Friday, October 15, 2010

Europe/ UK/ Ireland Tour: Frankfurt Book Fair & Postcard to a Stranger

After the Great Cookie Debacle, it was on to Frankfurt itself. One hour after suffering the loss of the Cookies (capitalized to show my respect and mourning), I was in my hotel room outside of Frankfurt. The room was gorgeous and lush, and it only took me one hour of being in Germany to get a lesson on how Americans were seen in other countries.

PUBLICIST: Do you like your hotel room?
ME: It’s fantastic!
PUBLICIST: I asked them for a bigger TV, but that was the biggest they had.
ME: Haha!
PUBLICIST: *is not joking*
ME: . . . really?
PUBLICIST: I figured that you were American and would be used to a bigger TV.

After I assured her that I was fine with the 24” TV and she assured me that she only wanted me to be happy (and I was, I loved my German publishing team) it was down to business. Germany was the first non-English speaking country in my tour (well, technically non-English speaking) so I was a little nervous. But it worked perfectly well -- most Germans spoke at least a little English (and by a little, I mean: better than I do) and I remembered enough German from my college days to follow most conversations.

Insert sigh of relief.

First thing in the morning we had the Frankfurt Book Fair. Frankfurt Book Fair is a huge rights fair -- publishers come from all over the world to meet and buy the rights for books in other languages. I had meetings every half hour with foreign publishers, interviewers, and folks from my German publishing house. I had been to Bologna Book Fair (also a rights fair, but only for children’s books), so I thought I was prepared. But no. No, I wasn’t. Frankfurt was nine times larger than Bologna, with nine halls and hundreds of thousands of people.

So, several times larger than my home town.

I’m slightly biased, but I thought my German publishers, Loewe, had the nicest booth. It had a second floor, which I have to tell you is pretty swanky, and you could see the whole of Hall 3 from the top of it. They also had a little section in the booth just for their Script 5 imprint, and look who was featured prominently in it? Oh yes, that would be NACH DEM SOMMER (The German SHIVER).

I have to admit I was worried about my translated events at the Fair. Because 1) what if no one showed up? and 2) What if my humor didn’t translate? If you take away my humor in my presentations, there’s pretty much nothing left.

Well . . . there were so many people stuffed on the second floor of the booth that they wouldn’t let more people up lest the booth collapse and crush the beautiful Script 5 display below. And you know who came to my events, both times? Blog readers. Twitter followers. Facebook friends. THANK YOU for that! I can’t quite tell you what it’s like to be 3,500 miles away from your home country and have people who know you from your blog introduce themselves. God bless the internet. (I still don’t know if anybody understood me, but they all laughed at the right times.)

Okay, what’s also kind of weird? To have your German publishers take you out for dinner and to run into both your American publishers and your Israeli publishers at the same restaurant.

PUBLICIST: Well, that’s because you have so many foreign publishers, it’s bound to happen.

Lesson learned. If you have 32 foreign publishers in one city, you are bound to end up at the same Italian restaurant* as at least two of them. 

Anyway, after three long days in Frankfurt -- can I tell you how odd it is to be in a country where everybody pronounces your last name correctly? -- it was time to fly to Berlin for the last event in Germany. I thought the Frankfurt Airport was an excellent place to drop my next post card to a stranger. Judith (who is so terribly fun that I’m a little sad we live 3,500 miles away from each other) from Loewe is helpfully modeling where I left it at an airport cafe table.

And here’s what it said.

Now I must go. There is a Lithuanian man singing outside my hotel window and I have to find out why this is.

*I have now eaten Italian food in every single country on my tour except for Ireland. I can’t tell you how odd it feels to be sitting in an Italian restaurant in, say, the Netherlands.


Danny said...

I'm so glad you had a great time!

It was wonderful seeing you at the Bookfair and it was worth carrying all the heavy books from Munich to Frankfurt to get them signed ...

It was unfortunately really crowded so I was all in the back, but again it was wonderful seeing you there.

Thanks again for taking the time to sign each book and even took your time to smile in my phone for a photo!

(And ... I understood you quite perfectly, although it could have been a lill louder...))

BenCracknell said...

All of your posts and descrptions on your forgien tour are phenomenal. I think I'll be Forever (haha, get it?) dissapointed that I didn't get to come see you when you were in the UK. I will make it an utmost priority to come and see you again, if and when you do another UK tour. Now that you're reaaaally big, and reaaaally famous, I think you should implore your publicists to allow you to visit more towns. Agreed?

Pleasure as always!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Very cool post, Maggie!

Anonymous said...

I really have to thank you that you signed my Shiver. My best fried brought it with her to the bok fair and I was SO afraid they would only allow you to sign one copy, because she wrote me an SMS and told me, that -at that moment- she had already been standing in the queue for one hour. Still I'm sad I didn't get to see you and couldn't tell you how much I love The Wolves of Mercy Falls personally.

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