29 Oct #2SeasEuroTour Fall 2015 Part 5
Back in California, 230 Meetings Later
By Marleen Seegers – first posted in October 2015.
From September 14 – October 18 2015, I met with publishers, agents and scouts in Munich, Amsterdam, Paris and at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Dutch publishing magazine Boekblad asked me to write a weekly blog during this 5-week European publishing tour. Below article is based on my fifth blog that covered my stay in Paris.
Translated from the Dutch by Sara Palmbush.
After having flown into Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon and treating myself to a day of rest on Monday, I am sitting happily behind my computer at 4 am on Tuesday morning—I always need at least a week to recover from the 9-hour time difference. Luckily, I have less trouble with the difference in temperature. After the cold and rainy week in Frankfurt I am enjoying the California sun and the accompanying 25º Celsius!
The follow-up to my Frankfurt meetings begins well; I immediately receive bids from publishers that I saw in the last week. Hendrik Groen finally wins over Denmark—the last Scandinavian country where Attempts to Make Something of Life hadn’t yet been sold—thanks to a lovely pre-empt from People’s Press, which brings the number of foreign sales to 23 countries.
Meetings like these make my work as a foreign rights agent extra special, and confirm that personal meetings are essential. The long trips that I take twice each year are a challenge both physically and mentally—this time I had 230 meetings in five weeks and in four different cities—but it is all entirely worth it.
2 Seas Agency is based in Ojai, a small town that lies south of Santa Barbara and therefore, far away from all the publishing hubs. Together with the frequent travel, this distance makes it easier for me to see the bigger picture, along with what being an agency means. That’s how during this 5-week European tour I decided to make some changes in our staff. Chrysothemis, who has been an intern up to now and who did an impressive job in Frankfurt, will be staying on as a Junior Agent to help support me with the sales of the non-English language titles in our catalog. Besides her native Greek she also speaks fluent English, French and Portuguese—and we are working on her Dutch! Melody, who has been working on contracts and other administrative tasks, will in addition help me with the sales of English-language titles.
My impressions of the international publishing scene this time were clearly more positive than in the recent past. The European publishing industry is on the upswing once again. Despite the cautiousness that I felt here and there I saw many nice, new initiatives and the impression that people once again liked what they were doing. In a month I fly to Mexico to learn more about the Latin-American book market during the Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara. I’m curious about what I will experience there!