Ask Me Anything: The Guest Edition

After the Bologna Children's Book Fair, I started getting a lot of questions asking about the Fair and about what was hot and what wasn't etc.

Well, I didn't go this year. Last year and the year before, I was lucky enough to go and see this (among other things).

This year, that honor went to Joanna Volpe and Jess Dallow. So to answer all the questions, I have the fabulous Jess Dallow, reporting here on the goings on in Italy:

Hi everyone!

I'm Jess. I'm both a literary assistant here at New Leaf, as well as the foreign rights assistant. Since Suzie didn't attend Bologna this year, she asked me to write up a little something so everyone can have an idea of what happens at these fairs.

This was my first full year in foreign, therefore it was also my first time at the Bologna Book Fair. I heard a lot of things before going, mainly how great it was, and it definitely did not disappoint! Joanna and I got there a few days early and spent some time acclimating to the time change (it definitely did not help that we had to go through the European time change - once is enough, thank you!) There were publishing parties, lots of delicious food, and since I had never been to Italy I got to experience some of it while also meeting a ton of new people in publishing that I didn't know beforehand.

Then Monday rolled around and it was time for the fair to start. The best way to describe it is to imagine a huge, huge warehouse filled with booths, people, and books. Publishers from around the world had their stations set up with information about their books, as well as copies so people could leaf through them. There was walls that filled with illustrations from people and by the end of day three it was art upon art upon art. All the agents were upstairs at the Agents' Centre where rows of tables were set up . Some agencies had one, some had two (New Leaf did so that way we could take double the amount of meetings.) That is where I spent my 8 hours a day, every half hour filled with a meeting (minus lunch and a break which was necessary since they took away our bathrooms!) It was really cool to see which books agents brought to represent their clients and it was fun to leaf through them on our breaks.

The overall mood was great. Everyone was excited to be there, the weather was gorgeous, and it was one of those things where you could tell that everyone genuinely loved their jobs. Even with the long hours, everyone was high energy and buzzing with excitement. Publishers seemed to be looking for less fantasy this year and more contemporary. While fantasy is still working both in the US and overseas, because publishers have bought a ton of it in previous years, they are now looking to change things up a bit. That's not to say some fantasy wasn't a hit, but I definitely got more requests for contemporary.

There were no big books of the fair this year, but in light of the way our world is excitedly changing, transgender stories seem to be up and coming. New Leaf has a transgender novel that got a lot of attention, as did some of the other ones at the fair. But other than that, there wasn't one thing getting a ton of attention over another!

All in all, it was a really great fair and I can't wait to go back next year!

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1 comment:

Larsen said...

Thanks for sharing! I admit, I wasn't sure what the fair was, either. What an exciting experience to be introduced to story after story. Overwhelming, too, I can imagine!