This is our final report for Book Expo America 2010, go HERE for Days 0/1 and HERE for Day 2
DAY THREE: Book Blogger Convention, Tour of Hachette, and AWESOME Japanese food
Ana: I have always wanted to attend BEA but what really made me take the plunge was the Book Blogger Convention and the fact that Thea was invited to be in one of the panels. For those who not know, the Book Blogger Convention (henceforth “BBC”) is the first, organised Book Blogger er, Convention which became a part of BEA when the organisers actually got a room at the Javits for it. I don’t know how they managed that and I don’t know what I was expecting but oh boy: I was mighty impressed by it all. For starters it was extremely well organised, the panels were really interesting and none of them ran overtime and hey, all the equipment worked; there were both breakfast and lunch included and even they weren’t the best food in the planet, it was all included in the fee and abundant; there was a pretty awesome tote bag as well, full of goodies like:
What I mean to say is: this was not a last-minute, thrown together deal. We could see that the organisers put a lot of work and effort into it and what can I say? It was a huge success, 250 people attended, amongst bloggers, authors and publishers (when we visited the good people at Tor, they all KNEW about it!) and since this is only the first year, I think the BBC has a bright future ahead.
We got there at around 8am for registration and breakfast:
Thea attacking the bagels
The Keynote Speaker: Maureen Johnson rules
After breakfast we moved on to the room to hear the Keynote Speaker, who happened to be Maureen Johnson, one of my favourite contemporary YA authors. I am not the first to say this, but this speech? It was MADE OF WIN. Not only Ms Johnson is articulate and interesting, she is also incredibly funny. Her session lasted for 1h30m including a Q&A and it was a great event all the way through. Amongst the points she made, I think the ones I liked the most were:
– The Internet is a natural extension of writing and therefore an organic phenomenon;
– There is still a lot to learn about the Internet and blogging as there are no real experts and a lot can be learnt on the go;
– Book Bloggers are Activists for Books (how cool is that?) and we can make a difference; I like the phrase “bring back books from the abyss” referring to banned books and older books;
– She likes Twitter so much (and seriously, you need to follow her, her tweets are so funny) her goal is to be the first person to Tweet from the grave;
– We are in the “Golden Age of Screw-Ups”.
After her session ended, I had to dash out to meet Miriam Parker, our contact at the Hachette Group for a tour of their offices. The building itself is amazing and I had a few problems with the elevator (you have to pick your floor BEFORE getting inside, which by the way, I DID NOT KNOW) but made it safely to their floor. Miriam then showed me around all departments (including the Art and Publicity) and we ended up at the Orbit’s floor where we chatted to several editors, one of them was actually petting a book we simply can’t wait to read:
Then they made the mistake of not only introducing me to the storage room but also uttering the words: you can get anything you want. BIG MISTAKE, ORBIT DUDES! With another 5 books in tow, I said goodbye to Miriam and dashed back to the Javits for lunch. Because I am the luckiest biatch in the world, Maureen Johnson was leaving as I arrived and I basically jumped in front of her (sorry if I scared you, Maureen) and squeed like the fangirl that I am.
I got in line for lunch and that was when I finally was able to actually chat a little bit with Amy from My Friend Amy who updated me on the upcoming BBAW. I can’t wait. Then, we sat with Thea and Kenda for lunch and they told me all about the talk I missed while I was at Hachette:
Ron Hogan on Professionalism and Ethics
Thea: While Ana took off to meet with the awesome folks at Hachette, I stuck around to listen to Ron Hogan’s piece on “Professionalism and Ethics.” Ron Hogan’s speech started out strong, highlighting that there is a big difference between print journalism and bloggers – and thus, different standards and definitions of “professionalism” and “ethics” apply. He then proceeded to apply seven qualities from Seth Godin’s Linchpin (how to make oneself “indispensable”) to bloggers…most of which felt a bit dry, repetitive, and had little to do with the theme of “professionalism.” Rather, these seven qualities seemed to have more to do with developing a focus and creating a successful book blog. The “ethics” segment also was loose and fast, focusing on the idea that blogging ethics are of a different set than professional journalism.
