Dear Miss Snark,
What do literary agents do at Book Expo? Seriously. I have a book on submission and am wondering if this is a big pitch-fest to editors over gin at the Watergate lounge. How much fun can those endless aisles of new units and product really be? The good stuff happens at night, right?
Well, I don't know what anyone else did at BEA but I work my ass off. First, I visit every publisher that has a book of mine and chat up the sales guys and gals. I visit the distributors of small presses where I have books, and chat up those guys too. This can take a while cause they're about as interested in talking to me as I am in talking to authors...ie not. They're interested in talking to library buyers and bookstore buyers. I have to be pretty careful not to interfere in that so it can take a couple passes by a booth to get some talk time.
Then I go look at everything out there. I find all sorts of people doing interesting and wonderful things and I chat with them, pick up a catalog and find out who does the acquisitions. I never pitch. I just chat.
Then of course, I run into people on the floor who are doing exactly what I'm doing. I run into people I haven't seen in years and we clog up the aisles throwing ourselves on each other and yapping about how great we all look. Then we complain about everything for twenty minutes and then we swirl off.
Some publishers do bring editors and some of them set up appiontments. I meet maybe six over the course of my time there, sometimes less. It's a good time for face to face with editors from out of town.
Lots of my colleagues are doing foreign rights at BEA, but I farm all that stuff out so someone else is working while I'm just wandering around.
And yes, the parties are at night but Miss Snark, as we all know, is all business and would never EVER be caught in the embrace of Bat Segundo anywhere near Dupont Circle, all rumors and photos to the contrary.