Andrea Pasion-Flores is a literary agent with Jacaranda Literary Agency. The former Executive Director of the National Book Development Board of the Philippines, Andrea is known for her pioneering work introducing high-impact literary events to the country. Andrea is also a copyright lawyer and teaches English at the University of the Philippines as a member of the faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
Theses past few days we've been visiting German publishers, big and small, and taking a look at what they're doing and how they're doing it. Publishers here are doing a lot of diverse and exciting things in both print, digital, and transmedia! The German publishing scene is very exciting, with a market that seems receptive to the creativity the publishers are showing. It feels like a vibrant book market with a very deep reader base. It makes me just a wee bit jealous. :)
For me, I see the publishers' openness to the international market as very encouraging. Obviously, for publication of titles within Germany, they look to those countries who have been known to be writing in English, such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia. However, they seem to be more open to receiving content from the rest of the world, and that's very encouraging for people like me who represent many, many authors from diverse backgrounds. Though the mentioned countries are where the usual titles come from, it seems, at the end, people still look at the quality of the story and its appropriateness for the market. In fact, many of my colleagues keep mentioning how the reading levels of German children are very high. I love it that I'm getting to know a little bit about this market while enjoying the cities were visiting: Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munch. All these feel like a rare gift.
In all your visits, what left the most impression on you?
The quality of the illustrations is topnotch, mainly because they are unafraid to tap the talent the world is able to offer. I think there's a lot developing markets can learn from the German scene, one of which is being open to cultural and economic exchanges.
Aside from the learnings, I don't think I'll ever forget having spent close to two weeks in the company of colleagues from around the world who have been more than generous in sharing their experiences--both good and bad. It's quite refreshing, really. Aside from the great food, good company, going around Germany to visit the publishers has allowed me to also enjoy Germany.
What are you taking to Frankfurt Book Fair this year?
I'm showing in a powerpoint the diversity of authors Jacaranda has and the variety of content we represent. I am also showcasing a bit of Filipino talent by showing colleagues a Filipino graphic novel series that's a big hit over here--both commercially and critically. Jacaranda didn't represent him, but he has a very interesting story. But showing books to colleagues is going to be tough given that the people I'm with are publishing such fantastic books. Jacaranda also has a few titles we hope editors might be interested in. One such title, I have, in fact, already promised to send an editor for consideration right after the fair. I'm very happy about that--and very hopeful that something might be realised from it. I'm crossing my fingers!