What I took away from Mr. Hogan’s presentation, riddled with that awful company team-building stock art, was the vague notion that bloggers should be trustworthy and conduct themselves with “moral intentions.” While I agree that the FTC Revised Guidelines aren’t necessarily applicable to book bloggers, his second “example” – comparing the myriad unpaid bloggers for the Huffington Post to a blogger asking someone to do a guest post – felt a tad disingenuous. We are dealing with massive differences of scale and frequency, after all. And, for the most part, book blogs receive little to no income from posts – so the monetary compensation angle doesn’t quite fit.
I suppose it doesn’t help that all throughout the presentation, all I could think of was Billy Madison. You know, the Academic Decathlon “Business Ethics” part.
After that, it was time for lunch!
Writing and Building Content:
Thea: This next panel featured some very, very smart bloggers – the lovely moderator Rebecca (The Book Lady’s Blog), and panelists Amanda (The Zen Leaf), Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Betsy (A Fuse 8 Production), and Christina (Stacked). Each of these women talked about their own methods of writing and creating content for their blogs – a rather extensive process, if I may say! After listening to how many outlines, detailed notes, schedules, etc these ladies create to keep their blogs running, I felt like a bit of a slacker! All in all, a very informative session – although I do wish that there was some variety on the panel. Everyone seemed to generally agree with each other, and also seem to write the same lengthy style of reviews. I wish there could have been a brief review writer, or an ebook reviewer, for example, to change things up a bit.
That said, very informative, eloquent, intelligent women with some great advice.
Marketing: This panel featured Heather of Age 30+ Books who was the moderator, Gayle of Everyday I Write the Book, Yen of The Book Publicity Blog, Ann of Books on the Nightstand, and our own Thea
Next was the Marketing panel – the one Thea was part of – and I have to say I was so anxious for Thea , I had butterflies in my belly. The panel went well and they talked about issues such as how to put your name out there like, comment on other people’s blogs, always reply to comments on your own, join social media sites like Twitter/Facebook – but don’t overdo it so that you don’t stretch yourself too thin. I thought all panellists had interesting things to say and for the most part they were all in agreement expect when it came to stats and what they mean to publishers or whether to disclose them or not. The majority of panellists agreed that people shouldn’t obsess over stats—and that publicists might not care too much about the number of followers or readers as much as they care about a sense of community. Thea was the sole dissenting voice saying that we do think stats are important not only to us and she outed me as the stats “whore” –in those exact words – of the duo and I was so embarrassed but hey, I OWN it, I check our stats all the time and I LIKE to see them grow. We also have our stats counter open in our webpage to everyone to see – just click on the sitemeter logo- and it has been like that since day one when we had the grand total of zero visits; but to publicists as well, and that they have all the right to ask for a blog’s stats before agreeing to send books – numbers are important in our opinion, but obviously only as a RESULT of good content and good reviews and of building community. It is possible to have good content, to have a good community and rapport with readers who leave comments and linkage love AND good stats and we don’t see anything wrong with that. We completely understand that to some bloggers the issue is NOT important though, which is totally fine, but we sort of feel that sometimes the mere use of the words “Marketing” and “Stats” is a no-no and vilified and we don’t think that is fair at all.
Thea had to dash out after the panel to go to the post office to ship her books back home, which is a shame because LOADS of people came looking for her (including a couple of publicists) to say that they actually agreed with her opinion. In the few minutes before the next panel, I also had the chance to chat briefly with the awesome Alex Lencicki, marketing and publicity director for Orbit books, to geekout over Sarah Rees Brennan’s books with Aja Romano of Bookshop and to form the Alliance for World Domination via Book Blogging (AfWDvBB) with the wonderful and totally cool ladies, Rebecca (The Book Lady’s Blog) and Christina (Stacked) .
