How to Rock the Bologna Book Fair

How to Rock the Bologna Book Fair

I just came back from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and I’m proud to announce that I rocked it big time! What are the ingredients for Bologna success? I’d say:

  1. Presence – go there!
  2. Bring your books!
  3. Be positive and alert.

This is a fair intended for buying and selling rights. This means that only authors, illustrators, editors, agents and other people from the industry are admitted.

How should an independent author approach the fair? Here’s what I did.

1) First of all, make sure your books are there. If you are traditionally published – talk to your publishing house, if you are an independent author talk to one of the companies that have a collective indie stand. Send them your book. But that’s just the start. They will display your book but they don’t make any other promises.

Bologna Book Fair Indie Stand

If you don’t actually go to the fair and meet the people in the flesh, it’s much more difficult to get any deal out of this (albeit not impossible). So go.

2) Bring your books (illustrators – bring your drawings). You never know who might be interested! Most of the people you will talk to will just be friendly and make you feel like you belong.

SCBWI Bologna Children's Book Fair

3) But some will really make a difference and tell you they want to represent you. That’s exactly what happened at the Indie Collective stand. I was just browsing to understand what type of books are “trending” when an agent asked if she could help me. I told her I was the author of one of the books at the stand and she said that she liked it very much. We talked a little about my other books and how they’re selling. Suddenly she offered to represent me on future fairs. She said she was positive she could sell my series to China (and that was only one example)! I was thrilled 🙂 She also gave me several pointers as to how I need to prepare for the future fairs.

Bologna Children's Book Fair

That was pretty incredible! I didn’t expect any of this to happen but I did come prepared and positive. I think that’s what really mattered.

So as you see, some amazing things do happen at the fair. At the SCBWI stand I met wonderful ladies that I knew from cyberspace! How unexpected and delightful was that!

What I managed to accomplish in the few hours that I spent at the fair is only part of what you can really achieve! Unpublished authors can bring their stories and show them to agents at dedicated events. Illustrators can show their work at dedicated stands at determined times. And everybody can stick their business cards or drawings to the huge wall at the entrance of the fair.

Bologna Children's Book Fair Wall

I saw professionals photograph this wall in search for talent. So if you missed this year’s fair, Bologna will be open next year as well 🙂

Do you want more pics? Click here 🙂


  1. Fantastic and inspiring story! So happy for you!!

  2. Joanna says:



  1. […] books. The first input to get this done came from my Foreign Rights Agent during our meeting in Bologna. She sat with me and said:”You can’t just show up at the fair, you need a […]

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