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Frankfurt Book Fair Building Entrance

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2008 Frankfurt Book Fair - An Author's Tale

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At the Ingram International Booth
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Armin Pongs, author of "Krokofil" and Me
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Ulrich Holbein author of "Narratorium" and Me at the Ammann Verlag booth
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Olaf Lenk , guitarrist from program"Rock Hero" and Me

 

For the last four years I have been blessed with the opportunity of attending the world largest and most prestigious book fair, The Frankfurt Book Fair. But before I share with you this year wonderful experiences there, I would like to give you some basic information about the city of Frankfurt and the history of the fair.

Frankfurt is known worldwide as a cosmopolitan city due to its great variety of businesses and services. You will find many national and international banks as well as the headquarters of the German Federal Bank, the European Central Bank, and the German Stock Exchange. The Frankfurt airport is the second largest in Europe and its main train station is Germany's busiest, with over 350,000 travelers per day.

While visiting this city for business or pleasure, take time to enjoy some fine dining and to drink the famous Frankfurt Apple Wine or Cider. This beverage is served in a blue-grey crockery jug, Bembel and drunk from a slightly ribbed glass.

The “Frankfurt Messe” or trade fair is home to many exhibitions throughout the year. This complex has 475,000 square meters of exhibition space divided in 10 large halls. Frankfurts most popular fairs are the International Automotive Exhibition (IAA) and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is visited every year by thousands of people from all over the world. There are over 2,000 activities to choose from such as readings, discussions, exhibitions, TV, films, games for youths, and audio books. Besides the 10 different exhibition halls inside, there are tents outside with a great variety of products and activities.

The fair is open to the general public only during the weekend. During the week, only trade exhibitors, the media, and trade visitors are allowed in.

As a published writer, I was considered a trade visitor and allowed to attend the fair during the week. Before buying my ticket online, I had to register and provide proof of authenticity by sending a copy of my book to the fair committee. After registration, I received an email confirming the registration and was assigned a password to login and buy the ticket. I paid only 20€ for my ticket, a 10€ discount because I purchased in advance. I received another email with instructions how to download the ticket and print it from the convenience of my own home. And now with tickets in hand, I was ready to go!


For the last two years I attended the fair as “general public” and enjoyed a day of quality time with my sons. This year, however, I attended the fair with a mission: "to find a German publisher willing to publish my poetry book, The Window To My Soul, My Walk With Jesus, in German."


In prepation for my quest, I updated my business cards and printed plenty of them. I prepared an information package including my bio, three poems of the book translated into German and some basic facts about the book written both in English and in German, and a copy of my book. I went to train station early in the morning with my trusty and loyal roller and my leather briefcase.


In the train ride from Letmathe to Essen, I found a local journalist friend of mine. We talked about his new job, my expectations at the fair, and other topics of general interest. In the city of Essen we departed separates ways. I needed to go catch the next train going to Frankfurt while he needed to go to work. During the trip from Essen to Frankfurt I wrote an author's interview for my site “Time with Tannia” and rested my eyes a little.


I arrived at Frankfurt Am Main train station at about 11:00 am. From there it was about a 15 minutes walk from the train station to the fair building. This served me as a morning warm-up and prepared my legs and my body for the day work-out-walking around in the fair.


The trade fair building was huge! Before entering the building, I saw many tents outside with a variety of products such as antiques books and other rare and hard-to-find printed items. There were also reading tents, games tents, and food tents just to mention a few.


At the fair my ticket was scanned and I was given a map with description of what to find on each hall and where to find the halls. After that, I was officially a Visitor Guest at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

First, I went to Hall 8.0 where all the international publishers are located and the spoken language is English. There I visited my friend Bryan at the Ingram International booth. This is a yearly ritual. We catch up on each others adventures, exchanged ideas, and he took a picture of me at their booth to make my visit official.


After my five minutes conversation with Bryan, I went on with my quest!


On my way out from Hall 8.0, I stopped by the ForeWord Magazine and spoke with Whitney Hallberg, Associate Editor-Clarion Editor, and inquired some information about their book reviewers. Since I live in Germany, I needed to email samples of my book reviews for her review and consideration. Then we will talk further about my possibilities of writing book reviews for them.


Per Bryan's recommendation, I went looking for the www.libri.de booth to gather information and seek recommendations about potential publishers interested in my line of work. My quest took me to Hall 4.00. There I talked with a representative of  libri.de who gave me a couple of hints and suggested one publisher. I said “thank you” and the real hunt began.


