5.11.2006

BEA

Is it worth it for writers to shell out the chas to attend the Book Expo?

No.
Don't go.
Don't even think about it.

First, editors don't go to BEA. SALES people go to BEA, and booksellers. I can't tell you how much sales people hate being accosted by writers stalking a big break particularly if the sales guys are stalking wary bookbuyers coming down the aisle.

Second, BEA will break your heart. This is a show that covers a gazillion square feet and almost every publisher in the known universe brings a fair proportion of everything they've published to display. It's like being a decent looking girl and going to the Miss America pageant...what looked ok at home suddenly isn't quite so fun.

Third, any stray agents at BEA are REALLY not there to meet you. They are there to talk to (amazingly) the SALES guys, the foreign rights people, and bookstore people. The last thing I want to do is be accosted in the aisle by someone who just knows I'm the right person for the 195,000 word novel he has in his backpack.

There are places agents and editors go to meet writers. They are called writing conferences. BEA is a trade show.

BEA is next week in DC. Miss Snark is attending so the blog will be on hiatus then, but don't worry quite yet...there's a week of nitwittery yet to come.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

What??? No Miss Snark for a week? So I'll have to fill my time by, um, writing? Gah.

Anonymous said...

So you'll be at BEA in D.C.!
SQUEEEEE!
I'll soooo be there too!
ooh, ooh, I know.
I'll could, like, bring my ms.
It'll just take a minute, honest.
(dodges clue bullet madly)
--Nitwit of the Day

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark stares at Anon 2.
She loads the clue gun again.
Aiming, she fires off a gerund.
Reloading, she fires off a clue.
Relenting, she boxes Anon's ears.

Manic Mom said...

Good thing you told us not to go because I'm fresh outta CHAS! LOL.

Dave Kuzminski said...

I've given serious consideration to attending, but not to sell a manuscript to an agent or publisher, but to see what agents/agencies attend to gain a better perspective on which ones are working the hardest since P&E does issue opinions rating agents. On the other hand, I've wondered if there's a way to obtain a list of who attended.

Anonymous said...

But let's say you are a published writer, and you have an agent, and you have several books out by a major NY house. Is it worth it to go then, Miss Snark?

Anonymous said...

well if your pub is paying your way and throwing you fabulous dinners and toasting you with champagne, of COURSE you should go!

and it is fun to be on the show floor and get schwag.

but if you have to pony up your own chas, it isn't worth it.

Susan Stinson said...

I love this answer. I've been to the BEA twice because my small publishers thought I should go, and I was miserable. Not only were there photo ops with Barney and shirtless construction workers, there was a guy walking around with a toilet seat on his head. It had the temporary effect of dimming my ardent devotion to books.

Although, the second time, I had some pretty great conversations which made it all worth it.

Anonymous said...

And Miss Snark will be wearing....

Anonymous said...

Published writers who have agents and several books out by major NY houses don't go to conferences. They sit on their yachts drinking champagne out of high-heeled shoes all day. Duh.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,
Thanks so much for this post! I live in the DC area and had felt a small twinge of guilt for being a cheapskate and not going.

Bonnie Shimko said...

I went when it was in L.A. because I was already out there for an award. My agent suggested I go for kicks. It really was a lot of fun. Of course, my idea of a good time is reading PW from cover to cover, so I was totally starstruck. I gawked at Jonathan Galassi like Miss Snark would ogle Mr. Clooney.

Delilah said...

I'm know I'm going to get the snarky-DT's when she's gone. Is there a remedy?

tess gerritsen said...

I've been to BEA. Except for the chance to snag some free galleys, and sit in on some interesting lectures, I found it overwhelming and -- yes -- rather depressing. Because there are so many books on display, and you realize what a hell of a lot of competition you face as an author.

Anonymous said...

Let me know if you'd like some restaurant recommendations for D.C.! I'd be happy to post them.

Of course, having been to conferences (not necessarily BookExpo), you're probably going to be doing a lot of room service when you drag yourself back to the hotel...

Who's taking care of KillerYap whilst you're away? Is it Grandma Snark?

