Debra Millar was also a first-timer at the fair, and commented that she is very keen to build on the momentum created at this year’s fair, which was a first for Penguin NZ in a number of years. ‘Every day has been a great success, with some really positive meetings and lots of genuine interest in our list. Just meeting directly with agents and sitting down face to face is so worthwhile.’
Although contracts are not typically signed right on the spot, plenty of handshakes were made across the stand. ‘I haven’t been given any offers, but would say that I have three or four sales in the bag… What Guest of Honour has done is shine a light on New Zealand and made foreign publishers aware that we have books that are relevant and will work in their market.’
Next will come the many follow-up emails and sending of manuscripts and pdfs, and the processing of pages and pages of notes back at the office, said Debra.
Another glowing publisher was Rhonda Kite of digital developer Kiwa Media. Rhonda burst out to declare that this fair ‘certainly won’t be my last. On Day 2, I was already thinking about my next fair and what we’re going to do.’
What attracted people to her panel was Kiwa’s point of difference. ‘Our multilingual solutions attracted a lot of attention to us – particularly from the US, who were very impressed with the innovative technology coming from such a small country. It’s been an amazing experience that dwarfs any book fair I’ve ever been to.’
At 5pm the brightly lit NZ Stand transformed from a meeting hub to the Frankfurt Book Fair party station, and more than 500 people swarmed in to celebrate the high point of an enormous week, and sample delicious NZ beverages from Hunter’s wines and Monteiths. International Halle 8 never saw such a crowd.
Saturday at the fair was the first day open to the public, and with some publishers still arriving for meetings the NZ stand once again returned to its busy commotion. The effect of the Guest of Honour programme was unmistakable, as interested onlookers arrived at the stand in hordes, eager to find out more about New Zealand and its authors and publishers.
Tomorrow is Sunday and the final day of the fair. For a lot of people this will be the chance to venture across to the NZ Pavilion to catch the Guest of Honour programme lineup, and also the last day for that dreaded ‘Frankfurt feet’ feeling owing to the great distances travelled and the hard concrete floor.
And at 3pm on Sunday New Zealand will go out with a bang at the Handover Ceremony and pass on the baton to the next country of honour in 2013, Brazil.
With thanks to our sponsors Oceanbridge Shipping, 1010 Printing and Times Printers, to whom we are greatly indebted.
For more news and updates on the Pavilion programme check out NZ Book Council Catriona Ferguson's blog:
And for all the latest updates on New Zealand Guest of Honour: