Lynsey on Preparing for the Frankfurt Book Fair

As the AMACOM team prepares for its trip to Frankfurt, Rights and International Sales Associate Lynsey Major shares what she’s learned about the fair from previous visits.

Logo for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012The Frankfurt Book Fair is a place to see old friends and long-time clients; a time to make new contacts; an opportunity to make major deals; and an event that showcases publishers’ upcoming 2013 titles and the best of the backlist.

Tall office buildings in the Bankenviertel, the financial district in Frankfurt, Germany

The Bankenviertel, the financial district in Frankfurt, Germany. Their equivalent of Wall Street.

I will be part of the contingent representing AMACOM at the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF) this year. Even though this is my second time attending the FBF, I am even more excited this year than last because I know how much potential the fair holds and how wonderful Germany’s cities and people are.

If you are also new to the FBF, here are some things you should know:

Get Ready

    • Book appointments early. AMACOM’s Director of Rights and International Sales, Therese Mausser, had her first meeting request months ago. These requests seem to arrive earlier and earlier every year. So, good luck if you want to make an appointment come October, since so many agents and publishers are completely booked. That said; still send us your requests so you can be included in our catalog mailings. Or, stop by the booth for a chat. AMACOM is in Hall 8, Booth # J-929.
    • In addition to ordering furniture and shipping books, we’ve been working hard preparing for our meetings: reviewing submission reports, sending out publicity and sales sheets, and working on catalog copy. Limited face-time means most of the work goes on behind the scenes, and preparation is everything.
AMACOM employee Lynsey Majors at the Frankfurt Book Fair, wearing a red coat, in Frankfurt, Germany

Lynsey Major, dressed for changeable Frankfurt weather .

  • Pack in layers, as the weather this time of year is unpredictable. Last year, I was fine in a jacket on Monday and wound up in scarves and a wool hat by Sunday.
  • Bring an umbrella and rain jacket. The extra quarter-pound of baggage is worth staying dry.
  • Put a nice outfit in your carry-on bag. Yes, it’s an international flight, and you might be giddy with the idea of a free checked bag. But, you don’t want to meet people in the same outfit every day, should the airline lose your checked bag.
  • The FBF is massive. Been to the Brooklyn Book Festival? Think bigger. Been to BEA? Go even bigger. To this end, wear comfortable shoes. There are colleges smaller than the messe. (The German word for fair!) And you want a chance to explore the German hall, which is really lively when it opens to the public on the weekend. You will also want to check out the guest of honor—New Zealand. (Perhaps, the Flight of the Conchords will put in an appearance? A girl can only hope.)
A stone archway of a church in Mainz, Germany, tourist photo

Touring the sights in Mainz.

Once You’re There

  • Your ticket as an exhibitor at the fair is also good for travel on the local train, which means you can head out to Mainz and see Gutenberg’s digs where he invented—arguably publishing’s most revolutionary invention—the printing press.
  • Get out of your comfort zone food-wise. I’m not particularly carnivorous but thought the schnitzel with eggs was amazing.
  • Take a tour of the city. I can be too self-reliant…until I discovered the joy of tours. You will be less focused on the map in front of you and instead more attuned to the history of the area.
  • Driving on the autobahn is not so bad…it’s driving in the cities that’s terrifying. I will never take a car into Munich again. Luckily, the car, bicyclists, and I survived.

If you have any more suggestions, please let me know, as I’m still a newbie myself and am always looking for good advice.

Thanks, Lynsey!

Related Posts:
Therese on Essential German for the Frankfurt Book Fair
Rosemary’s Countdown to the Frankfurt Book Fair

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