Diana Peterfreund said...

I live in DC and I want some restaurant recs -- I've had the worst luck here.

I'll also be at BEA, where I'll be signing ARCs of my debut.

Anonymous said...

My agent says she's going to BEA to pitch my book. But based on what's been said here about sales people, I'm not sure if this is the right place to pitch anything at all. Hmm. I'll have to ask her.

Anonymous said...

I went to BEA in Chicago in 2004 (I also saw the guy wearing the toilet seat). It was part of a cross-country road trip to "find" myself, and I wasn't interested in meeting agents. I went to some of the workshops and collected enough free books to cover the price of admission, and had a great story to tell to my writing friends back home. It was definitely an eye-opener, and humbling, but it gave me a great sense of perspective as someone looking for an agent and a deal. If I hadn't been passing through the area already, though, I wouldn't have gone.

NĂ© said...

This was entertaining...
comment not related to the post, but PBW has a "Turnabout" entry from May 9 *if writers wrote query rejections*
http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2006/05/turnabout.html

BuffySquirrel said...

Snarklings, invest in ear defenders now!

A. C. Crispin said...

I'll be at BEA on Saturday, tote bag in hand, on the prowl for free books.

(I've been to BEA before, so I know what it's like. I live in the DC area, so it just seemed like a fun way to spend Saturday.)

I'll probably be wearing my Writer Beware golf shirt with the familiar caped goldfish logo, so if you spot me, Miss Snark, and want to go get a latte, I'd be delighted. We could talk about how wonderful your blog is, and how cute Mr. Clooney looked wearing that long grey beard in O Brother Where Art Thou?

You have my word that I will not compromise your "cloak," Miss Snark.

(Writer Beware has bigger secrets even than Miss Snark's True Identity -- really! and we are trustworthy about not revealing them. Just think of us as being as closed-mouthed as healthy quahogs.)

I will probably be hanging around the HarperCollins booth at least some of the time, as they're my current publisher. I already have a very nice agent, whom I've had for nearly 25 years. (Wow, time flies when you're having fun!)

Anyway, have a safe and prosperous BEA trip, Miss Snark.

-Ann C. Crispin

Garnigal said...

Is it worth it for readers to go the the Book Expo?

I've heard the swag is awesome...

BitchySmurf said...

If you enjoy paying money to stare poorly set up displays of books and get jostled by lots of people, then by all means head to BEA for the fun of it.

Of course there are author signings and you get free books, but that's only fun if there are authors who you are interested in on the schedule.

Anonymous said...

This came from WRITER'S MARKET (and they seem to think EVERYONE should go--not that I agree):

BEA/WDB WRITER'S CONFERENCE IN MAY


Once again, BookExpo America and Writer's Digest Books have teamed up for The BookExpo America/Writer's Digest Books Writer's Conference—this year in Washington, DC, at the Washington Convention Center.

There will be many agents, editors and authors speaking, including Jerry B. Jenkins (bestselling co-author of the Left Behind series), Michael Cader (editor of the daily Publishers Lunch newsletter), Kristin Godsey (editor of Writer's Digest magazine), and yours truly.

As always, this conference will be a remarkable opportunity to network with the movers and shakers of the publishing industry while learning how to get your writing published. Plus, you'll have an opportunity to pitch your book to an agent and get instant feedback.

Anonymous said...

So that blow to the ear was "instant feedback?"
Hey, and I saved the fare to D.C. too.
anon 2

Anonymous said...

That guy with the toilet seat around his neck is there every year. SOB. I'm going to have to face him again next week. SOB SOB SOB. I'll be packing flagons of vodka.

Anonymous said...

BEA is an industry trade show and it's not meant for the general public. The salespeople in the publishers' booths are there to see people from bookstores, folks in the industry, & even librarians. I think bookfairs/festivals are better for the general public.

Devra said...

I realize I am coming in late on the game. Forgive me but the beer line was really long, then I needed to find my seat...

We discovered if you belong to the Author's Guild they have discounted tickets. We were able to go to the BEA for fifty dollars. We certainly picked up at least that much in shwag!