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Book Expo America

Posted by Pam on May 28, 2009 at 9:01 AM in Authors and Illustrators
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Tomorrow I'll be on my way to New York City for Book Expo America (BEA). I've never been to this yearly event, but I understand that it's like being a kid in a candy store, except for bibliophiles. At BEA, the publishers reach out to booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and authors hoping to create buzz and collect purchase orders for their newest releases. They give away Advance Reader's Copies (ARC's) and posters and bookmarks in the hopes of launching the next Harry Potter series. Or in this economy, to make a decent profit.

Perhaps the best part of the whole convention is the author signings. Publishers bring in tons of authors to make appearances and sign books. There are thirty special signing tables set up where authors rotate through the schedule in one hour blocks, and there are also times when authors are signing at the publishers booths. The schedule is maddening. Will I be able to fit in both Scott Westerfeld and Katherine Paterson at 3:00 p.m. on Friday? Jon Scieszka at the Simon & Schuster booth and Rosemary Wells in the autograph area at 4:00? I'm already missing my favorite, Mo Willems, because I'll be on the bus ride up to the city. Ah, Mo. I shouldn't be greedy, having been to several of his signings and a few of his presentations, but a Mo opportunity shouldn't be missed if at all avoidable.

Adult books and their authors actually dominate BEA, but focusing on the children and teen books is one way for me to keep this event manageable. A few authors who are normally associated with adult books will be signing their children's titles, and I'm curious about the reception they will receive. For instance, James Patterson is signing at the Little, Brown booth, but for a new teen book Witch & Wizard. Meg Cabot is there, not for her adult books or the Princess Diaries series, but for her newer middle-grade series, Allie Finkle. Personally, I'd like to see both, but am less willing to wait in a long line than perhaps their other fans.

I have a list of authors and illustrators that I'm hoping to see including: Suzanne Collins, David Lubar, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Peter McCarty, Sharon Draper, Linda Park, Maureen Johnson, Jon Agee, Peter Reynolds, Barry Lyga, Bruce Lansky, and Jerry Pinkney. I have many other favorites who are signing books when I am otherwise engaged. How about you? Which authors and illustrators you would want to meet?


adrienne writes...

The first time I went to BEA, I tried to follow a schedule, but every time I've been since, I just go with a let's-see-what-happens mentality. If you wander around, you can't help but run into something interesting. I wish I was going this year--have fun!

Gina writes...

I'm jealous, Pam, and I hope you have an amazing time. I've been to BEA a couple times, and both times left with my weight in books and only vague memories of what just happened.

Cheryl Whitmore Stevens writes...

Can't wait to get there. My husband is coming too, I don't think he knows what he's getting into! I would really like to see Neil Gaiman, but I'm betting there will be a VERY long line for him.
Have fun

Melissa (Book Nut) writes...

Sigh. At this point, just about anyone, since NO ONE (I like) ever comes to Kansas. But then, living in Kansas is the reason I can't get to BEA. So, I guess I'm just stuck. Isn't there something about once you arrive in Kansas, it's bloody hard to get out??

Have fun, Pam. And blog about it for us schleps who can't get there. Please?

Pam writes...

I'll tell you about the best author signings and who's a real grouch. (Kidding, I'd never reveal that. Or would I?)

Ellen writes...

I'm a children's bookseller, just home from BEA. It was a wonderful show, though downsized from past years (in light of the tough economic times). There was lots of great energy everywhere. Fewer big, splashy parties this year, but the smaller, more personal get-togethers are actually much nicer for really getting to talk to people. There were lots of opportunities to hear (and sometimes talk with) some wonderful authors: Julie Andrews, Meg Cabot, Tomie, Jerry Pinkney, Jane Yolen, Mark Teague, Brian Selznick, Judy Schachner, Holly Black,and on and on. Whew! And I got to sit with Neil Gaiman at a luncheon on Friday (at a table for I didn't have him all to myself, but still...)! WAHOO!!

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