June 13, 2014 | Carla Jean | 1 Comment
It’s been more than a week since I returned from Book Expo America, and I’m starting to feel as though I can answer people’s enthusiastic inquiries about the experience. Part of that period of radio silence has been because I came home with a sinus infection, but it’s also because I just needed time to digest the event.
I went to BEA with few goals in mind. Since this was my first year, I knew I would be overwhelmed. I didn’t really know what I would get from the event, so I set my expectations low. I planned to show up, hoped to get Ann M. Martin’s autograph and wanted to walk away with some free books and insight into the publishing industry.
That strategy served me well. I’m incredibly Type A, so it was hard to walk into the event without a game plan. But that allowed me the freedom to take each day as it came, and to make split-second decisions based on what grabbed my attention. The expo is humongous; nearly 20,000 people were present, with something like 1,000 exhibitors and 750 authors signing books. It took some wandering around the trade show to figure out what was where, and I never could figure out how to get to the seminars without getting lost. Since my plans were loosey-goosey, that was all just fine.
But next year, I intend to set aside more time for seminars and be more strategic about the books I bring home. I’m so excited about my haul that I haven’t figured out what to read first (or really second, since I already breezed through the charming and beautifully illustrated “What Do You Do with An Idea?” by Kobi Yamada). I’m a fledgling author, and I believe I could learn more and more each year from the seminars. I also hope to begin cultivating more business relationships during BEA; I had a great lunch with my friend and BookPage editor Trisha, but I suspect I could build even more relationships as I immerse myself more deeply in publishing.
My calendar is marked for May 28-30, 2015. BEA, I’ll be back.
Carla Jean Whitley attended Book Expo America (BEA 2014) this year in New York.