Four Weeks: Frankfurt Book Fair Preparation from a Foreign Rights perspective

In four weeks the first wave of Agents will be flying out to Frankfurt for the Frankfurt Book Fair. Gulp.

In actual fact, we started the preparation for FBF way before today – I received the first request for a meeting on 16 June! We spend the large part of the summer filling up our schedules – one meeting every half an hour from 9:00 – 18:00 Wednesday to Friday at the Fair, then the pre-Fair meetings at the Hessischer Hof on Monday and Tuesday.

As we have so many agents attending the Fair, it is important to be strategic and plan who should meet with whom. For example, the Book Agents will want to meet with editors who publish their authors. The Foreign Rights team will meet with publishers from their territories, and we’ll always try to meet with new publishers as often as possible. After months of scheduling for 6 agents, by 14 September we are left with a beautifully busy schedule. Some could almost say a work of art. Or maybe that’s just me.

This year our summer was filled with a particularly exciting project – our shiny new Rights Guide which is now unveiled on our website. ‘H-Amazing Hattie’ (there’s no synonym for amazing beginning with H, who knew?) took charge, but collectively we all worked together to create something that will incite awe, and envy, but most importantly help us sell our books to publishers.

Sometimes we have to make cut-throat decisions: we want to make sure each and every author gets the best possible attention, but timing is crucial and sometimes that means holding off from including their book for this Fair.  Every book has its Fair, and sometimes discussing a book before it’s been delivered, or sold in the UK can scupper its chances selling internationally.

So much work and thought goes into each and every meeting and having the right tools at hand is vital! 

by the Blake Friedmann foreign rights team