If you've had trouble finding your agent or your publisher over the past week it's probably because they've been at Book Expo America. If you've been following any agents on Twitter you've seen updates like "Just got on the plane... can't wait!" and "Got a line-up of meetings with publishers scheduled before the event starts.'" and "Looking forward to seeing all my friends soon!"
So what on earth is Book Expo America? Why do the agents and publishing professionals head there in droves? Most importantly -- should you as an author go there next year to pitch your book to all those industry professionals who seem to be suddenly congregating in the same place?
Well - not exactly.
BookExpo America ( BEA), is the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. BEA is almost always held in a major city over four days in late May and/or early June. Nearly all significant book publishers in the United States, and many from abroad, have booths and exhibits at BEA, and use the fair as an opportunity to showcase upcoming titles, sell current books, socialize with colleagues from other publishing houses, and sell and buy subsidiary rights and international rights. (Authors, librarians, and buyers for book retailers also attend the event.) Some authors are invited to give presentations.
So, what this means to you as an author is
1.) You should NOT go to BEA to try to Pitch your book to an agent or publisher. That's not why the industry professionals are there, and you're not likely to receive a positive response (Check out this Article "Three Reasons Why You Should Never Pitch At BEA" published by Writer's Digest..)
How? This is the big event where U.S. publishing professionals and book marketers get together and learn about the newest trends in publishing. BEA helps publishing professionals keep up with the times and find new ways to keep marketing all those books that we authors are writing!
BEA is also open to the public for 1 day during which books are sold and autographed by authors who have been hand-picked by their publishers. The Publishers and Marketing folks also staff tables, tables, and more tables where they hand out free sample chapters and other bits of swag advertising new books that are about to come out.
Check out this Article with tips and information for the non-author public about this year's BEA
Book Expo America Opens at the Javits Center, May 2013
Also, in case you want to know what kind of presentations and lectures your agent or marketing professionals from various publishing houses have been listening to and talking about all weekend ---
Here are links where you can watch the event presentations streamed during the event this weekend (it ends today, so watch the videos fast)!
I've pulled out a few here (click the links below) that you might find interesting.
Interview: MG writer Tyler Whitesides at BEA 2013
A Profitable Future for Illustrated Books by Nick Clements, Global Publishing Segment Manager at the Hewlett Packard Company
Creating Best-Selling Interactive E-books
Activities related to Children's Book Publishing
BEA STREAMING OF MORE SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS
So, if you're missing your agents this week, don't be mad at them. They're probably off chatting with marketing folks and publisher friends, making sure they have their fingers on the pulse of the industry, so that they can help YOU get your books out there on those e-readers and bookstore shelves in the very near future!