Well everyone, that was why I took a hiatus in October! I was on a work trip to Frankfurt for the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, and wow, was it eye-opening!
At first it seemed unassuming, but I knew better than to trust my eyes because I had already done my homework: this was merely the entrance hall. The rest of the fair were inside, in three separate wings, and with multiple levels, all filled by publishers from around the globe. The world's oldest and largest book fair certainly didn't seem that way on the Tuesday we arrived, when this photo was taken. It felt quietly busy, because everyone was setting up their booths and making sure they had everything they needed. Lots of hammering and drilling and unpacking all over the place.
The event itself was pretty dull, after a whirlwind Wednesday and Thursday packed with meetings with other publishers and distributors. I was there more as an assistant to my publisher, as a writer of educational supplementary material. The fair afforded me a closer look at people in the industry; I must admit I wished I had been pleasantly surprised by them.
Not all was terrible, of course. How could it be, surrounded by books and people who made them? I visited the different halls and absorbed the wide range of literature - translated and non-translated - and wished I had brought my larger suitcase, because there were several books I thought looked fascinating. I also developed a fondness for a food truck's latte macchiato, and miss it right now.
While I did not get to meet any literary agents (they were in the same hall, but entrance to their section was by appointment only), I did have a chance to compare and contrast the book habits of different countries, from design to marketing. Additionally, I was able to listen to some very experienced Singaporean publishers share their views of our local scene from a production and promotion perspective.
At the end of the fair, I had the chance to meet with old friends whom I had not met in over four years. And we were gifted with a delightful present from the heavens: a double rainbow!
On the whole, it was a very educational and fruitful trip for me. I don't know if I want to do that again but it was lovely to be able to say that I was at the Frankfurt Buchmesse 2022. Perhaps the next time I attend, I would be there as an author. Who knows?