And I did hear of illustrators making deals at the fair. One creator was there to finalize a contract with her publisher over a deal that had been worked out before-hand. My friend Julie was busy selling foreign rights to her book, which had been traditionally published, but the house had sadly closed. Another illustrator had been coming for years - an editor recognized her and set up time to talk to her after the fair. So yes, deals were being made. I had several lovely conversations with editors - yes, even in the notoriously long lines for the bathroom, which is where I hear a lot of deals end up getting made! That will be hilarious if anything comes of those. Overall though, I'm not sure the fair is something you need to do if you have an agent - if you already have an 'in' with the publishing houses. I got the impression that the fair was a main resource for Italian or European illustrators, who don't have representation elsewhere.
That said, the sheer volume of competition was completely overwhelming, unnerving, intimidating and educational. There was a ton of TALENT there but it was so varied - even in the Illustration Showcase. Styles were all over the place. Boris, Catherine and I tried to make the best of it.
Read all of my Bologna Blog wrap-ups at:
1. Bologna Children’s Book Fair!
2. Bologna – the Arrival
3. Beautiful Bologna
4. Sidewalks of Bologna
5. The Bologna Book Fair
6. The Illustrators’ Wall at the Bologna Childen’s Book Fair
7. SCBWI in Bologna
8. The Post Book Fair Fall Apart
9. Closing thoughts and out n’ about in Bologna