Friday, 13 September 2013

Frankfurt Book Fair: behind-the-scenes

Team Templar thought it might be time to give you a bit of an insight into what the editorial department do – and where better to start than with the work we do to prepare for a book fair?

Part of my job as Junior Editor is to co-ordinate the editorial push towards each fair, so right now it's all-systems-go for the Frankfurt Book Fair taking place in early October. This is the world's biggest book fair, and it's a valuable opportunity for Templar's sales team and creative director to meet foreign publishers to discuss buying and selling book rights.
Meetings at last year's Frankfurt Book Fair

As such, there's a massive in-house effort to prepare the best possible material for our sales team so they can shout about the brilliant books we're producing – nothing makes us happier than when we know the hard work of our talented authors and illustrators is being enjoyed by children around the world.

Preparation begins months beforehand, as we start to tie down the list of titles that we'll be taking to sell. If the books are already underway, then all that's left to do is to carry on putting it together – but if it's a new project, then development work by authors and illustrators needs to start, editors put together book plans, production controllers start discussing prices with printers and designers start thinking about cover designs.

At the end of August, things really start to hot up. I build a document known as 'Frankfurt in 5 Minutes', in which editors cram their books' specification, content, schedule, RRP, publication date and cover into a tiny entry. About 200 books go to the fair, and we arm our sales team with as much information as possible in just 20 A4 pages.

'Fair in 5' documents going back years...

That document is invaluable to sales team when they're out at the fair, but it's also used in-house during 'Show and Tells'. Here, the creative, production and sales teams all squeeze into the boardroom for day-long meetings in which editors and designers show the sales guys the amazing books we're developing. Hearing about the books straight from the people who are putting them together means that the sales team go away fired with enthusiasm, knowing why we decided each book was so brilliant it needed to be published.

I also ensure the editors are busy producing advance information sheets, known as 'AIs'. These A4 sheets are sent out to prospective foreign publishers, as well as bookshops in the UK, to tell them all about our upcoming programme. They're filled with details about the books, the authors and illustrators, how they can order and what the books look like. Last book fair, we created 208 AIs in four weeks – phew.

Hard at work on AIs

 After hundreds of AIs, tens of file uploads to iPads, 3 Show & Tells, and one lorry filled with our sales material, we wave farewell to the sales team and head to the pub! However, at the moment, that feels like a distant dream. Yesterday was our first Show & Tell for this fair, and it went really well. Still, there are two more to go, 150 AIs left to create and about half of 'Frankfurt in 5 Minutes' still to go. In that case, I best be off...

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