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Rights Fair Preparations

So, as I’ve been twittering lately, later this week I head to NYC, and then on to Italy for the Bologna Book Fair. And while, yes, it’s Italy in the Spring, with all the good food, great scenery, nice weather and such that that implies, but it’s also a lot of work. Work I’m looking forward to — don’t get me wrong, but work nonetheless.

And since I’ve been whinging lately about everything I need to do, I thought I’d share some of that with you, to give you a sense of what happens at the fair.

First of all, over the last few weeks I’ve been putting together my rights list, which contains pages on each of the books I’ll be featuring at the fair and talking about with foreign publishers. This doesn’t include all of my titles, but does have a page or more on recent releases (like Evermore by Alyson Noel) and upcoming titles (like Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French and Powerless by Matthew Cody). Because many scouts read deal reports on Publishers Lunch, I’ve also got a page for my recent deal for Hunted by Sara Beitia, though that book has a Fall 2010 pub date. Each page contains an image of the cover (where available), an author photo, a brief description of the book, an author bio, contact information for translation or dramatic rights, and any other necessary pieces of information to help make a sale. For The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem, for instance, I included an excerpt from the starred Kirkus review and an icon indicating it had been picked by the Junior Library Guild. For Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson, there’s also reviews and information for Suite Scarlett and Let It Snow. Evermore‘s page includes a burst celebrating it as a #1 New York Times bestseller, as well as a growing list of international sales.

So, that went out a couple of weeks ago to scouts and my subagents, but there’s still updates to be made. Eventually (as in, before I leave on Thursday, but probably not too much before), I will take the file to my nearby Kinko’s and have it printed out in full-color to put in a binder I can use for show and tell in my meetings in Italy.

Because I don’t want the editors I’m meeting with to spend too much time looking down or reading the material I’ve prepared, I’ve also put together a powerpoint presentation with three or four bullet points on each title, so they can see the cover of each book, get the most pertinent details, and we can have more of a conversation about them.

Then, I printed out all my submission logs so I can see where a title has sold or been submitted, hoping that I’ll have my computer with me most of the time, but knowing sometimes it’s easier to just have the information I need on a piece of paper right in front of me, rather than having to look it up each time. I’ve also got a status report on all of my titles, an extra thick stack of business cards to give away, and a brand new little notebook to make notes on all my meetings.

Again, though I’ll have them all with me on my computer, I’ve also got submission copies of the manuscripts that are ready to send out on a little 2GB flash drive. i know some of my colleagues bring CDs with teasers of manuscripts or even fulls to give out to people they’re meeting with — I’m hoping to do most of my followup when I get home, although the flash drive gives me the opportunity to get something to someone right away if need be.

There’s always the hope of a fast, frantic sale happening at a fair, though that’s less likely in today’s internet age. But still — a girl can dream!

Tomorrow, a little bit about what my days at the fair will look like. Unless you have specific questions about what goes on in Bologna?

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