Book Expo America, BEA, is the largest annual book trade fair held in the United States. This year, it takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center May 31st through June 3rd. Jacob Javits Center is so big it goes from 34th street to 40th street along 11th Avenue in Manhattan.
Anyone can go to BEA. Last year, in Chicago, about 10,000 librarians, bookstore people, book bloggers, teachers, museum people and people who just love books paid $100.00 or more to attend for three days. People came from every state in the US, plus nearly 70 countries.
There are large displays by the big publishing houses like HarperCollins and Wiley. The booths are run by the editors and salepeople. It's a monster big show!
|HarperCollins Publishers has an entire aisle.|
But I find it a most confusing show from the get-go. BEA's website is hard to navigate. It's slow to load, hard to read, and in black and white. The show is so big, I can never find the booth I'm looking for, and the concrete floors are hard to walk on all day. You can't buy any books, although on the afternoon of the last day publishing houses may give away their books so they don't have to pay to ship them back. It can be frowned upon to show editors artwork or a book dummy, as the houses are there to sell books, not buy them.
The worst section at BEA is near the back wall, where a row of lonely home-made authors pay over $1,000 to sit behind a card table with their slight pile of books. I've been to BEA a couple of times and avoided this row of the hoi polloi.
|A tiny section of Book Expo America floor|
But this year I'm Hoi Polloi Booth AM34!
Actually, I'm 'Spot' AM34, because it's 4 feet x 4 feet. Do you realize how small that is?
Why would I do this? Let's go back to the top of this blog where I say 10,000 book buyers! I couldn't go to ten thousand libraries and bookstores in my lifetime if I went every day! And they are all going to be right there, for three days, walking around looking for books for their libraries and bookstores.
I know, I know. They will be looking for major publishing house booths, not mine. So I'm going to set up my easel and sketch librarians and book sellers as children's book characters.
|Here's a card I made.|
I have earring and necklace giveaways. Also, BEA has something I think that is new, and it's really helpful. Guests sign up for your booth on your own BEA site before the show. So far I've had over 50 people signed up, including folks from New York Public Library and Barnes and Noble. One man emailed and said he was looking to buy 5,000 books -- I think he got me mixed up with the real Sky Pony Press booth -- but he's really looking forward to meeting me!
So I'm excited to get the opportunity to present at the same show as the major houses! I could make amazing contacts! I could do amazing sales!
Or this could be the worst idea I've ever had.
|Yikes! I can't step off the mat!|