Wanted to post a couple of notes from BEA (BookExpo America), which took place this past weekend. The Expo part runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday. BEA holds educational sessions on Thursday, as does the ABA who run their “Day of Education”. Hence, I call it “Day 0″.
The sessions are pretty hit or miss. Some are good, some are just dreadful, and few are really great. Because I tweeted enough about the really awful ones, let me focus on some of the good ones.
Tim O’Shaughnessy from Living Social gave a talk about what publishers need to think about when it comes to social media. Yawn, right? No, not really. He brought up a lot of interesting ways to think about using social media to talk about books, certainly much of it using applications created by Living Social like Visual Bookshelf. However, it was stuff that a lot of the people in the room didn’t realize was possible. I definitely plan on reconnecting with Tim and his crew to talk about promotions for some of my upcoming titles.
Next, we had a lull in the interesting presentation department until the Tina Brown CEO roundtable. What a treat this was! An intelligent, sharp and often controversial woman talking publishing with the CEOs of Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Perseus, and HarperCollins. It was interesting to hear their perspectives – for instance, when asked what they felt was the best way to move books, each agreed that nothing beats front of store placement, because of the visibility with customers and the “industry buzz” it delivers. It beats any review, NY Times add, or even (gasp) social media. Not sure that applies to all books across the board, but it certainly echoes my feeling about the importance of out of section placement (in tech, we don’t often get front of store play).
The neatest part? Tina had mentioned that she was losing her voice and would be replaced at sometime in the presentation with her husband, publishing legend Harry Evans. Sure enough, just after the mid-point of the session, Harry came on stage to much applause and seamlessly picked up where his wife left off.
The last session was the Editor’s buzz picks. 6 editors from various trade houses got up and talked about their favorite book for fall. It was so much fun to hear these editors who have worked so closely with their authors on these projects talk so eloquently and passionately about their projects. The best part here was that 4 of the 6 books were available in galleys outside the room, and I was able to snag the 5th book at a signing on Friday. My next BEA post will be on these and other books that *I* think are buzz worthy.