The 2007 Frankfurt Fair
We came back with contract offers for books in computer software; Eastern thought; graphic novels; highly illustrated titles; history; martial arts; New Age (including sidelines); philosophy; photography; and self-help.
Among this group there were two things of unusual interest.
The interest in books we most often refer to as "coffee table" titles was especial widespread and included books in subjects as diverse as film; history; pop culture; music; art; medicine; and painting.
Business/management books had an excellent fair, too, with a number of rights offers on our stand before the end of the fair.
Fiction titles continued to be of strong interest to other literary agents with whom we work as well as major German publishing houses.
What surprised us most, however, were the subject matter of two of our three most popular fair titles.
Leading the way were books about religious physics (God Does Not Play Dice: The Fulfillment of Einstein's Quest for Law and Order in Nature by David A. Shiang, Open Sesame Productions) and death (Dying Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Stories of Healing and Wisdom Along Life's Journey by William E. Hablitzel, M.D., Sunshine Ridge Publishing).
Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine: Unlocking the Hidden Treasure Behind the Music of Jim Morrison and The Doors written also by David Shiang made an impressive showing as well.
Significantly, both of David's books were still unfinished and available only in manuscript format. God Does Not Play Dice has now appeared in an Indian edition (April 2008) but is still pending U.S. publication. Shortly after receiving and evaluating a reading copy of Bill Hablitzel's Dying following the fair, Random House Germany made a significant offer for German rights to it that we were pleased to accept on Dr. Hablitzel's behalf.
The not-self-evident photo below is of a French papermaking machine, circa 1830, from the Musee Des Arts Et Metiers, Paris.
With the summary of each of our fairs, we post a photo not obviously related to the event. We try through all our work to remember that writing and publishing are not isolated events. Rather, they affect and are affected by a far larger world.
This was certainly true in the late 18th century when paper was still relatively rare and expensive, in spite of a constantly rising demand for it. In 1799, Louis-Nicolas Robert patented his "machine for making very long paper" of which the photo shows a later adaptation. Robert's machine gave printers access to papers of all formats and supported the subsequent, remarkable development of the publishing industry.