Pub Rants

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

Tagged London Book Fair

Update Potpourri

STATUS: Today I worked on finishing a contract (pre-new boilerplates) which did conclude. I really tackled emails in my inbox as well. Now I just have to tackle the slew of royalty statements we get in April.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? GREETINGS TO THE NEW BRUNETTE by Billy Brag

Today is a little potpourri of things.

1. Penguin Australia issued a more formal apology for Cookbook misprint. Sounds like a PR person got a hold of the situation. Grin.

2. Foreign rights co-agent did not make it to London (as you probably have already guessed). On the upside, perhaps more folks will come to BEA at the end of May. As you can imagine, reports from the LBF floor have been quiet. Great for the folks who did make it there though. Will the lack of a robust LBF deter foreign sales? Well, nothing beats conveying enthusiasm for a title in person so that’s the downside for sure. On the whole, I don’t think so. It will be hard to have the “big book of the fair” but I imagine most sales will get done via email and phone.

I don’t envy their journey home…

3. Business has resumed in Poland. We’ve been careful about waiting but today we got emails from folks in that territory so we felt comfortable resuming communication, negotiations, etc.

4. In watching Deal Lunch for the last couple of months, I’m starting to see quite a few more sales listed than I have in the past months. This is a good sign as I take it to mean that editors are starting to get back to buying.


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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