Unfortunately, I was unable to find the publisher recommended by the rep of libri.de however, God looking in my best interest guided me in the right direction. My first stop was at the “Warner Verlag” booth where I spoke with Andrea Manes, Warner's procurator. I gave her the information package and my business card. I received from her a booklet with information about Warner. I said thank you and continued my quest. Then I found a group of Catholic distributors, publishers, and editors sharing a booth. I spoke with a representative of BV who was unable to help me but recommended three publishers; “Schwaben Verlag”, “Media Maria Verlag”, and “Vier-Türme Verlag”. I thanked him for his time and recommendations.


I went to the “Vier-Türme-Verlag” booth and spoke with one of their representatives. I gave her the information package and my business card. I took her business card and said “thank you.” Then I went to the “Schwaben Verlag” booth and spoke with Andrea Langenbacher, editorial office representative. I gave her the information package and my business card. I took her business card and said “thank you.”


I was unable to speak with a representatives of “Maria Media Verlag” because they were all busy speaking with clients. (Sigh)


After speaking with these representatives, I continued my hunt and searched for other potential publishers in this section. As I was walking around my hunter's keen eye stooped at the “Karin Fischer's Verlag.” sign: “Deutscher Lyrik Verlag.” I was very curious of the word “Lyrik.” So I stopped and spoke with one of the representatives who kindly explained to me it was another way to say “poetry” I thanked her for the explanation and left with her a copy of the information package and my business card. I took with me some basic information about them.


Eureka, Eureka! I found another way to pitch my book. So far the word “poetry” has only got me deaf ears and many rejections. (Sigh) But the word “Lyrik” describe my type of poetry better than the word “Gedichte.” Both words mean “poetry” in English, however, there is a small difference here in Germany. “Lyrik” are poems which can express emotions and in some instances could be sang. “Gedichte” are poems expressing emotions but no musical value. Hurray, hurray, I found my egg of Columbus!

Thanks God all these representatives spoke English. Hall 4.0 was a real blessing for me. I thanked God for His mercy.


My hunt was over. So I decided to relax and enjoy the rest of the day at the fair. Nah, I had a new quest “finding goodies for Josef's birthday party.” My new quest took me down to Hall 3.0-Children and Youth.


There I found, Armin Pongs, author of the German children's book series, "Das Krokofil" (http://www.krokofil.de/). He gave me a signed copy of his latest book as a birthday gift for Josef. We also took a picture together. He was very nice.

I continued my “goodies” hunt and went around looking for giveaways for 13 children. God provided for me once again. I successfully got bookmarks, notepads, calendars, rubber balls, and a children's devotional book. Needless to say, my roller was getting heavy and space availability started to become a problem. Thanks goodness for my weekly workouts! (Smile).


Wondering around I came to the “Ammann Verlag” booth where I met Ulrich Holbein, author of “Narratorium.”  I was allowed to take two pictures of him. One alone and the second one with me. Even though he looks odd, he is really nice and funny, too. I already sent him a copy of our picture together, as per his request. Yeap, I have his email address, but I am not allowed to share it with others. Sorry, guys!!!!.

I was getting the hang of this hall. It was full of authors, goodies givers, and performers, too. Olaf Lenk, (www.olaflenk.com)
the guitarrist behind the program "Rock Hero" was also there. He entertained the audience by playing some of the songs in the program. Then he took a break and that is when I went to him and asked if we could take a picture together. He graciously accepted. I told him that my brother was a professional musician and director of a school rock band who played this program with his students very often. He was happy to hear that.

After all the adventures and successes, it was time to return home. The building of the Frankfurt Book Fair is located about 15 mins walking distance from the Frankfurt Am Main train station. Needless to say, me and another stamped of attendees were fast walking to catch our trains. I made it to my train about 5 minutes before departure time. I even found a sit besides a quiet and grumpy old man.

The ride home was interesting. I talked with a lady seating in front of me. During our conversation I mentioned I was a published author. Suddenly, the passengers seating near by us and my grumpy neighbor, too, turned their heads toward us and started to listen to our conversation. Yeap, we spoke in German! She asked about my nationality and my adventures at the fair. Then before she departed she said: "Tell me your name so I look for your poetry book in German and buy it." So I gave her my name and said: "Danke" (Thank you in German).

When the train arrived at Siegen where I need to change trains, it was not as crowded as when it left Frankfurt. The ride from Siegen to Letmathe was very relaxing. I made it home about 10:00 pm. I was tired, hungry, but happy of my accomplishments.

My visit at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday, October 16, 2008 was a real success. I thanked God for his mighty help and for traveling mercies during the fair!

I encourage you to come to Germany and participate on the Frankfurt Book Fair and enjoy all that the city has to offer. The experience will change the way you look at book fairs.


For more information about the book fair go to: www.book-fair.com

Children's Fantasy Story

Time with Tannia is a Christian website. 
All material copyrighted 2007,  Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopes