have just finished slogging through the pile of stuff I amassed at this year's BEA. I know, I know -- the show was in late May, but I prefer to think that I'm such a busy, successful writer, I don't have time to plow through mundane administrative chores.
Can anyone spell D-I-V-A?
Actually, I do want to share some useful albeit sensitive information I found in one of the daily BEA editions of Publishers Weekly. Random publishers (not Random House Publishers) were asked to comment on their most memorable BEA moments. This one was all too familiar:
"If our booth is visited by an enthusiastic browser who establishes eye contact promptly, we know we're being approached by an unpublished writer, not a bookstore buyer. A typical exchange goes like this:
Unpublished Author: Would you like to publish my erotic novel?
Me: Are you aware that we are an evangelical Christian publishing house?
UA: Oh, really? Well...
Me: [lengthy silence]
UA: [leaning forward and lowering voice] Actually, this work just happens to be a deeply spiritual erotic novel."
I've not been in that exact situation at BEA, but I certainly have in other "take a chance on me" exchanges that just might have evolved into my Big Break (or so I fantasized). There's nothing more deflating to an author's confidence than knowing he's just exposed himself as a complete amateur, like the author described in the above exchange. Many new authors don't realize that BEA is a book sellers' trade show attended by professionals looking to buy -- not necessarily to publish -- the literary latest and greatest. It is not the place for a hopeful author to rent very pricey exhibit space, wait for book buyers to spot his title cover, and immediately place an order for 100. Yet each time I attend BEA, I see more and more of them set up in the Independent Authors pavilion, waiting patiently to be discovered. I've been there; I've done the target-market convention or trade show where I'm the only exhibitor in the hall with just one product on the white tablecloth covering my expensive display table. My neighboring vendors asked why I was there, and made a couple of pity purchases. The memory makes me cringe.
I am truly not disparaging these authors or BEA. I just want newbies to realize that precious publicity dollars are better invested in a less expensive, more promising event to showcase their new work. Join my mailing list (email email@example.com and put "add me to mailing list" in the subject line)and I'll tell you how to make BEA work for you for relative peanuts) Do the homework. Knowledge is power.
Causes Cynthia Polansky Supports
- Food Animal Concerns Trust
- Farm Sanctuary
- The New England Anti-Vivisection Society
- Physicians'Committee for Responsible...