Saturday, May 29, 2010

BookExpo Wrap-Up

Airily attired ladies hawking THE BURLESQUE HANDBOOK (HarperCollins/ItBooks) across from the Saudi booth, whose all-male staff and visitors kept their eyes averted.

As someone on Twitter commented after a day spent slogging through BookExpo, the book industry won't be dying anytime soon. However, BEA management wasn't on the ball, because many people were unaware that the show was down to 2 days (Wed & Thurs) from its usual 3. Thus they were miffed--to put it mildly--when they stayed at hotels Monday night and arrived for Tuesday appointments to find the show floor closed. That happened to 2 people I'd arranged to meet on Tues., who had missed the post-9am email "reminder" that the exhibition hall wasn't open till Wed. Due to popular demand (aka "complaints"), next year the show will go back to 3 days: May 24-26.

On Tues., after viewing Philippe Halsman's wonderful "Jump" photographs at the Laurence Miller Gallery, lunching with a literary agent and poking through fabric shops, I arrived at the Javits for a 3pm confab about the Virginia Festival of the Book with a Crown publicist. Fifteen lonely minutes later, I discovered that I was 24 hours early. Oops.

To console myself, I grabbed an ARC of Jennifer Donnelly's new YA novel, REVOLUTION, which entranced me until the 4:30 Editors Buzz Panel--and for the next 3 nights. It comes out in October. Don't miss it! I reviewed her first YA novel, A NORTHERN LIGHT, which deserved every prize it received, and then some.

As for the Editors Buzz, which unlike last year was SRO, I tweeted: "I see white people. They're all around me. And they're klutzy with microphones." Once again, most of the 6 panelists apparently hadn't practised their speeches beforehand, and droned/babbled on till I wanted to scream. Moderator John Freeman asked questions to help them out, but some were beyond saving. One notable exception was Cary Goldstein of Twelve, who--surprise!--started out as a publicist. He made a great case for THE EVOLUTION OF BRUNO LITTLEMORE by Benjamin Hale, a novel narrated by a talking chimpanzee who has an affair with a woman and commits murder. (I know: ICK! Goldstein says the book's fantastic, but I passed on picking up an ARC.)

After that I met Kevin Smokler, chief evangelizer for, for drinks & nosh at Hudson Yards Cafe. (Decent food! Reasonable prices!) Whether you're an author or a reader--but especially an author--you MUST check out It's already good, but from what Kevin told me, it's going to get even better in the next few months.

On Wed. morning I attended an excellent program: "Designing & Executing an e-Strategy for Authors: A Publisher & Agency Perspective." No danger of being put to sleep by moderator Charlotte Abbott or panelists Kathleen Schmidt (Director of Publicity & Digital Media, Shreve Williams Public Relations), Ron Hogan (now ex-Director of E-Strategy, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Jason Ashlock (principal, Moveable Type Literary Agency). They said a lot of the same things about online publicity that I've been telling my clients, only better, plus offered much information and thoughtful analysis. See highlights on Twitter: #eauthor.

Enterprising salesman (possibly a paid shill) just before a show manager escorted him from the hall.

For the rest of Wed. and all of Thurs. I snaked through the show floor, giving inhouse publicists--most of whom were new to me--info about VaBook. They were way friendlier than when I started representing the festival 8 years ago. Evidently publishers have realized that book festivals are a) good events that b) sell books.

Book bloggers were treated like gold. HarperCollins threw a (sweltering) party for them at the Algonquin on Tues., where I reconnected with old friends, and met authors as well as bloggers. There was an equally packed (slightly cooler) reception downstairs at the Javits on Thurs afternoon. Quite a contrast to the party Unbridled Books hosted at BEA 6 or 7 years ago, where lit bloggers Ron Hogan (Beatrice), Mark Sarvas (The Elegant Variation) and Dan Wickett (Emerging Writers Network) were regarded as an exotic species.

(right) Matilda holds court on a baggage cart in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel.

From the Thurs. bloggers reception I went to the Radisson Martinique. There Ron Hogan and I gave a 90-minute "Polish Your Pitch" workshop for nearly 30 enthusiastic attendees of the Backspace Writers Conference & Agent-Author Seminar.

After that (still with me?), Darling Husband and I went to a party way downtown for The Faster Times, "a new type of newspaper for a new type of world," which officially launches in July. We soon left because I was starving and we had to pick up our bags at the hotel before catching the train at Grand Central Terminal. We just missed the 10:12pm, so got some dessert at Zaro's and moseyed over to the 11:12. And sat. And sat. Then we heard this: "Attention! The 11:12 to Poughkeepsie will be delayed indefinitely." Oyyyy... The train finally left nearly TWO HOURS later. We pulled into Our Gracious Home at 3:15am and fell into bed, aching all over, at 3:45. The birds were starting to tweet as I fell asleep over the denouement of REVOLUTION.

My BEA 2010 Stats

103 business cards
10 books
12 lbs of catalogs

Given away:
100 VaBook postcards
98 Book Promotion 101 business cards
2 Bella Terra Maps catalogs
2 Bella Terra lighthouse maps

Lost: 1 voice


Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for this report! Impressive number of business cards collected!

St. Andrew said...

Nice recap. I also lost my voice as well! It will come back...eventually.

The Girl from the Ghetto said...

Awesome recap. I don't think we met, even though I was at The Algonquin (Mad I missed the cat!) and the Thursday BBC event, too, but it sounds like you are someone I would have liked to have met. I nearly lost my voice myself, and I had to giggle because not only did I get a picture of the Burlesque Girls, but I am writing a post about all of my business cards acquired, too.

Bella Stander said...

Thanks, folks! TGFTG, we met at the HarperCollins bloggers party at the Algonquin. I'm the tall one who was talking with you and Simon Van Booy--whose work you all MUST read:

Charlotte said...

Hi Bella - Thanks for your clever tweets during my author e-strategy panel - the definitely kept the Twitterfeed lively!

I looked out for you at Book Blogger Con, but alas. Hope we can meet in person before too long.