Saturday, June 02, 2007

BookExpo America

Yesterday I made my trip into the City to attend BEA. And what a madhouse it was. For those of you who have never attended, imagine book insantiy. The event is being held this weekend at New York City's Javits Center. A giant, sprawling convention center. It's where car shows, boat shows and all sorts of other shows are held. It's huge and it was very, very hot.

The best thing about BEA is of course the free books. The worst? The free books and the mad rush to get to them. I wish I could give you a better visual of what BEA is really like, but I'm not that strong of a writer (which is one of the many reasons I leave it to the pros). Think booth after booth of publisher advertising and marketing. Stacks of books for giveaways, tables where meetings are being held, booksignings with everyone from Tom Perotta, L.L. Cool J., Janet Evanovich, Julianne Moore, Khaled Hosseini, and around all of this throngs of people diving for books, stopping to chat with colleagues and generally running into everyone around them.

I spent my time at BEA in meetings with our foreign sub-agents, foreign publishers and just mingling and catching up with editors. It's amazing how among the masses you manage to run into someone you know at almost turn. I was able to chat with some of my favorite editors, former bosses, current and past colleagues, and agents I haven't seen in years. Most importantly though I was able to network and see what publishers are touting for their summer and fall lists.

Giveaways leaned toward NY Times bestsellers, a lot of mysteries, and literary or women's fiction. I didn't see much in the SF or Fantasy genres, no one ever gives away cookbooks (unless you wait in line for the few signings) and children's books are nearly impossible to find. I suspect some of this has to do with production costs as well as which books make the most money for a company. BEA is primarily a convention for librarians, booksellers and publishers. While agents certainly attend to see what's hot for foreign rights, it's more of a fun trip for me and a bigger job for our foreign rights reps. In fact, during a quick stop to chat with one of our co-agents I was thrilled to see she had one of our books sitting on her table. She mentioned that she was getting a lot of interest. Excellent news!

BookEnds was also very well represented this year with giveaways, posters, marketing materials, etc. It's fun to turn a corner and see your books staring you in the face. Even more fun when you hear the publishers talking them up.

BEA is a three day convention event (although there are other activities throughout the week). I only attended Friday this year since I was able to get all of my appointments into one day. But the madness and the excitment will continue through Sunday. I look forward to watching the books publishers were touting to see how they do and to spending my summer reading my brand new stack of books.


JDuncan said...

So Jessica, any tips/insight into what is looking hot for the coming year? I'm curious as always what the pubs are looking lay upon our shelves.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Sounds like the Electronic Distributors Show, I used to attend in Vegas every year - without the gambling. Lots of fun, loads of information, and incredibly sore feet. Sounds like you had at least the first two, and I hope not the last.

Dara Edmondson said...

Sounds crazy but fun. I like the new blog look.

Stephanie J. Blake said...

I like the clean, new look. Easier on the eyes.

Laura Anne said...

Jessica -

as one of the former co-workers, good to see you at BEA. It was even crazier there on Saturday (when I was wearing my freelance copywriter/editor hat). But I managed to resist the lure of free books...mostly. Feet hurt, tho.

(re: your comment -- Tor, Luna and Pyr were the only SF/F imprints I saw with any presence, and only Tor and Luna were doing any giveaways)

-- Laura Anne

Midwestern Writer Wannabe said...

Do the publishers send anyone besides marketing types to BEA? Would it behoove an author to try and make the trip?

Sandra Cormier said...

I think it would be cool for an author to see the various booths representing the publishers, meet the authors, etc.

Is it open to the public, or just a trade show for booksellers?

Love the new look of the blog. I almost forgot where I was for a moment.

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...

Editors do go and mingle around and can be seen here and there, but if you are hoping to go and network I wouldn't bother. It's not a place where editors want to hear pitches from new writers and, honestly, unless you know who you're seeking out it's pretty hard to find anyone. I do believe anyone who wants to buy a ticket though can go. You could check out the Web site to confirm.

Great seeing you too Laura Anne and congrats again on your authoring success.


Anonymous said...

Love the new blog look, too, but you've lost the link to your agency home page.