Blogging with Social Responsibility: This panel was moderated by Maria of The Boston Bibliophile and the panellists were Zetta Elliott at Fledgling, Stephen at Band of Thebes, Wendy at Caribousmom, and Terry at The Reading Tub
This was a fascinating and educative panel. Each of the panellists had interesting things to say about their experience with blogging –they all touch on important issues like LGBT reading, addressing racism in publishing, blogging for a cause. The main point is that bloggers can make a difference and you never know who is listening in the background and even a small post about an important issue can touch someone and make a difference. The Q&A was pretty good on this one as well. After the panel, I made sure to introduce myself to Zetta Elliott which is an author I totally respect and admire (and on a shallow note: she is freaking gorgeous!).
Impact of the Relationship Between Author and Blogger: This one was moderated by Nicole of Linus’s Blanket and with
Amy of My Friend Amy, Bethanne of The Book Studio, Kristi of The Story Siren, author Beth Kephart of Beth Kephart Books and author
Caridad Pineiro of Caridad Pineiro’s Blog as panellists.
I have to say, this was my least favourite panel. Most of what was said was useful and to the point such as authors can contact bloggers directly but most bloggers seem to prefer to deal directly with publicists; or how having a relationship with an author outside the confines of the blog (email, twitter, etc) does not imply a biased review, in fact both authors and bloggers were very clear on this (and the authors present even said they don’t mind negative reviews if they are written carefully and tastefully) but ultimately I thought that the authors had more to say and contribute than the bloggers in this panel.
All in all though, a VERY good day and the BBC has a lot of potential for growth. I have to give MAJOR kudos to the organisers and wish them all the best for next year:
* Amy at My Friend Amy
* Michelle at Galleysmith
* Natasha at Maw Books
* Nicole at Linus’s Blanket
* Pam at MotherReader
* Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog
* Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
After this panel, some of us decided to have dinner together: Janice, Kristen, Angie, Thea and I went to this fabulous Japanese restaurant, Ippudo. For some reason, we decided it was a good idea to walk from the Javits, and after about half an hour, we quit (FAIL!) and took a taxi. We had the wrong address by the way, but we found the place. We “only” had to wait about 1h30m for our table but this was definitely the best meal Thea and I had in NY.
From L. to R.: Janice, Kristen, Angie, Thea and Ana
The BEA People:
Thea: BEA was also invaluable because of all the incredible people we got to meet. Waiting for a cab, standing in line (I saw the same wonderful librarian in almost EVERY LINE I queued up for!), randomly walking through Javits…BEA was a gold mine for connection building. Here are a few of the bloggers we got to meet:
– Alea Adou of Pop Culture Junkie
– Amy of Amy Reads
– April of Good Books and Wine
– Cindy Smith of Cindy’s Love of Books
– Eleni of La Femme Readers
– Gayle of Everyday I Write The Book
– Linda Nguyen of Better With Books
– Taschima of Bloody Bookaholic
– The lovely JL (and her sister) of An Avid Reader’s Musings (for some reason, we kept bumping into each other by the bathroom!)
– The Story Siren
And this is in addition to all the other lovely ladies we’ve already mentioned – Angie of Angieville, Janice of Janicu’s Book Blog, Kristen of Fantasy Cafe, Kenda of Lurv ala Mode, Amy of My Friend Amy, Michelle of Galleysmith, Trish of Hey Lady!, Charlotte of Lusty Reader, Heather of Age 30+ Books, Lenore of Presenting Lenore, Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog, Christina of Stacked, Mandi of Smexy Books, Christine of The Happily Ever After, and so many more…it was AWESOME. Pure awesome. We loved meeting everyone and cannot wait to see everyone again, once our bank accounts have recovered!
Visiting The Strand Bookstore – an Exposé
We stayed in NY over the weekend to do some touristy things and naturally our path led us to The Strand which was rumoured to be Book Store To Rule Them All. The reports were right. With shelf after shelf of all possible genres and a YA section to die for with most books (new, recently released) for around 8 bucks, The Strand proved to be one of those awesome…mistakes. Because even though we got more books we could possible carry (or read) at BEA we still ended up buying loads more and had to painfully rule out several books we really, really wanted.
And now for the expose part: when we were at The Strand we overheard a conversation between a patron and bookseller where the attendant said something along these lines:
Have you looked at the galleys section?
