Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Book Expo

STATUS: Getting to this blog entry late tonight. It’s Friday night and Kristin is not out and about on the town. I’m actually working… I want to finish things up before I leave for LA on Tuesday.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I PUT A SPELL ON YOU by Bryan Ferry

BEA. BEA. You keep hearing the acronym but what is BEA? It stands for Book Expo America. It happens every spring and it’s basically the publishing industry’s way of launching the fall list with a big bang.

The fair itself is really geared more towards booksellers and librarians who come out in droves to get free ARCs [advanced reading copies] of all the big books for the fall. Each publisher hosts a “booth,” which can be half the length of the convention floor so some booths are big. In their booths, they spotlight authors, titles, have posters up and free ARCs. Lots of attendees come with suitcases so as to ship books back.

By the way, a couple of years ago they banned anything on wheels from the convention floor. However, you can have a “storage” space on the lower floor to store your books and UPS has ground shipping there and available for easy delivery.

Big authors host talks, breakfasts, big signings, etc. There are industry panels for education on publishing-related topics. I’m looking forward to hearing Jeff Bezos talk on Friday afternoon. (For those of you who don’t know, he is the current CEO of Amazon.com.)

So what is there for an agent to do? Lots actually. Last year I had 5 authors spotlighted at BEA so I made sure everything went smoothly for them. This year I don’t have any (talk about feast or famine…) so my time will be spent attending some panels, checking in with a few editors who will be at the booths, and my main focus is on Hollywood co-agents who handle book-to-film type deals on the behalf of literary agents.

I’m touching base with the folks I already work with (on a variety of projects) and then I’m meeting some new co-agents for the first time whom I might enjoy working with on future projects. BEA is all about the networking.

There is also the Rights Center. Literary Agents will often take a table in the rights center in order to hold meetings with editors there as well as with reps from foreign publishers for foreign rights etc. Last year I met with a lot of Audio publishers just to get to know those editors a bit better.

So that’s where I’m headed on Tuesday and I look forward to reporting from the floor. If I remember (knock on wood), I’ll take the camera (although I can use my trusty iPhone) and share pics etc. Expect blog entries to come late as my day is packed with meetings so there won’t be time to blog until the late evening.

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

I’m out!


20 Responses

  1. Maggie Stiefvater said:

    Kristin, thanks for this look into BEA. I know my publisher will be featuring my novel this year (even though I couldn’t make it) and even so, I found the whole BEA thing somewhat mystifying. So thank you for this post! Have a great trip!

  2. Caryn said:

    Oh, that sounds like heaven! I’m sure it’s exhausting, too, but all I can think about is all those free books and finding out about upcoming releases. Have a great time.

  3. Anonymous said:

    ugh. My co-workers get to goto this. I am a lowly intern so no book expo for me. I am so jealous.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Have fun!! What’s a ARC??? Someone please clue me in!! Forgive the newbie from SoCal please. It’s raining hard down here and my brain was just washed away…

  5. Anonymous said:

    Kristin, you are fabulous.
    BEA, from what I’ve heard, is a lot of work for agents. You’ll need a break after this next week. A vacation will more likely be in order.
    I enjoy reading your blog immensely. Keep up the good work.
    Oh, and when you have a second, please explain what an ARC is. Much appreciated.

  6. kiki said:

    Totally fascinated by this insider look at things. Just de-lurking to encourage the posting!

    (I love btw “banned anything with wheels.” Hell is very angry about this new restriction at BEA.)

    Thanks for the insights and keep ’em coming.

  7. sara said:

    Anon 12:16 – an ARC is an advanced reading copy. Publishers put these out before the book is officially released, but usually with the full cover art and packaging that the book will have when its released, and they’ll give these copies away (can’t sell them) to garner buzz around he book, hoping for bigger opening sales. I would love to get my hands on a lot of those! Yet another reason to want to be in publishing.

    How many struggling (read: non-agented, non-published) authors go to BEA? Do you have to score an invite or just pay to get in? Id love to go, if for no other reason than the free books!

  8. jeanoram said:

    Oh my god, did you say free books? I think I just had a heart attack.

    An Arc (Advanced Reading Copy), to my understanding, is a copy of a book that has not been released yet. I think they usually get used for publicity–for example, sent to magazines so they can do a review. That’s how mags always have reviews for a book just as it is about to be released.

    Free books, free books, free boooks…

  9. Polenth said:

    By the way, a couple of years ago they banned anything on wheels from the convention floor.

    Have they banned donkeys? You could fit a lot of books on a donkey.

  10. Anonymous said:

    Thank you to all who took the time to answer my question about what ARC stands for–and a big DUH! to me. You’re too kind for not making fun of me… or just more emotionally mature.

  11. Chris said:

    Is there any reason for a writer to go to BEA, an unpublished writer, that is?

    I know the Writer’s Conference overlaps (sadly no time for me to go) but is the BEA itself helpful for an author looking for representation?

    And, while I have your ear, folks, what other conferences (which I might be able to get to) are good for finding representation potential and/or networking from the author side of things?

  12. Maggie said:

    They banned wheels, like suitcases on wheels, etc., because they get in the way and clog up everything. I had the same reaction at first as previous posters when I was told this, then my co-workers explained it to me.

  13. lj said:

    Further info on ARCs: they’re cheaply manufactured paperbacks, printed at a point where the book is done and accepted by the publisher, but the final round of copy-editing may not have been completed. This is why they usually contain a few mistakes. If there is interior art, it also may not be fully completed, and you might see some sketches as opposed to finished work.

    Though imperfect in small ways, publishers print them up early like this so they can get the book out and generating buzz in advance of the release date. It’s also helpful to reviewers to have the book in advance… they often prepare, or at least think about, their review after reading the ARC, but then read the actual, official copy (also sent to them in advance of the pub date) before finalizing and publishing their review.

  14. A. J. Luxton said:

    …I hope the ban doesn’t include wheelchairs, or I’m going to have to write an angry letter even though I’m not going… but I suspect that may be an exception…

    I own a few hand-me-down ARCs. Haven’t seen too many errors — a few paragraph or pagination mistakes and maybe one or two typos — but I’ll second that they’re cheaply made; the covers on mine keep falling off. Still kind of tingly to be handed one, perhaps because I’m not the intended audience. 🙂

  15. Julie Weathers said:

    Chris, I am heading to Surrey, BC in October. It really depends on where you are and what you are looking for.

    For me, I have a lot of friends from Books and Writers, who go there. Plus, it has a lot of the elements I’m looking for.

    There is a site, somewhere, with a listing of conferences. I can’t remember what it is now, but I imagine you can Google it. Then, just narrow it down to your specifications.

  16. Just_Me said:

    ARC: Advanced reader/reading copy… an early copy to hand out for critics, fun, and other mysterious rites of publishing.

    Kristin- it sounds wonderful, I hope you come back to us with fun and exciting stories to share!

  17. Anonymous said:

    And, while I have your ear, folks, what other conferences (which I might be able to get to) are good for finding representation potential and/or networking from the author side of things?

    Chris, I’ve heard wonderful things about the Backspace Conference:

    http://www.backspacewritersconference.com/

Denver Skyline Photo © Nathan Forget [Creative Commons] | Site built by Todd Jackson