Pub Rants

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

Tagged Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Why Bring An Author to Bologna?

STATUS: Still time to sign up to learn how to craft the perfect pitch paragraph for your query letter. The video webinar is tomorrow, Thursday, March 28 at 6 pm MST. It should be a blast to give.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ONLY A MEMORY by Smithereens

In general, the whole purpose of Bologna Children’s Book Fair is to pitch your rights list to scouts and foreign publishers in order to generate interest in upcoming titles so as to promote foreign sales. And I certainly did a lot of that while there but for the most part, I have a foreign co-agent who handles that on our agency’s behalf.

So what’s Frankfurt or Bologna all about when I visit a Fair with a client in tow? It’s about face-time. It’s about making the foreign publisher feel like an important part of an author’s career. It’s about marketing dollars and inspiring the foreign editor to choose our clients’ books if it’s a choice between two.

1) Foreign editors rarely get to meet the authors for whom they are translating. It may or may not translate into more sales but I know from experience that a foreign publisher who has met an author in person is more likely to do a promotional push for that title in translation.

2) Those meetings give us valuable information that we might not hear otherwise (or not hear in a timely fashion). Marie Lu’s German publisher is making LEGEND their big lead title for fall and sponsoring a German tour! Would this have happened without a Bologna visit? Certainly (as we would have been looped in eventually) but now we are in the know months earlier and can actively help them. Also, they are 10 times more excited to have this big push after we had a lovely sit-down dinner with them and relayed all the latest promo news while in Bologna. We’ve confirmed they are making the right decision.

3) Targeting a Fair allows an author client to make stops in other nearby countries. When Simone decided to come to Bologna with me this year, she was invited by her French publisher to stop in Paris to participate in a book festival there. Her publisher warned her that maybe 25 or 35 people might show for the signing. Imagine everyone’s surprise when more than 200 people came and Simone had a signing line more than 2 hours long! You think her French publisher is going to be paying closer attention to her next release? You betcha. Nothing inspires publishers more than seeing first hand fan enthusiasm for an author.

4) Finding out early that an author is selling like mad in a territory. (ie. The Perfect Chemistry Series is going gangbusters in Germany).

Other benefits of Fair participation include getting the latest gossip about what has sold recently. About what might be hot next. And simply connecting with the UK editors whom I don’t see as often. It gives an agent a global perspective of what works–not only in the US but around the world. Or maybe even more importantly, what doesn’t work in other territories.

Does that shade what I might take on next in the US? To some extent but it’s certainly not the end all be all in making a decision to offer representation but it is part of the big picture.

More pics from 2012 Bologna!

Marie Lu and me in Agent Centre

Simone with her editor Katrin (on left) and her Publisher Suzanne (Random House Germany)

Marie’s Bologna dinner with her US, German, and UK publishers!

Simone & Kristin in Venice! Rumor has it that if you kiss under a bridge while riding in a gondola, you’ll have good luck all year. I told Simone that even though I was a full service agent, that’s where I draw the line. *grin*


2012 Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Next Hot Thing?

STATUS: Meetings every half hour and running on 6 hours of sleep a night on average. Yep, that’s Bologna!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? I PUT A SPELL ON YOU by Bryan Ferry

Three days at Bologna and here’s what I can tell you.

On the plane over, people were talking about the next hot trend being about geeks in young adult fiction. Geeks transforming. Geeks not transforming but still winning the girl or the day. Geeks in love.

Do I think it’s the next hot trend? I haven’t got the faintest idea.

It’s definitely clear that foreign editors are feeling the drain of paranormal romance in YA being hot for so long but even with that, they say it’s still selling well in Germany, UK, and France. Editors don’t seem to be buying a lot of it at the moment though.

Since I’m here with Marie Lu to meet with her very excited foreign publishers (the trilogy has been sold in to 22 territories and counting), we are, of course, asking if dystopian is hot abroad.

The verdict is undecided. HUNGER GAMES fever is definitely sweeping the world but whether that will translate into other dystopian novels also becoming hot has yet to be proven. Well, I’ve got my fingers crossed for June and Day…

Hands down, for middle grade DAIRY OF A WIMPY KID works amazingly in every country but Russia. Guess they like big burly guys instead of wimps?

*grin*

Some pics!

Anita and I at entrance of the Fair.

Me with Sara’s amazing client Stefan Bachmann and the brand spanking new cover for his wonderful middle grade gothic steam punk: The Peculiar

Marie Lu and her Taiwan Publisher Sharp Point! Marie was a rock star. She did the whole meeting in Chinese. (Marie is second person from right.)

Marie and I in the Penguin Bologna Stand.


Bologna Children’s Book Fair Pics (Take 3)

STATUS: All I can think about is getting another 9 hours of sleep. . .

