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How Should the Frankfurt Book Fair Incorporate Self-Published Authors?

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

Visitors at the Frankfurt Book Fair

BookExpo America has gone a long way toward embracing self-published writers. On the eve of the Expo the Javits center played host to UPublishU, a day-long conference for self-published writers. And there was no shortage of self-published outliers telling their stories on panels and in other presentations. London too featured several notable indie authors. So, with the grand daddy of all book fairs — the Frankfurt Book Fair — looming next on the global publishing calendar, how should the event work to include self-published and indie authors into the mix? What type of events would you like to see? Foreign rights meet-and-greets with publishers and agents? A pitch slam for global authors? And, if there were enough events on the agenda, would you indie author, come?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted June 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Frankfurt is primarily a rights fair and one of the few things that indies can’t do for ourselves is sell translation rights. It now time for good rights agents to link in with indies, to mutual benefit. In the Alliance of Independent Authors, we’re working on making that happen.

  2. Posted June 20, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for self publish

  3. Posted June 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m a self-published author and I’m definitely going this time. But I have special reason.

    I’m a New Zealander and it’s our country’s year to be Country of Honour at the fair.
    Because this special status for NZ, our NZ Society of Authors has collected a group of New-Zealand books together after putting them through a selection process. They selected forty books to showcase our NZ literature and as it happens about half of those are by self-published authors and one of them is my own book, Ripple. So going to this fair is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for me.

    We must pay our own way of course. From this far away it’s no trifle. But still, many of the other authors on the list will be at the fair with me.

    The NZSA did not discriminate against the SPs as some countries might have done. They selected on merit and suitability. That’s the important thing.
    Because they are already in a “chosen group,” publishers at the fair, may show interest in those SP books. We don’t know, but we’ll find out. Many of the NZers whose books are on the list are currently working hard to get their books noticed by the publishing industry prior to the fair.

    Perhaps literary associations from other countries could do something similar in any year, regardless of being the country of honour or not. As long as the SPs are included and not discriminated against, it will be for the benefit of literature and the reading public.

  4. Posted June 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Well put by Tui Allen. I too have two books – How To Stop Your Kids Going Broke, and Get Out Of My Pocket which have been selected by the New Zealand Society of Authors. They have both been self published. Another book of mine the New Zealand Household Budget Kit was also submitted for selection which was published by a ‘regular’ publisher. This book was not chosen because the Society thought it was more suited to a ‘local’ New Zealand market.

  5. Posted June 21, 2012 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    I am another self-published NZ author attending the Frankfurt Buchmesse this year. Again, I can thank the New Zealand Society of Authors for not discriminating against SPs and selecting my debut novel for representation.

    In all fairness, the folk at the Frankfurt Buchmesse have also been very kind and accommodating. Because I have already taken a huge risk and paid for my own translation, they are going to present the German version of The Spanish Helmet in their special collection of translated NZ literature.

    It is unfortunate that we SP authors are otherwise all but ignored. The German version of my novel is currently the best-selling NZ book on Amazon.de, yet when press releases discussing the fair are made, only established trad pubbed authors are mentioned or invited to interview and(or reading sessions.

    For me, the most beneficial thing that could happen at the fair is for a German (or other foreign rights agent) to want to pick up the rights for the market. So in answer to your original question, a foreign rights exchange (pitching sessions) for self-pubbed authors would be by far the best addition to to the fair.

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