The whole country is in mourning. Now is not the time.

And then this past Wednesday, a Volcano erupts in Iceland. Probably just a blip on your radar until one realizes that most transatlantic flights crossover Iceland to get to Europe and the London Book Fair is supposed to start next week. LBF is not as big as Frankfurt for translation deals but it’s big enough. According to the Fair officials, they plan to stay on schedule despite the near impossibility it will be for people to actually reach London in time for the fair.

Of all the things that could disrupt travel to an international event, I can’t imagine any agent had “volcanic ash” on the list for travel interruptions. All I can say is that as much as I love being in London, I’m glad I had no plans to be at the fair this year as I was just in Bologna. This is not true of our foreign rights co-agent who I know was en route. I’m trying to find out if she made it there or not.

I really want next week to be a quiet one in terms of news items…

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11 Responses

  1. Joseph L. Selby said:

    A friend of mine was on the way home to Germany, and the person in front of him got the last seat on the train. They’re saying that the next available seating is Tuesday the 20th!

  2. Matthew Rush said:

    It is interesting how such a strange natural occurrence can have such an impact on travel and other industries.

    I lived in Seattle when Mt. St. Helens erupted and I was just a babe but I remember stories from my parents and older friends about how strange it was.

    There is obviously the visibility factor but I didn’t realize until hearing NPR’s coverage that a volcanic ash cloud can actually take a plane’s engines down.

    Thanks for sharing Kristin!

    Today’s guest blogger is Rachel Alpine!

  3. Natalie Aguirre said:

    You are so right. When we’re not affected, we tend not to realize the impact of events. But, these certainly have impacted on so many people’s lives and it’s not even done.

  4. Veronica Blade said:

    I wanted to say thank you for having all this great data available to us. I’d been trying to figure out how to fix my query letter but after reading your sample queries (and your dissection of each), I was inspired. I now have one I am happy with. Your agency has already passed on my ms, unfortunately, but at least I still have a chance elsewhere. Thanks again!!! You freakin’ rock!!!

  5. Snakebit said:

    Yes, I had a book on the block at London. Will I have to wait another whole year now? Have I lost my chance completely? Or will people find other ways to contact each other?

  6. Gilbert J. Avila said:

    The only “Cherry Bomb” I know of was sung by Cherie Currie of The Runaways. Is there any footage of Mellencamp on stage wearing a white corset?

    I rewatched “Supervolcano” on DVD for the fourth time. Sort of a worst-case scenario.

  7. Ebony McKenna. said:

    I was in the UK the week before and was soooo grateful my plane a) landed safely and b) made it out several days before the kjllekklkskkoolololokjkj volcano blew its top.

    Makes me all the more thankful I live in Australia. We’re a bit insulated form the rest of the world down here. New Zealand acted as a buffer for us with the Chilean earthquake/tsunami as well.

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