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment

Last of the Bologna Pics! Enjoy. I’ll get back to topics soon—once I’ve fully recovered.


Gelato! The only way to take a break during the Bologna Book Fair! Here Ally Carter and I indulge with Tim for Brilliance Audio and Marisa from Bolinda Audio Down Under.

Ally and Sarah Rees take a moment to pose during the NLA dinner. It was definitely the best restaurant I went to while in the city. The name cannot be revealed or Agent Barry will hunt me down…
Probably the coolest part of the trip was going to a signing outside of the Fair set up by Ally’s Italian publisher De Agostini.. Here we are standing in front of Kinder College outside the city. The school was gorgeous–an old monastery that overlooked the Bologna Valley and city centre.

Ally Carter takes some questions from a very enthusiastic audience. And language was not a barrier. These Italian kids knew their English! They had also read I’d Tell You I Love You before our arrival and had lots of questions.

Ally with the whole crew!

Ally’s Italian publisher also had her pop by BoLibri–the book festival that was going on in downtown Bologna at the same time as the fair. It’s a way to allow the public to interact more with all the events going on at the fair. Here she sits on an Alice in Wonderland type chair to sign book copies.

A couple of kids participating in a reading nearby recognized Ally and raced over to get their books signed. Almost famous!

Ally wasn’t the only author at the BoLibri festival. Here she is with author Kristin Cashore (Graceling). As for me, I’m predisposed to like Kristin as she spells her name correctly. Grin. Not 15 minutes later we got to watch Ms. Cashore’s prowess with a sword. Good thing BoLibri didn’t make Ally do something similar like rappel over a wall to demonstrate a Gallagher Girl move. Watching Kristin, it looked like hard work!


Bologna Children’s Book Fair Pics (Take 2)

STATUS: Fighting the flu. Kristin—0 Flu—10 I’m getting my you-know-what kicked.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? NOTION by Kings of Leon

As you can imagine, the first week back in the office after being gone for 2 weeks is a bit chaotic. In fact, today I didn’t even make it there thanks to being sick. I really had no desire to pass this lovely illness on to Anita or Sara. If I don’t have a fever tomorrow, maybe I’ll go in but I’m thinking it will be more like Wednesday.

As promised (since blogger is no longer acting up) I can finally share pics from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair so you can get a visual—a little snippet of what it was like to be there. Besides, this is all my brain is capable of doing at the moment.


Here I am sitting at my table in the Agents Center. Behind me is Riley Ellis from 20th Century Fox Studios.


Out to dinner. Author and Agent comraderie! Starting from left: me, clients Sarah Rees Brennan and Ally Carter. Next to Ally is Cassandra Clare’s husband Josh, Cassie Clare, Maureen Johnson and her agent Kate Testerman. Cassie’s agent Barry Goldblatt is taking the picture.


Jamie Ford’s HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, an Italian bestseller, in the front window of the main bookstore in Bologna. That was so cool to see in person.

In the Agents Centre. From left: me, Irene Calpe of Versatil Spain. Next to her is Sarah Rees Brennan. Irene is Sarah’s Spanish editor for THE DEMON’S LEXICON. Standing next to her is Consuela, Editorial Director of Versatil.

More pics tomorrow!


Bologna Chilren’s Book Fair Pics

I have a lot of pics I’d love to upload to blogger but I’m thinking they might be having trouble with the site as pics are taking forever to upload and then not showing up on the page.

This will have to wait for another day…


Bologna Children’s Book Fair—Days 2 Thru 4

STATUS: Currently sitting on a terrace in Florence and drinking wine.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

I’m back!

A bad internet connection at my hotel made any daily blogging difficult. I actually tried popping up to press room one afternoon as it had been rumored there was free internet there. Alas, that was not so. I’m also on vacation this coming week so I’m going to post a bunch of entries today to get you through the week.

Bologna in a Wrap Up.

1. The “big” book of the fair was a middle grade fantasy called EMERALD ATLAS. From the buzz I heard, there was a large auction in the US for the title at the same time a lot of foreign publishers decided to kick in some good money as well.

On the whole, this was seen as a positive sign that middle grade could make a little resurgence soon as sales have been slow in this arena—despite a lot of editors looking for good MG material.

2. Almost all foreign editors expressed some fatigue in vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, and all things paranormal. Despite that, these titles were still selling like crazy in their territories so I’m not sure what to tell you. I actually got a lot of interest in my fun vampire books as they are a bit different but on the whole, foreign editors weren’t jumping on things paranormal unless it was a ‘big” book.

3. YA is still hot.

4. Foreign editors love Ally Carter. She seems to be the one non-paranormal author who works well abroad. We just found out she is a bestseller in Brazil. How fun is that?

There it is in a nutshell really.


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