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Saturday, 9 October 2010

Book Fairs

I spent Thursday and Friday on a stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair. This is held annually at the Messe Centre in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany and is the world's largest Book Fair. Believe me, it is huge. It occupies eight large Halls and six of these are multistorey. The site itself is so large it has moving walkways and a bus service.

These Fairs are really bunfights for the publishers and the insiders of the industry, authors are, one gets the distinct impression, an unfortunate necessity. As at the London Book Fair, the publishers don't want to talk to you if you are not accompanied by an agent or are one of their "best sellers." The agents for their part don't want to talk to you unless you've made an appointment at least six months in advance and even then it depends on whether they are actually interested in anything you have written. It is all about selling the books they have already got in production and not about finding any new talent or products.

This Fair was very interesting because I met several other authors like myself, in that interesting limbo of trying to sell their work and being already published in various fields. Why were we there at all? Quite simply because we were all on the books of a company that is trying to sell the publishing 'rights' to our work into countries and languages that we are not currently sold to. In that regard we may well - at least some of us - have been lucky. Certainly there were several enquiries from Indian Publishers for my work and that of a couple of others.

It was useful as well, because I learned a great deal and got several leads to follow up, so while it isn't about authors, it is certainly a useful experience. Now I'd better get back t selling my work the hard way...

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