Last week, Northbank agents Matthew Cole and Elizabeth Counsell attended the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair). Matthew Cole reports:
Frankfurt Book Fair is the biggest and arguably the most important book fair in the world: a meeting of publishers, editors, agents, readers, authors, and those selling rights or other publishing services. The fair is really many fairs in one, and is befittingly enormous. Stands are arranged across several exhibition halls; each of which would comfortably house an aircraft hangar many times over.
As agents at Northbank, it is a great opportunity to meet foreign editors and talk to them about our upcoming and existing book projects. We learn about what they are publishing and what titles are working for them, and as such it’sa fascinating exchange of ideas, industry gossip -and most importantly, books!
On the whole, non-fiction editors were still uncertain about what the areas for growth were going to be this year. After some bullish years in ‘smart’ non-fiction before the pandemic and then the extra reading time afforded by lockdowns, the future seems uncertain – in many ways reflecting the present economic climate. However, this is a broader issue and editors are still keen to find the next breakout bestseller. I am happy to report there was a huge amount of interest in our titles, which we have followed up on in the days following the fair.
Publishers in a few territories have long complained about competing with English language editions when so many of their population is able and willing to read in English. But this year, reports from publishers across the European continent suggest that the practice is becoming much more widespread; German editors were particularly vocal about the effect cheap British export editions were having on their market. We will continue working with publishers on this to ensure the best results for our clients.
Once the fair recedes from memory, thoughts will turn to London Book Fair, which will take place in March 2024 – another opportunity to meet fellow publishing professionals and sell books.
Matthew Cole is responsible for Northbank’s non-fiction books representation in the UK, US and foreign language markets, including politics, history, science, economics, business, sport, lifestyle and memoir.
Elizabeth Counsell reports:
It was a great fair, packed with meetings and networking with publishing contacts from around the world, and for many, a rare opportunity to meet face to face.
In terms of trends, when it comes to fiction, everyone’s still in love with romantasy. Eighteen months ago, no-one had even heard of romantasy. Now, such was the interest in this new genre at Frankfurt, we expect it to receive its own entry in the OED. It’s so popular that there are brand new imprints across Spain, Germany and beyond purely set up to find and publish new talent in this area. Northbank, of course, has some very exciting YA romantasy of our own coming soon – watch this space.
Editors are also on the look-out for sport romance. There have been some high-profile acquisitions in this new area too – and it’s likely to rev up even more in the next year. There was concern here too about the impact cheap language editions could have. If you’ve written the hot new F1 romance we can’t live without, follow the submissions process on our website.
Elizabeth Counsell is responsible for Northbank’s fiction books representation in the UK, US and foreign language markets, spanning all genres of commercial adult and young adult fiction.