Pub Rants

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

Some BEA Observations

STATUS: I’ve got so many great notes to share with you folks. Just not enough time in the day to blog about it all. Thank goodness we have the rest of the week.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? LYIN’ EYES by The Eagles

I have to say that I’m very glad that I attended Book Expo this year. A lot of things are changing in the industry and it only makes sense that BEA is going to evolve, transform, change, or even disappear (although doubtful) in the years to follow.

I had heard that publishers were cutting back this year and now having seen it, I can tell you for certain that that is true.

Random House had a booth the size of a postage stamp.

Macmillan wasn’t even on the floor. They simply had meeting rooms in the basement—I mean the lower floor that held the conference rooms.

At past BEAs, aisles were so stuff with people, you had to do an interesting shuffle with a lot of “pardon me” to get through. This year, the open space was like walking down an uncrowded boulevard. I think the only time I felt packed in was when the new Balzer & Bray imprint had their champagne toast launch party in the HarperCollins booth. However, once all glasses were distributed, the bar magically disappeared. It was up for maybe 15 minutes total. The champagne bottles were not abundent.

At past BEAs, ARCs (otherwise known as Advanced Reading Copies) abounded. In fact, you couldn’t walk through a booth without tripping over one. This year? Scant would be the word I would use to sum it up. Unless there was an actual signing going on, very few galleys could be had. [Although I should have assigned my client Megan Crewe to be my stealth ARC gatherer as she totally scored with a copy of CATCHING FIRE (hot sequel to The Hunger Games) and a copy of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (which is getting some solid pre-buzz).] She managed to snag about 60 ARCs.

However, in general, I can’t complain about this year’s Book Expo. The show was very good to my authors as the pictures below will attest.

Photo 1: Hank Ryan draws crowds in the Harlequin booth for the release of her third book in the Charlie McNally series–AIR TIME.

Photo 2: Now this is good editor support. Notice how Devi Pillai dressed to match the poster colors. That’s going above and beyond the call of duty! (Actually, Devi hadn’t realized that she had done so until I pointed it out to her.)

Photo 3: Gail Carriger signs her copies of her debut fantasy SOULLESS. One of the few ARCs that were out and about every day for the taking, Gail had some really nice lines–especially considering she’s so new to the scene. In fact, in a funny related story, three separate people at random times came up to me during the weekend to tell me about this really cool ARC they had snagged. Imagine my surprise that at three different times, the book they pulled out to show me was of SOULLESS. I had to then ‘fess up that it was my book.


Photo 4: Nice signage for the third book in the Gallagher Girl series that is releasing next week!

Photo 5: Ally signs in the Brilliance Booth

Photo 6: Electronic Poster of THE SHIFTER in HarperCollins Booth for the Balzer & Bray Champagne toast for the launch list.

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11 Responses

  1. Kristin Laughtin said:

    Wow, interesting to hear about the changes/downsizing this year. I attended last year, and was amazed at the crowds and the amount of free ARCs and other swag to be had. I still have a couple ARCs that I haven’t been able to read yet!

    I still love the cover for THE SHIFTER.

  2. Weronika said:

    This is an interesting post. The downsizing is definitely understandable, though I must admit–I am surprised that there seems to be such a dramatic shift.

    I hope to attend in the next few years–hopefully it won’t have disappeared.

    I’m glad your authors received the attention they deserved! 🙂

  3. Yamile said:

    Oh my! what wouldn’t I do to get a copy of catching Fire? Thanks for sharing your BEA experience! I wish I were there.

  4. Torsten Adair said:

    I end the show by doing my shipping at around 4 PM… No None ZERO books orphaned on the tables. (I did score an umbrella from the Libary Hotel!)

    Table signings seemed to be more popular (Hi, Ally!), I liked the bubblegumcard ARCs from HarperColllins, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Brace Jinkleheimer Scmidt had packed up and left by Sunday morning. Harlequin had the best booth… open, a multitude of authors signing, and you had to get a signed book to get a bag.

    Over in graphic novels, lots of great stuff. Stitches (Norton) is the big buzz, Logicomix (Bloomsbury) is quite good, and stuff for all ages available from Diamond’s roster of publishers.

    A bit peeved at Neil Gaiman… he made no mention of his BEA activities on his blog, so I missed his team-up with John Sciezca.

    Biggest book for me? The 100 Best Looney Tunes Cartoons. Jerry Beck, Leonard Maltin, guest essayists! Companion DVD from Warner video.

    Everyone should attend, just for the networking! Free books are icing!

  5. Anonymous said:

    Interesting but sad…With more free time, I thought people would have more time to read. After all, books are one of the best and cheapest forms of entertainment. Publishers are so short-sighted–the economy is getting better each day!

  6. Anonymous said:

    I saw Hank Phillippi Ryan there and I was gobsmacked. Can’t wait for her next one!

  7. Amy said:

    I also snagged Catching Fire.

    And Soulless is yours? I’m absolutely in love with how cute it is!

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