Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Uscita body experiences and gelato at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the largest trade event for the children’s book industry and draws thousands of editors and agents from all over the world who are there to buy and sell foreign rights and film/merchandising rights.

To say the book fair is huge and overwhelming is like saying that book with the boy wizard sold a few copies. There were four conference halls (the size of airplane hangers) and the conference atrium.

After the first day at the fair, when I went to leave, it took me 45 minutes to find the exit (I won’t elaborate on how much of that was due to the fact that I didn’t know the Italian word for exit was Uscita.) At one point I thought I was having an out of body experience that was cured by a slab of pizza followed by a chaser of gelato.

Author Rhiannon Lassiter (author of sci-fi, fantasy, and thriller books for y/a and adults - and generally a fun person to share a bottle of Prosecco with) took lots of pictures and gave a run down of her experience at the fair on her blog.

Here are a couple of shots of the contact wall where writers/illustrators posted their contact information.

Along with all the buying and selling of foreign rights, there was the SCBWI booth where they celebrated their (40th) anniversary, awards for illustrators, and lots of networking. Angela Cerrito took lots of pics of the action at the SCBWI booth and you can see them on her blog.

After attending the fair I look at branding in a whole new way. I have a feeling from the moment the editorial/marketing department gets a hold of your manuscript they are thinking about how it will translate into an international brand that can transcend languages and culture to be truly global. Think the Happy Face icon, think the boy wizard, think Garfield, think Twilight. Hey wait a minute … are you thinking what I’m thinking? Vampire kittens! That could be the next biggest thing in international branding!

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