quirk books

A Power Reader Goes to Book Expo America, Part 3

Last month I went to Book Expo America. Here’s my last (and belated) post about the event, where there are writing contests and some final thoughts.

The Contests!

Harlequin is having a contest where they are offering a publishing contract to the winner. And Quirk Books (of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fame) has a new contest where they are looking for love stories. Unlike Harlequin, however, something tells me that their love stories will have something… Quirk-y about them.

LoveStoryContest_postcard_WEB1 (1)
My vote is on shark meets pirate.

Final Observations: Trending and the Future

Advance reader copies didn’t seem to be as widespread. Instead, the main freebie took the form of an actual book. Some were titles with an upcoming release date. Others were semi-recent titles with corresponding author signings. One standout in that regard was a signing for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which was published in 2011. That didn’t stop the line from extending way past the booth. Since books themselves are cheaper than ARCs to manufacture (and many readers would prefer a “real book” rather than a marketing tool), this seems like a positive direction. Readers can still get books before any one else. And authors who have had hits in the previous year (like  with Peregrine‘s signing) can connect with fans and new potential readers.

Another element that seemed to be lacking was the presence of digital reading. Even though e-book sales keep growing, I didn’t see much geared toward e-books. Perhaps that may be because an in-person event equals physical manifestations of content. You wouldn’t go to Coachella and spend much time talking about your Spotify playlist, for example.

Power Reader Day is still a work in progress. Not all genres may benefit from a public day. Romance and YA were booming with events, along with commercial fiction and nonfiction. It may take longer for other genres to take hold.

There is still an element of the controlled chaos that is more chaotic than controlled. The tone of Power Reader day was mixed, with author signings, friendly editors, and publicity directors clashing with empty booths, sterile displays, and stone-faced representatives who didn’t want to speak to people with green badges.

Word on the street is that some publishers are still ambivalent about the public entering a formerly industry-only event. Many publishers, however, got the gist of the Power Reader Day, understanding the power of the consumer and making human connections with their brands.

It is understandable though how publishers want to utilize their precious BEA time by connecting with their regular contacts: teachers, librarians, and booksellers, all who support the book business and help curate tastes for the reading public. And that larger level of understanding is not same as the individual consumer.

Hopefully, next year’s BEA will continue to engage industry members and the public with new books and media. Until then, I’ll be waiting—and reading.

Other BEA 2013 posts: Part 1 | Part 2

A Power Reader Goes to Book Expo America, Part 2

The exhibitors at BEA came in all forms. Here are some of the highlights:

The Ellora’s Cave booth was a definite “expect the unexpected” moment. They were the kings of swag, with coasters, tote bags, jar grippers, print editions of their anthologies, and very to-the-point door hangers.

'Do not disturb' is so passe.
“Do not disturb” is so passé.

They also had Ellora’s Cave 2014 calendars available. But to get them, you had to meet the calendar models.

Where no erotica reader has gone before.

Three of the models were there, and they signed calendars, took pictures, and answered my questions. I was burning with *ahem* curiosity and wanted to know more about what it was like to be a Caveman. Unlike other book cover models, the Ellora’s Cavemen represent Ellora’s Cave titles only, with one Caveman doing about six or seven shoots for their covers—in this year alone. They also have a presence at events like Book Expo America.

And what a presence it was.

Next, we chatted with reps from New York supermarket mainstay Zabar’s, as they were interested in expanding their catering market… and sharing cinnamon and chocolate rugelach along the way.

Other fun exhibitor moments and books included:

  • A cute cozy mystery series set in Bath, England from UK publisher Accent Press.
  • A conversation about natural disasters with a rep from Hachette… where I also learned that lady blog Jezebel is coming out with an encyclopedia.
jezebel book
Your main form of procrastination: now in book form.
  • Academic publishers can totally be cool, as the University of Chicago Press showed with some gorgeous new editions of the ancient Greek plays.
  • The American Girl rep letting us indulge in our childhood as Priscilla and I remembered our favorite dolls. Mine is Samantha, forever and always.
Fierce and flawless.

Finally, I was mad about the BEA-themed Mad Libs that were provided by Penguin. Here are some in the bathroom:

In the next (and last) post, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on BEA and share some writing contests!

Other BEA 2013 Posts: Part 1 | Part 3

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