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Nothing But Blue Skies: 6 Steps to Your Most Successful Book Fair Yet

Updated: Jun 7

The uncertainty of 2020 offered the rights world pause for thought. Despite the obvious challenges of selling rights in a time of COVID, rights professionals worldwide have shown great resilience and flair when it comes to promoting their new titles. From Zoom presentations to rights festivals, ‘Fakefurt’ and ‘Faux-logna’, the rights world has torn up the official rights calendar and set about developing their own sales strategy.

With the possibility of two in-person book fairs on the horizon – Bologna and London Book Fair – some rights managers and editors are getting ready to dust off their passports and book into their long-time favorite restaurants. However, rather than condensing meetings to just a few days, it’s clear that hybrid book fairs and virtual presentations are still part of the ‘new normal’, and rights professionals will be expected to hold face-to-face and virtual meetings over a number of weeks or months prior to and/or following the Fairs, as well as juggling their usual workloads.

With a raft of new titles to know inside out and the demands of an ever-growing inbox, it’s easy to focus on what you need to do, rather than how you are going to do it. Having an effective and fully-integrated rights management system is essential and will enable you to plan ahead, tailor your meetings, and streamline your post-Fair follow up.

In a 2021 webinar, Beyond the Deal: Managing Rights, hosted by Publishers Weekly, Harvard University Press’ Subsidiary Rights Manager, Karen Peláez referred to Biblio3 as “a one-stop shop” which allows her to quickly and effortlessly fulfil tasks that were previously a “manual and laborious process”. Peláez was thus enabled to start thinking about Harvard’s publishing programme in a “more abstract way”.

Inspired by Peláez’s emancipation from admin tedium, we’ve compiled a list of our 6 top tips and tools that can help you to prepare for book fairs and free up space in your schedule for blue-sky thinking:

1) Think big: portability and submissions en masse

  • The Biblio Suite can be accessed online (securely and remotely) from a range of devices including tablets and mobiles, so it’s possible (and encouraged) to update your contracts, rights and licence deals whilst on the move; both allowing you to maintain constant access to key data between meetings, and enabling your team to keep track of the deals being made in real-time .

  • And pre- and post-Fair, be sure to take advantage of Biblio’s Batch Submissions Uploader tool (which allows you to upload information – in bulk – via Biblio’s inbuilt spreadsheet uploader). By defining your customer names and book selection in advance, you can mark up requests and ingest them quickly into Biblio submissions.

2) Refresh your rolodex

  • Has your long-time preferred publishing partner of history titles suddenly taken a keen interest in your economics list? Stay abreast of changing customer interests by assigning Contacts to different Memberships. In Biblio, you can easily generate curated contact lists for future new title submissions.

3) Presentation is key

  • Whether it’s a rights catalog, online portal or PowerPoint presentation, you can combine the results of edition, rights sold and group reports to feed product metadata directly into your chosen presentation format, including tagged Adobe InDesign files. Watch how easy it is to create a catalog with Biblio, DataMerge and InDesign:

Biblio users are encouraged to login to the BiblioU Hub to watch our 6-minute, customer-exclusive video on this topic.

4) Revive your backlist

  • Rights professionals play the long-game, and while a lot of energy is devoted to sharing new titles, it’s just as important to promote key backlist titles alongside them. Make the most of Biblio’s powerful reporting engine to keep track of sold and unsold rights and sales performance by title, territory, subject, series, and much more.

5) Minimize and streamline your admin

  • Stay on top of recent deal administration with scheduled reports – for outstanding contracts, overdue and unapproved payments, and expired deals – emailed directly to your inbox.

6) Curate and share your content effortlessly

  • Providing review materials to publishers, scouts and sub-agents can prove a time-consuming process. While there are many storage solutions and FTP transfer tools available, BiblioDAM offers an integrated solution which can help reduce duplication of effort across your business. Add PDFs, image spreads and videos to Baskets, and invite customers to browse and explore at their leisure.

The Biblio Suite offers comprehensive, end-to-end management of the full rights cycle; from strategic planning, submissions and deal management, to payment tracking and beyond. No wonder so many of the world’s leading publishers are using it to attain their goals and increase their output, year-on-year.

In a recent Virtusales webcast, Grow Your Rights: Using Biblio to Maximize Income, Erin Murgatroyd, Senior Rights Manager at Nosy Crow, explained how her publishing house has used Biblio to improve their rights management and trading to grow their rights sales and maximize rights income. If you’d like to find out more about how Biblio can help you to refine your workflows and processes, contact us to speak to one of our publishing specialists or to arrange a demo.

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