Ah…. the glamorous life of a literary agent. On this last Friday I had breakfast in Dublin, lunch in London, and dinner in America (with many thanks to mcurry for providing said dinner as I was completely incoherent after 18 hours of travel door-to-door, hotel-to-home). I feel so international, and not just because I just confirmed a deal for Japanese rights to one book and have offers from a German publisher for a book and from a French publisher for three books currently pending. You know, translation rights were not an area in which I got a lot of action during the first few years I was agenting, but lately it has really ramped up. I guess that might be one of the break-out points for agents, when your reputation and that of your list reaches the level where foreign publishers hear of you. And it seems like it’s a domino sort of effect. I know writers have cycles of motion and plateaus in their careers, so I guess it’s not surprising that agents have them as well.
So, I was in London for the London Book Fair (LBF) — my first one. I’ve been to BookExpoAmerica (BEA) and this was pretty similar. One spends a lot of time in the international rights center having meeting after meeting with foreign publishers and agents who handle translation rights. I actually got one of those above-referenced offers during one of those meetings. Usually they just ask you to send various things and talk about general trends in their countries (for instance, SF/F does very well in the Czech Republic but not so well in Norway). In between those meetings, one dashes out onto the general exhibition floor where there is booth after booth from publishers. Idea shopping. And, what’s that word for free stuff? LBF is a lot more international than BEA, which has almost entirely North American exhibitors. And for some reason, the floors of these halls are always made of concrete. After a few hours, and it takes many to traverse the whole thing, this becomes very noticeable. Ouch. I took some pictures, but I have an ancient camera that actually uses film, so it will be some time before I can share them with anyone.
After the Fair, I took a quick side trip to Dublin to meet up with famous author C.E. Murphy aka Cate Dermody, whom I had never met in person before. I still have a handful of clients I have yet to meet, but I’m working on that. It’s much easier if they gather in one place (like a conference) and I can target them simultaneously. Anyway, we had a great time, including absolutely marvelous Irish stew, a visit to Dublinia (a display about medieval Dublin) and Christ Church Cathedral, pounding the streets looking for trad CDs, eating out at the Elephant and Castle (where the slab of Stilton they put under my burger was at least an inch and a half thick), and what turned into a very entertaining Scottish floor show at pub near my hotel. I had planned to visit Sheridan’s in honor of jaylake, but ran out of time, so I guess I’ll have to go back someday. Darn.
I slept for a lot of the weekend, but I don’t think the jet-lag actually caught up with me until yesterday. That was alright since I spent most of it sorting through mail, both virtual and otherwise. And now I am going to spend the rest of my morning putting together packages to go to my foreign reps with copies of books and reports about my meetings. And maybe I’ll fit in the domestic marketing as well. See you later….