Thea and I literally jumped. A galleys section??? For reals? We looked for it and right there, next to the Children’s section; there were a couple of shelves LABELED “Galleys and Proofs” where the same were being SOLD. For those who do not know: every single galley or Advanced Reading Copy comes with a sign, right there on the cover and it says: NOT FOR SALE.
And yet, The Strand, this NY hallmark sells them! We even saw one who still had the publicist’s contact details on the cover. We were completely horrified by it.
We wonder: How is this possible, world? Does The Strand have a special deal with publishers where they are the exception to the rule? Or are they breaking the taboo? Does anyone know? …Bueller? Bueller?
*An Aside*: We woke up on Sunday morning, our last day in NY and the first thing Thea says to me, in a very serious voice is: “Dude. I think I have a serious problem. I am sitting here thinking about how we could go back to The Strand to get MORE books. Help.” I was tempted, Internets. REALLY tempted. But I simply did not have any room left for more books in my suitcase.
Also, following up on a few comments left in the previous reports, we wanted to add a couple of things we didn’t mention (there is so much to talk about!)
– The BEA is open to EVERYBODY. You don’t have to be part of the publishing industry, an author or a blogger. The convention is open to the public and you can just buy your ticket for one day, if you want. The BEA has a website where they post all (or at least, the majority of) the authors and publishers attending so that you can organise yourself accordingly;
-Bags: someone asked about how we carried the books we picked up. A lot of the booths were distributing tote bags. For example, as soon as we arrived, we picked up a Little,Brown one with loads of ARCs inside and then just added on top of it. By far, our favourite tote bag was this one:
– With regards to BEA more specifically: we were very surprised that Scholastic had no booth and that Macmillan’s was so small. We also thought that genre representation was not all-inclusive. We hardly saw any Sci-fi, Fantasy and Romance books and authors but we understand that since these genres have their own conventions (like Comic Con, RWA and RT) it would make more sense for publishers to invest in those. Otherwise, the show is a gold mine for YA, Literary and Historical Fiction and non-fiction.
All in all, this was a tremendous experience that we highly recommend to anyone who can afford it. Yes, NY is MUCHO expensive – you don’t have to tell us that, our bank accounts are bleeding as we speak – but it is well worth the investment at least once.
I mean, fantastic free books? Loads of signings with awesome authors? Meeting all these people we love in person? It’s PRICELESS.
Heather (DarklyReading)June 2, 2010 at 8:47 am
Love your assessment of the BBC – and thanks for the links to the panelists – now I don’t have to hunt them down on my own 😀 For the Hogan talk I agree that the stock photos he used where much more business friendly than blogger oriented and he definitely gave alot of soft answers but I guess for blogging there are no “rules” other than be truthful and be true to yourself? And have fun..;) And great job Thea on your panel!
heatwave16June 2, 2010 at 9:00 am
I loved your reports from BEA, and I’m totally jealous. How much did it cost to get all those books home? I bet your suitcases weighed about 100 lbs.
my honey is from NYC, and we go back often, so I am sooo checking out that book store. Thanks for the tip. 😀
AnaJune 2, 2010 at 9:19 am
@ Heather – “be true to yourself” seemed to be motto of all panellists, right? : D
@ heatwave16 – Thea paid like 30 bucks to post them home and I paid 50 dollars for my suitcase which was over the allowed weight. ooops.
danielleJune 2, 2010 at 9:40 am
im seriously considering going to bea for my sweet sixteen. would that be sad?
katiebabsJune 2, 2010 at 9:53 am
if I went into one of those books rooms and they told me to grab what I wanted, I would have fainted.
How did you get all your books home?
ChristineJune 2, 2010 at 10:09 am
Amazing recap and summary of your BEA experience and thank you so much for sharing all of that great info!
Then they made the mistake of not only introducing me to the storage room but also uttering the words: you can get anything you want. BIG MISTAKE, ORBIT DUDES!
LOLOL! Love that! 😆
KMontJune 2, 2010 at 11:12 am
Yall crack me the hell on up – but you already knew that. 😉
Another great recap! It’s fun to read everyone’s follow-ups. Ana, couldn’t you have gotten a picture of that storage closet? *whimper*
Lexie C.June 2, 2010 at 11:17 am
Great recap! I still have to write up mine (oiy…but I like reading much more…). I agree Ron Hogan’s was a little too dry and straight to the point (I think it did him a disservice to go after Maureen who was so entertaining), but didn’t seem…right for some reason.
