Books, Books, and more Books!

This past weekend Emily and I attended BookExpo America at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This was my first BEA, and let me tell you, I hope it is not my last.

I love books. If my husband would let me, I would line all the available wall space in my house with shelves for books. It isn’t just that I like reading them (which of course is the biggest part of my love), but I like LOOKING at them. Something about looking at a big shelf full of books sets me at ease… makes me feel at home. It is no surprise that I love libraries and bookstores. So when I walked though those convention doors I swear I started drooling. I think Emily had to re-attach my lower jaw for me.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, BookExpo America, as described on its website, “combines the largest selection of English language titles on the planet with special industry and author events and unparalleled educational content to create a dynamic environment for networking, sourcing and relationship building.”

Ummm…okay. In layman’s terms? It is a place where publishers and authors can promote their books to booksellers. It is a place where booksellers make large orders for new inventory. It is a place where booklovers, well, drool a little bit. Wikipedia has a pretty good description.stickers

Emily and I attended with the focus of letting authors know about our fabulous Autographed By The Author stickers. We carried with us wide bookmarks (info on Wax on one side, info on the stickers on the other) on which were taped some stickers as samples. We must have handed out hundreds and connected with myriad authors from all genres. We indulged and waited in lines for signed books by Barbara Walters, Philippa Gregory, and (one of my favorite childrens’ authors) Laurie Keller.Arianna Huffington's Right is Wrong Laurie Keller's The Scrambled States of America Talent ShowEmily slid some sticker samples on Brooke Shields’ signing table and I gave some to Dave Barry. Arianna Huffington, whom we had met previously, took a few samples after inscribing a copy of her book to my three-year old who accompanied me on the second day (and I must say, he was a trouper). He spent the rest of the day chanting her name and asking me when we were going to see his new friend Arianna again.

Mary Castillo's SwitchcraftMichael Spradlin's The Youngest TemplarOther authors autographing at BEA were Linda Lael Miller, Susan Wiggs, Billie Jean King, William Shatner, Jackie Collins, who had a large tour bus parked in the back of one of the convention halls, and Wax clients Michael Spradlin, who was signing copies of his upcoming book The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail (Michael wrote a great blog post about his visit to BEA), Julia Quinn's The Lost Duke of WyndhamElizabeth Boyle's Love Letters from a DukeMary Castillo, Elizabeth Boyle (who also wrote a great blog post about it) and Julia Quinn (whose latest release, The Lost Duke of Wyndham, just hit #2 on the NYT Bestseller List)!

Connecting with all those authors was very important to us. We get more savvy, and sharpen the tools we use for our clients. Many authors are not sure where to begin when it comes to online promotion. They know a website shouldn’t just be something “pretty to look at,” but they don’t know where to start. That’s where we come in, and having the opportunity to hear the concerns of so many authors helps us help them better.

I came home with a pile of canvas tote bags and a ridiculous number of books. My husband, upon seeing the books piled up in our front hallway, had an instant bank account panic. “How many of these did you get for free?” he asked.

I giggled a little hysterically, and replied, “ALL OF THEM!”

4 thoughts on “Books, Books, and more Books!

  1. OMGosh. This is reader nirvana. After reading your blog, I ran up to BEA’s site. I would have to be an author (meaning an editor would have to buy my book and agree to have it come out before Christmas 2009), or a journalist, or Emily’s and Abi’s friend (??) in order to get into BEA 2009 in beautiful NYC.

    WHere are the pictures of all these books you managed to lug home. Luckily for you, you live right there, so no mailing costs were incurred.

    For RWA, I’m going to bring a prepaid box. Whatever doesn’t fit in there gets tossed. I’m going to be less obsessive over standing in long lines for books and have them autographed. I will do the rounds of the books signing, but watch more, collect less. (Famous last words, and all that.)

    DO you two have a room at the hotel, or are going to make the trek back to Berkeley every night?

    BTW, Wax author Elizabeth Boyle also signed away scads of books.

  2. Abi Bowling says:

    Yes, of course! Elizabeth was there. I feel so silly not having included her in the post. I didn’t actually see her (or Mary Castillo) as I was not on the premises when she was signing. I will edit my post.. uh.. post-haste!

    I did indeed take a photo of all those books, but thought maybe it was overkill to post it! There were, um, a lot. And yes, thank goodness I was able to take multiple trips to my car to unload my ‘stash.’

    Good plan for RWA! I will indeed be staying at the hotel, but Emily will be doing the trek back to the East Bay (it isn’t all THAT bad) so she can squeeze her little girl a little bit each day.

    Though I would LOVE to wait in the lines to collect books during the literacy signing, I will be working working working taking photos and videos of our clients. Hmmm… it isn’t as though I won’t have enough to read to last me for a long while!

  3. The video bit is such a cool idea! I’m always the one looking at each of the photos for my fav authors, and I doubt I’m alone in my obsess, er, fandom. So it’s great (er, I’m so sorry) that the two of you will be working through the signing (and not hoarding books like the rest of us). 🙂

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