Pub Rants

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

Frankfurt–Day After And Then Some

STATUS: Went to Frankfurt with a cold. Had the cold during all of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Brought the cold home with me. Truly, I like to hang on to things.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? SHE’S NO LADY by Lyle Lovett

I figured blog readers would get a kick out of this. Agents Agents! As far as the eye can see… Kind of like Water Water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Jamie Ford, who was there at the Fair meeting with his many foreign publishers, said it looked like a sweat shop and wondered where the sewing machines were. Rather apt.

It’s definitely not romantic in any way shape or form. Agents sit down with scouts, territory co-agents, and editors to highlight frontlist titles as well as nice selling backlist titles that are available for translation sales. It’s not unusual for a rights person to have 12 to 18 appointments in a day, back-to-back, and in thirty minute intervals. Lunch is often optional.

And Frankfurt is not London, Paris, or Rome (not to offend any German blog readers!) but the downtown area is probably the least charming European city I’ve been to. I imagine outside of the city centre there are lots of nice spots but considering what was available within walking distance of the hotel, it was slim pickings.

To offset the rather bland Frankfurt, a day trip to Heidelberg was in order! From Left: Jamie Ford, Me, Luceinne Diver (also a client of mine) and Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.


8 Responses

  1. Eric Riback said:

    Frankfurt is a great place to…change planes. But I did like being in the millieu of the Book Fair for the years I was there. If you have the energy for going around town in the evening, Sachsenhausen is fun.

  2. rictheturtleryan said:

    Yes Heidelberg is neat. Two of my daughters were born there. They have a fireworks display monthly in the summer called the burning of they castle or they used to. Basing a visit to Germany on seeing Frankfurt is like standing in the middle of a forest and saying you saw the forest. You did but not really…Hope you made some friends and contacts out of it all.

  3. Elissa M said:

    I’m glad you got out and about. My birth certificate says Heidelberg, though I was actually born on the Autobahn. As both an Army brat and spouse, I have spent more than a few years of my life in Germany, so perhaps I am biased when I say there are plenty of charming and romantic places there. On the other hand, I would not put downtown Frankfurt on that list, either.

  4. Cecelia said:

    Frankfurt – I went there on a business trip, alone, about 15 years ago. I hated every minute of it. Worse city I ever visited in my life.

  5. Suilan said:

    I’ve only been to Frankfurt twice and I didn’t find the city particularly ugly. (Perhaps because I had a great time there, meeting some old friends and making new ones?) It’s a perfectly ordinary city where people go about their ordinary lives. It certainly isn’t picturesque in that tourist-attracting way some other cities have, but “picturesque” can be a real hassle if all you want is go about your daily business. Try going to Uni in Heidelberg and you’ll know what I mean. (Must have been great in the 19th century…) Or live and work in Heidelberg near the city centre where from spring till autumn, there’s one street festival after the other and more tourists than residents. Some days, it’s just insane. If I ever had to choose between living in Heidelberg and living in Frankfurt, I’d choose the latter.

  6. Jonathan Dalar said:

    Next time, try to get down to Bayern and visit Munich and the surrounding towns. A lot more picturesque and colorful. The Alps are breathtaking, and the countryside and little villages are truly a great experience.

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