Pub Rants

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

Frankfurt Book Fair – Day 1

STATUS: All last week I was knocked out of commission by a nasty head cold. Winter hasn’t even begun. Like the overachiever I am, just getting it done early.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? MR. JONES by Counting Crows

This week begins the madness that is the Frankfurt Book Fair and guess where yours truly happens to be.

For the last three years, I’ve made a point of attending each of the main book fairs: London, Bologna, and now Frankfurt. I have a foreign rights person so it’s not imperative that I go specifically so you might be wondering why I pursued this goal.

You can’t best support someone who is representing your authors until you’ve seen for yourself what the fairs are all about. It’s helps significantly to prepare the rights and press sheets so that foreign editors can best utilize them if applicable to their markets.

Also, if an editor has bought a lot of your clients, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting simply to connect on a personal level.

For this year’s fair, I have two authors with me: Gail Carriger and Jamie Ford. Both have sold tremendously abroad and have been bestsellers in several other countries besides the US.

So what does one do at Frankfurt? Lots and lots of meetings in the agents’ centre which is about the size of two football fields. And I’m not exaggerating here.

The Fair is so big, it can literally take 30 minutes to walk from an appointment at one hall to another.

To put this in perspective, it only takes me 15 minutes to walk from my hotel to the Fair.

Tonight I attended two parties–one at the German publisher S. Fischer Verlag and the other held by Hachette at the Hessischer Hof.

The Hachette party was so packed, I literally walked in and had to stifle the urge to turn around and walk back out. Elbow to elbow. I thought the chances of my finding anyone for whom I might be looking would be slim but oddly enough, it worked.

The undefinable magic of Frankfurt.


16 Responses

  1. Gracielou said:

    Wow, that sounds like a very crowded but very nice time. Getting to meet, greet, and connect with new and old friends. I hope you enjoyed it. And glad your headcold is over with.

  2. i'm erin. said:

    I’m continually impressed with the NLA. I met Sara earlier this summer at a writing conference in SLC. And I met Anita this last weekend at a conference in Park City.

    I think it’s pretty dang awesome that you’ll go out there for your clients. You rock Kristen!

  3. Kristin Laughtin said:

    I met Gail last year when she was on a panel I moderated, and I imagine it’d be tremendous fun to travel with her even if you didn’t have the awesome book fair to attend.

    I think I understand your reasoning. Sometimes you just need to experience something hands-on for it to help your job best. I work in collection development at a library, and my work really improved once I started doing reference duties as well and got to see how the resources were being used. It made everything more real instead of abstract.

  4. Becky Taylor said:

    I know it’s work…but it sounds like tons of fun too.

    I’ve only been to Frankfurt once (36 hour layover.) Sadly, I was so sick (very first weeks of pregnancy) that I couldn’t leave my hotel at all. Such a bummer.

    But I’ll get back there some day.

  5. Fiona L said:

    So nice to hear from you! Hope your cold gets better. The book fair sounds amazing. *jealous* I hope everyone has lots of fun and get work done.

  6. rictheturtleryan said:

    Germans are true party animals. I spent seven years over there in the Army. Two years on an exhibition parachute team doing the opening ceremonies for beerfests, winefests and air shows. As it is fall, beware of the harvest wine it is wicked stuff. Enjoy yourself. Hope to hear of your adventures. My old wives cure for a head cold is 1000cc of Vitamin C and two tablespoons of honey in my coffee. The vitamin C will dry you out for several hours and the honey I think fights the cold. Works for me anyhow…

  7. Sara said:

    I hope you feel better soon! I swear by EmergenC and using a neti pot – especially after flying, which is just like closeting yourself in a flying box of germs. lol.

    Enjoy Frankfurt!

  8. Danielle said:

    I think you should really count yourself lucky for what you do. You not only get to read the best books just as they’re coming out, but you also get to travel around the world. 🙂 That’s so awesome. (However, this is not to say that your job isn’t demanding, bc I know it is)

  9. Jill Kemerer said:

    Sorry about your cold–it might be a virus. We’ve had a nasty one making the rounds here. Feel better.

    What an amazing time you must be having in Frankfurt! It would be so cool to be there. I’m sure the memories will be priceless!

  10. A. said:

    I love the helpful advice and insider tidbits, but I think your blog could do with out the status updates and current iPod selections. It doesn’t add anything of value and distracts from your writing, which is what I come here to read.

  11. Danielle said:

    I disagree A. I’ve think the status updates and iPod selections are a clever way for Kristen to give her readers a small insight into her life outside of the office – it allows us to connect with her more across the blogosphere in a more personal way, without the ‘tidbits’ taking over. Keep it up!

  12. Kairee Taylor said:

    I disagree with A. as well. While I come here to read about the writing industry and the tips she has, I still like to see what she’s listening to. If I’ve never heard of the song, I put it on through YouTube while I read. I like to research through her blog, but I don’t want to take it too seriously either. Writing is fun! I’m glad she adds an ounce or two of it to her posts.

  13. Amy O. said:

    “Not of value and distracts from the writing,” are you kidding?! NO WAY!!! The status update tidbits and ipod music are totally ‘the setting!’ Come on, it sets the stage for the content in that day’s blog. In my mind I imagine this successful business woman living a busy and hectic, but in some ways glamorous, lifestyle. (Bookfair in Frankfurt? Awesome)! I want to know what the h* she is playing because it keeps my story line going. Come on, we’re Americans, we voyeur. I totally dig it!

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