There is always so much to think about before you head off to a Bookfair, especially the big ones, like Frankfurt or London.

There is a lot of nervous excitement. There is a lot of preparation before you go.

However, the follow up when we get back is often the most important bit, when it comes to actually securing deals (and making money!).

If meetings go well, it is just as essential that we do as promised, in terms of sending out review copies and additional materials in a prompt and timely manner.

There are a few ways to help you do this and to make the return from a busy few days away at a Bookfair just a little bit more bearable and productive…even if you are feeling mentally quite exhausted. Read on for our top tips…

Think about your bookfair follow up before you go

We totally get it that the weeks before you go to an important bookfair can be relentless, with all of the preparation for the event itself. However, find the time to think about the follow up you will need to do on your return, before you head out the door. Your future self will really thank you.

An excellent tip is to put together a ‘tick sheet’ of all the titles in your rights guide that you plan to pitch, then as you have your meetings, you can quickly mark the items that your customer is interested in without having to write or type extensive notes whilst you are talking. It is not always the easiest to decipher hastily scribbled notes when you return to your desk post-fair!

It is also worth preparing customer specific notes for everyone you are meeting.

Consider, for example:

  • Do they owe you a response on anything?
  • Are they up to date with royalties accounting?
  • How is a previous book they worked with you on performing?

Putting the time in to prepare well for the meetings ahead will ensure you don’t forget anything important and make follow-up much quicker.

Block out time for follow up in your calendar now

In an ideal world, we would recommend blocking out as much time as you can in the first two weeks following a bookfair. This is so that your follow up can be done promptly and when you are still fresh in the mind of those you chatted and connected with.

We try to aim for a ‘day per day‘. So, for London or Frankfurt the equivalent of 3-4 working days. It is an ambitious target, but if you put yourself in that mindset, it can really help you to focus on getting the work done. It may not be easy to book out 4 days in a row on your return, or even a whole day, but if you can, try to keep your diary free of meetings during that 2-week period. Put in some blocks of time that you can dedicate to getting your follow up done. You will feel so productive, your customers will appreciate your promptness and you will get offers back sooner.

It certainly helps to combat that post-bookfair dread if you can power through your follow-up and free up some time before the end of the calendar year.

Organise materials to send out before you leave

To support your prompt follow up, consider what materials you are likely to need to send out following your meetings, you had booked in. You will probably have finalised your rights guide by now, so you will have a good sense of what you are expecting people to want to review. Make sure you have PDFs or whatever you plan to share organised and ready to be sent out on your return.

Gather any other information you could also supply to help prospective buyers during the review process, such as any press coverage or any market specific information relevant to each title. Remember to check if there are any additional updates to share once you return, such as recent press coverage.

Schedule a second bookfair follow up session

In addition to blocking out time for following up your meeting conversations and sending out review material, it is a good idea to book in some time 6-8 weeks later (maybe sooner or later depending on the type of content you are selling and the usual speed of customer response!) to check in with your customer if they haven’t got back to you in the mean time.

You can ask how they are getting on with the review material that you sent and use it as an opportunity to share any news or updates about the book. Perhaps, there have been good reviews, an award win or you’ve sold other rights. It is surprising how often just checking in on something you have sent yields a response.

Keep track of everything you have sent

Record keeping is a critical component of the rights business. When doing your follow-up make sure you record complete details of what you are sending, to whom and when. This makes it much easier to know when to follow up and is especially important if you have granted exclusive options for a set period of time, so that you know when you can release subsequent options. It also helps you to build a profile of your customer, seeing all of the information about what books they have reviewed previously will help you to make better recommendations when you next meet with them.

Bookfair follow-up time is also an opportunity to review your data for a particular customer. Consider: do you have the correct contact details on file? Have there been changes to people’s job titles, areas of responsibility or topics/genres of interest that you need to update, etc.?

How RightsZone can help with bookfair follow-up
Having a good system that can help you capture detailed information about your customers and your submissions to them will not only make your bookfair follow up straight-forward, but will also help you to develop a picture of your customers and interests that will inform your future interactions with them. Our software solution, RightsZone was designed with these requirements in mind. In addition to helping you record and analyse your rights data, it also provides tools to simplify the submissions process, from sending out materials and chasing up responses, to capturing customer interests.

Analyse the outcomes and learnings from the bookfair

Finding time to review the bookfair ‘as a whole’ is an incredibly useful exercise.

You can reflect on the 3 key stages – preparation, attendance at the fair itself, and the follow-up process. Consider what worked well and what you might do differently next time (if you are part of a larger rights team, doing this collectively is really beneficial). If you’ve captured good data as part of your follow-up process, you can analyse it to see what you can learn for future fairs and whether there are new opportunities to be exploited in the interim.

You could consider:

  • Which meetings were the most successful?
  • Which books were the most popular and why?
  • Were there trends in particular territories?

Drawing out answers to these kinds of questions will help you to learn more about your rights business, identify gaps and opportunities and deepen understanding of your customers.

It is worth reporting back on key findings and success stories to your management team. If you can demonstrate the value of your attendance at a bookfair, you will be able to make a solid business case for attendance at future fairs.

We know that in the real world things don’t always go to plan. But the more preparation you can do, the better chance you have of getting that follow-up done quickly and getting material in front of your customers before their pile really starts to build up. The sooner they can review, the sooner you are likely to receive offers and conclude deals. So it really does pay to be prompt!

With systems and processes in place to support you to follow up efficiently, as well as helping you deepen your understanding of customers and markets, the more effective your bookfair attendance becomes.

Get in touch today to find out how RightsZone can help you fast-track your Frankfurt follow-up.