The London Book Fair was held April 16th to 18th this year. After 16 meetings with scouts, co-agents and editors–where we talked about what was going on in their markets and where I pitched our clients’ books–we got a great sense of what was going on in the international market and what was working domestically and abroad.
Themes of the fair:
Big books are getting bigger
With the midlist shrinking companies are investing in the big books. Books by authors with a track record of success and authors that have a strong following. With book stores shrinking their book space (and filling it with lifestyle items) the books that are picked up by book buyers have to garner major attention. It’s a tough reality for debuts, but debuts have a chance to really break out and shine in this focused environment.
Authors need to be comfortable developing online communities and social platforms
As agents and industry professionals constantly tell aspiring writers an online platform is no longer a choice, it’s a must. With smaller marketing budgets writers need to develop their own communities to help spread the word about their book. So a comfortability with Twitter, Facebook, Good Reads and other sites like Pinterest are important and something editors look for debut writers to have.
YA market is still very active
That being said, there is great dystopian and paranormal fatigue. The YA market is strong abroad and places like Brazil rely on YA romances to crossover as that’s what their readers are looking for.
Platforms and personality sell non fiction
Unless you have a very specific fresh new angle, fun and personable voice, or controversial subject matter it’s platform that sells non fiction. Big non fiction in the UK is no longer about celeb titles but super celeb titles that houses get behind and expect to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.
Crime, thriller, and women’s fiction are the biggest international fiction categories
A steady market internationally is crime and thrillers. This is being looked at by every territory. Women’s fiction is a bit more particular in that a film deal will push foreign editors to acquire, it can’t be ‘too American’ in that the message won’t translate, and it’s a fine balance in certain territories between how literary versus how commercial the women’s fiction is, but overall international readers are still buying these types of genre fiction.
What did I take away from the fair?
The fair always helps to tune my interests and get prepared for how to sell fiction that works domestically in international markets. As always I’m looking for: upmarket women’s fiction, literary thrillers, YA fiction, commercial literary fiction, and platform based non fiction. I’m always on the hunt for great new voices in fiction! So query me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be posting more in depth about the themes of the fair in the coming days. Any questions about the fair?