The blogger/author panel I think was good, but yes the authors were very much the talkative ones, but then they are more used to such an atmosphere then the bloggers (that is talking about their books and such in a large group setting).
As for The Strand and galley selling–at lunch my group asked a couple of publisher reps about this (a few sat at our table with us from Hachette and Random House) and either we caught them by surprise and they didn’t know, or its kind of the elephant in the room. The Strand isn’t the only bookstore to do this in NYC apparently, but I suppose because of its size and notoriety its the most well known not!secret. According to the reps there’s just too much to police and deal with. Also apparently The Strand doesn’t make a large profit from the galleys–unlike online (ebay) where the galleys go for horrible prices at times, The Strand sells them all for under $3 (right? I think?) so publishers just turn a blind eye and shrug.
…I’m living in jealousy that you got to tour the Hachette Offices. I really, really am.
Erika (Jawas Read, Too)June 2, 2010 at 11:20 am
The fail stamp is hilarious. 🙂
I would assume since The Strand sells ARCs that publishers must realize this (as their store is very well known) and don’t mind. If they did, they could always have the store remove them. I’d be pretty alarmed if I saw them on shelves, though since I’ve been trained to recognize how wrong it is to sell them!
Have either of you heard of The Library Hotel?
When I found out about it, I got excited. Then again, if I stayed there I wouldn’t ever want to leave!
AnaJune 2, 2010 at 11:57 am
@ Danielle – I think that it would be the coolest sweet 16 EVER.
@ KB – It was HARD, but we managed *ninja*
@ Christine – it was so awesome!!! and so lovely to see you but you already know that. *hugs*
@ Kenda – I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have for the entire trip!! 😯
@ Lexie – Good point re authorsxbloggers! Re:Strand – so it is a not-secret? I guess that, it would be impossible not to know since there is actually a shelf especially for them. I just find it VERY distasteful to have ARCs with clear signs of NOT FOR SALE being sold. Yes, they are being sold for less than $2 but this is still clear profit for them since they never paid for the books in the first place. I would even argue that they probably even make more money out of those than out of the other books (but I maybe be totally wrong here. *g*). If they wanted to spread book love and get rid of ARCs, they could have a “grab it- FREE” for customers who spent more than a certain amount of money for example. THAT would be cool? Selling them? not so much, regardless of how much they charge.
@ Erika – I DREAMED about staying there but boy, it’s expensivo!
Karen MahoneyJune 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm
I want to go to the Strand bookstore. *sigh*
Next year I am determined to go to BEA! 🙂
The Sweet BookshelfJune 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Well I NEED to make the trek across the BIG pond and get to BEA and BBC next year. I’ve a yr to save!
I’m really wondering about those galley’s for sale now though. I wonder what the deal is?? I wonder if they have a deal for galley copies that have hit their pub dates? Interesting though.
What I want to know is, how much extra did it cost you to mail your books back to the UK and were your bags over the weight limit? How much did THAT cost?! I’d have to do the same thing!
LiJune 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm
I have loved reading everyone’s recaps of BEA/BBC, despite being madly jealous of the books, the events, the people…
Thanks so much for writing such great posts about your experience and for the pics!
AnaJune 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm
@ Karen: You would DIE if you went there. Think Foyles’ YA section x 100 and for half the price. YEAH.
@ The Sweet Bookshelf: Some of the galleys being sold are not out yet. 👿
I paid 50dollars because of the weight limit. But I flew with American Airlines and could only check in one suitcase with 23kg, max, maybe other companies have different rules? It is worth checking them out. And I was supposed to only have one carry on bag but I had sort of …three. *ninja* I didn’t mail any of the books, I carried them all
@ Li!!! It’s been a while!!! 😀
ChristinaJune 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm
……You’re book smugglers, right?
….I saw you with all those books…..
…..So shouldn’t the title be “How we learned to stop worrying and LUG the hundreds of pounds of books.”
