The writer's need-to-know on the book industry, by Miriam Peskowitz.
Those who know me know you won’t often catch me deciding to go to a big convention like Book Expo America
. The hordes of people. The bad convention center air. The massive amounts of overstimulation, deals being made, and info transferred about.
Here’s what The New York Times had to say on BEA
, and as luck would have it, I have a few pals who attended, and who happily agreed to share what they learned.
First up is Eileen Flanagan
, member of my WordSpace posse, and author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change and When t...
, a book based on the Serenity Prayer
. This was her first visit to BEA, and she wasn’t sponsored by her publisher.
Here’s what Eileen has to say:
Tips for promoting a book at BEA when you’re not the author whose name is on your publisher’s free umbrellas:
1. Know what you’re there for. You could spend a lot of time collecting free books and tote bags. If you’re there to promote your own book, focus on meeting people, rather than collecting stuff.
2. Bring business cards and flyers (or bookmarks or postcards) about your book, but don’t waste money printing too many fancy flyers. It’s nice to have something professional to hand people who are interested in your work, but as my agent warned me, “Standing in the aisle handing out flyers to random strangers makes you look like a loser.”
3. Look for anyone in publishing who has ever done anything nice for you, and go thank them in person. I found the Nautilus Book Awards table and thanked the woman in charge for the Silver award my book just received. She offered to put a copy on display with the Gold Medal winners, which made me grateful I had a copy in my bag for just such an occasion.
4. Try to meet some of the sales people who work for your publisher, so they can associate a face with your name. Make sure to mention anything new that they can use to help sell your book to booksellers (e.g. My guy was happy to hear about the Nautilus Award.)
5. Find the Sirius Radio booth in the back where they are conducting brief author interviews. Just go introduce yourself and ask if they want an interview.
6. Keep your eyes out for bloggers with video cameras who might be looking for authors to interview.
7. Be on the lookout for booksellers. This year, they had a lounge on the lower level. They are the people who can literally put your book in your readers’ hands.
8. Play fair. If you want other people to listen to you pitch your book, give them a chance to give their pitch, too. You might find unexpected connections like I did when the guys selling some new kind of software turned out to be fans of the Serenity Prayer.
9. Pace yourself. Even an extroverted Leo like me felt that six hours of pitching myself to strangers was enough.
So, although BEA 2010 has passed, these should keep us in good stead for future years, or for other events.
But while you’re here, do tell SheWriters your tips and tricks for events like these, and how you feel about whether to attend, and what it means to get to know the people who sell our books.