By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Your Recollections Are WelcomeAs we anticipate Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s (October 18 to 22) 75th iteration, Publishing Perspectives has asked literary agents to provide us with some “LitAg Moments”—some of their memories from their experience in and around the trade show’s Literary Agents and Scouts Center.
Today (September 28), we have a couple of these recollections, as we continue to gather them for use both here in our daily edition and in our Frankfurt Show Magazine.
Everyone, by the way, is invited to drop us a quick note about a memory, especially with a photo. Call them your “Frankfurt Moments,” big or small, significant or silly. More about this is below, at the end of this quick sample.
Anna Soler-Pont: ‘The Rest Is History’
“My very first Frankfurt Book Fair was in 1992, when we had no cell phones, no emails, no social media, and no laptops, because they simply didn’t exist. I haven’t missed a single fair since then, so it’s quite difficult to highlight just one ‘Big LitAg moment.’
“I like to remember when in 2011, from the very first minute inside the LitAg, I was approached by various Spanish publishers to whom I had submitted The Invisible Guardian by the then unknown Spanish author Dolores Redondo just before flying to Frankfurt.
“By the end of the first fair day, between the corridors and my LitAg table, I had received three offers. The author decided not to go for an auction and to accept the offer from Ediciones Destino/Planeta: ‘Me sharing a catalogue with Stieg Larsson?’ she asked me on the phone when I called her from the LitAg. ‘I want to be there, I don’t care about the money!’
“Over the following days, many scouts and international publishers stopped by our Pontas tables to get information about the novel, some of them jotting the name of the author down on a small piece of paper, as it seemed like a difficult one to remember at the time. We ended up selling translation rights into 38 languages, and film rights, audiobook, and graphic novel rights followed. The rest is history as they say; the novel continues to be a huge bestseller in Spanish.’
“A quick second ‘Big LitAg Moment’: it was in 2022, when I was given a framed diploma, a bottle of Champagne, and a box of German chocolates for having been registered with a table at the LitAg for 25 years in a row. It was actually my 31st time at the Frankfurt Book Fair, because in the first years I was a nomad inside the fairgrounds, using publishers’ stands and all sorts of corners for meetings.”
See below for a programming note about a chance to hear Anna Soler-Pont on the subject of Artificial Intelligence in October at our Publishing Perspectives Forum.
Magalie Delobelle: ‘A Good Time To Celebrate’
From Magalie Delobelle, whose So Far So Good Agency is based in France, we read:
“Frankfurt 2019 was a big one for me both on a personal and professional side.
“So Far So Good Agency’s author David Diop had a magical year: He won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens among many other prestigious awards. (We didn’t know it yet, but he was to be the first French author to win the International Booker Prize.)
“In 2019, I’d sold the rights to his novel to more than 20 countries. Magic! This fair was an important time for me and a good time to celebrate.
“And … I’d just had a baby! My daughter was born in August. As I was breastfeeding her, I planned to travel with her to Frankfurt but in the end it was too short to get her traveling documents in order.
“She stayed home with her dad, and I had to pump milk between appointments at the fair. No room in the LitAg was available to privately pump. I asked and thought it was a shame considering that for sure I wasn’t the only young mother there.
“So I pumped with a machine in the toilets a couple times each day. And each time, it became a surprising bonding time with many female agents and publishers. We connected over breastfeeding machines and their terrible sound—and books.”
Editor’s note: Thanks to Delobelle sharing her experience with us—and her important point about young mothers at Frankfurt—we’ve asked our colleagues and are told that arrangements are in the works: “The Frankfurt Buchmesse staff is hoping to offer further alternatives. If you’re in need of a space close to the LitAg, please approach the staff at the front desk.”
Send us your favorite “LitAg Moments” or “Frankfurt Moments“: The world largest international book industry’s trade show is in its 75th iteration, and we’d like to hear about a moment that stands out for you in your “Frankfurt memory.”
Drop your text and a photo of yourself–and a pertinent Frankfurt image, if you like–to firstname.lastname@example.org .
A programming note: On Frankfurt Thursday at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22), be sure to join us in our Publishing Perspectives Forum at 12 p.m. for a special session, “The State of AI in Publishing Today,” in which Anna Soler-Pont will be one of our speakers. We’ll look at where things stand on so many fronts affecting the book publishing industry. Thomas Cox, managing director of Oxford’s Arq Works will moderate a panel featuring Soler-Pont and:
- Christoph Bläsi, professor for book studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
- Nadim Sadek, founding and CEO of Shimmr AI, United Kingdom
As last year, the PP Forum is set in the bright, tree-lined Room Spektrum on Level 2 of the Messe Frankfurt Congress Center. More on the Forum and its programming is here, with information on our speakers and their appearances.
More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on international rights trading is here. More on the work of literary agents is here, and more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.