I mean, seriously, you were carrying A LOT of books!
katiebabsJune 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm
How long will it take you to read and review them all? 2 weeks? LOL
oranniaJune 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm
Thank you so much for your review of the BBC (LOL!). Sounds like an amazing event and that bookstore? *speechless*
Lexie C.June 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm
@Ana: that’s true, I mean we (bloggers that is) get persecuted by our own and publishers go after those on eBay, but I guess because so many people just let it go, The Strand doesn’t think its a problem.
I know that amongst bloggers its a not-secret, I started hearing about it when I first began blogging in 2008. However I had gone to the Strand at least a dozen times before that and talked with others who had as well and no one had mentioned the Galley Shelf before a blogger did. Also I know of some publicists/marketing sorts who know the Strand sells them (as well as authors, editors, agents…), but I had figured (at least until BBC) that Publishers had some sort of…deal worked out with the Strand to allow it.
RRRJessicaJune 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm
I loved all your recaps, but I think I liked this one the best as I was most interested in the BBC.
I was very curious (for obviosu reaosns) about the keynote, and have read several all-over-the-map reviews of Ron Hogan’s talk, and have even seen him respond to at least one critic. Clearly, I am going to have to listren to his presentation myself to make a judgment.
So glad you guys finally got a chance to meet and that you both had an amazing time!
SerenaJune 3, 2010 at 6:52 am
Thanks so much for sharing all of your experiences at BEA…it helped highlight some things I missed. By the way, my favorite tote bag is the one you pictured. I just love it…and they had them in so many different colors!
jennygirlJune 3, 2010 at 10:05 am
Thank you very much for this wrap-up/informative post. Certainly a lot of food for thought. Glad you two had such a lovely time and I KNOW I can never visit the Strand without a wheelbarrow for my books. I was foaming at the mouth just at the photo.
Thanks for the wonderful post 🙂
MaryKJune 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Love the FAIL stamp! And the book storage room! Makes me wish I had the energy and drive to be a book blogger.
Moonsanity (Brenda)June 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm
I’m so far behind on reading your blog, but I had to say a couple of things while catching up– Thea: WAY TO GO attacking the breakfast food. I’m sure it was a tough battle. *snort*
I DID NOT need to see the pics of Strands however. OMG, I would never leave. I’d just pack a blanket and sleep in an aisle. BAHAHAHAHA
I loved seeing pics of you gals:)
Cindy(Cindy's Love Of Books)June 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm
Ana & Thea it was so great to meet you and talk with you. I loved your BEA recap. Really thinking that if I go to BEA next year that I will have to do the BBC. I missed out on a great event it seems.
ChristineJune 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm
What a lovely recap of the event! Even though I’m in the industry, I wasn’t able to attend (it’s mostly editorial and marketing and publicity and subrights that gets to attend these sorts of things).
That being said, is that JELLICOE ROAD I spot in your pile of Strand titles? Ohemgee. Awesome book. You guys are going to LOVE it!
Bella F.June 4, 2010 at 4:24 am
note to self: MUST visit The Strand bookshop; add to bucket list 🙂
CindyJune 5, 2010 at 9:28 am
Awesome recap’ ! I’m amazed at the number of bboks you were carrying… That says a LOT of reviews in the future! 😉
MichelleJune 8, 2010 at 4:15 am
DUDE! You guys rock my world. Seriously, rock it!
I didn’t really get to see any of the panels at BBC so thanks for this awesome comprehensive recap.
I have to say, as much as I understand the reasons for BEA being nin NYC I wish it was somewhere more cost effectivel Say, Duluth or someplace like that. Because, even with me living 4 hours away I too am bleeding money as a result of this trip. I CAN’T even imagine the west coast/UK factor in it all. **head spins**
Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming and joining us at BBC. It was fabulous to meet you and your insights were excellent and valuable additions!
Are you saving up to come next year? LOL
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JennJanuary 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Recently found your blog and love it! Thank you for sharing your love of books, and providing such great info and including helpful links to so many other delightful blogs. Reading about reading books… biblio-bliss 🙂