Posts tagged Book Expo America
Posts tagged Book Expo America
BEA vs Book Con
I have been attending Book Expo America for the pas few years. Each one has been a delight of authors and free books, but this year’s BEA had a new twist: BookCon. I am saddened to have to say this, but I think BookCon may ruin BEA.
I overheard someone talking the numbers. Last year BEA had around 2,000 attendees. This year BookCon brought it up to 8,000. While that might be good for the convention and enticing autors to come to the show, the problem is they cut the show floor in half for the last day to corral the BookCon people to one side. That means that all those 6,000 extra people were shoved into a much smaller space. Things like autographing lines suddenly became autographing battlefields. Organizers were threatening attendees with being ejected from the con if they didn’t clear paths for people to walk as they were a giant fire hazard. Of course they wouldn’t let people line up early because there was NO ROOM. Most of the new fans were teenagers and more than once I overheard them say they were willing to shove people out of the way to get to the author they wanted.The attitude between the BookConners and the BEAers became a bit hostile.
Many of the professionals I spoke with voiced disappointment to anger over the inclusion of so many non-professionals. You can see from some of the pictures above my point. The first picture of the show floor shows an aisle where people can leisurely walk, talk with dealers, and see everything pretty easily. The next 2 pics of the show floor are from BookCon before it started to get really bad. there were times where I became trapped in the crowd as I was trying to get from one end of a booth to another. My friend and I wanted to see Libba Bray and I swear the rabid nature of the crowd as they swarmed the autographing line scared us off. While BookCon seemed like an overflowing anthill of pushy fans the BEA side was a ghost town. I think everything could have been better handled by less tickets sold, better line management, and perhaps having authors do 2 signings: 1 on BookCon side and 1 on BEA side, so that the two groups could stay separate and perhaps not crowd up.
All that said there are still unfortunate people on the BEA side as well. One woman, during the Neil Patrick Harris line used her friend in a wheelchair to push her way into the front of the line, shoved my friend out of the way so she could take pictures, and stole another woman’s book to get signed. Such awfulness is not the norm, but sadly an occasional part of going to BEA. I don’t want to be all negative. BEA is a wonderful time when things go right. The authors are always so wonderful and appreciative of their fans and the books you end up taking home can feed your reading addiction for a year.
If you do decide to go next year just keep in mind your manners and sharpen your elbows.
Today Neil Gaiman re-awoke my artistic heart.
He spoke at Book Expo America about his two new books that are coming out (Fortunately, The Milk & The Ocean at the end of the Lane) and “Why Fiction is Dangerous. Much of the talk was anecdotal about his reasons behind writing the books.
Eloquent as always he described feeling guilty about The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. The plot of the book centers on how a little boy thought his father was boring and traded him away only to find out getting him back wouldn’t be so easy. The book became very popular and people began giving it to fathers as presents. Gaiman felt this was giving fathers the wrong message and wanted to write a book that made dads proud. Writing tidbits of story here and there he eventually came up with Fortunately, The Milk, the story of a father who had a very trying time buying milk (including being kidnapped by aliens and pirates)
Neil also discussed The Ocean at the end of the Lane. It was sparked by a story that Neil’s father told him of when he was a 7 year old boy. A lodger from South Africa came to stay with them at the time and had smuggled all of his friends money out of the country for them since it had been illegal at the time. He made the mistake of taking all of the money to Brighton and losing at a casino there. The man was so distraught he stole Neil’s father’s car, drove it to the end of the lane, and shot himself. This story bothered him. The question of how things change from childhood memories and how much we forget or misremember evolved into a short story. He continued to write and after a while he looked down at his short story and discovered it was a novelette; then novella. Eventually it grew to novel length and he sent it along to his editor with the note: “I appear to have written a novel. I hope you don’t mind.”
The real heart of the discussion was “Why is Fiction Dangerous”. Neil gave us a few humorous stories about being a child and being influenced by nonfiction books to do projects that would eventually get him in trouble. (such as using beet root to dye all of his father’s white shirts red) But that is why non-fiction is dangerous. Fiction is dangerous because “It shows people that the world doesn’t have to be like it is now.” He told a story about going to a science-fiction convention in China. Previously China had been very disapproving of science fiction and fantasy; saying that it was subversive. Neil asked one of the show runners why they had decided to suddenly promote science fiction. The man replied that China is very good at making things. People bring them things like iPods and phones and they MAKE them, but they don’t innovate. They don’t invent. they sent people to America and asked some of the big tech companies questions to find out where their inspiration came from. They found that almost everyone across the board read sci-fi and fantasy growing up. Thus if China was to promote more growth in that area they would have to embrace these types of fiction. Encouraging people to read fiction allows us to dream of worlds to come and grow beyond what we have already.
The discussion closed with a question and answer period and this was where I really felt moved. Neil talked about inspiration, rejection, trials and errors, and everything in between.I often get sidetracked and disheartened about my writing and art. I worry about how to start, how to finish, how it will be received and where to go from there. Neil voiced his own parallel feelings. This from a man who has been writing his whole life and has achieved a large amount of success. Every time I hear Neil talk he inspires me once again. I had been going through a rough patch in my work lately. I have plenty of work to do (some of it paying even) and a whole lot of self doubt which was holding me back. After today’s talk it made me very aware that I hold myself back. I tell myself I am not good enough before I even try to do anything.It is something I have heard many artists and writers say and we need to STOP IT. Just do. Whatever you want to do just do it. If you make a mistake let it be a learning experience and not a boat anchor. Don’t let your doubts weigh you down.
At the end of the talk he gave everyone copies of Fortunately, The Milk & Make Good Art. If you are someone who creates ANYTHING and haven’t read Make Good Art, you are doing yourself a disservice. It is a wonderful book and I think I will have to make a giant poster of it to put over my workspace. This way I always remember to be inspired and leave the negative feelings about my work at the door.
Thank you Neil, for understanding and putting into words what every artist needs to hear.
I hung out with Tardar Sauce today!
Every year I go to Book Expo America at the Jacob Javits Center. I wasn’t terribly excited about this years convention though because I only had a few authors I wanted to see. To my great surprise, one of the internets biggest celebrities was making an appearance. GRUMPY CAT!!!!!
I t is ridiculous how excited I was to meet a cat. I was not alone. The line had over 200 people in it. I don’;t know how little Tardar Sauce pout up with it. She was so well behaved. At one point she wanted to get up and socialize and her owner just pet her a little and she settled down on her bed again. What a sweet little cat.
I wish she had kittens so I could have a tiny judgmental kitten army to do my bidding.
Until this year, Book Expo America (BEA) has been an industry only convention. I have been lucky enough to get to go through my jobs and school, but I realize that if I had not been involved in the book industry I would have never known about BEA. This year they opened the doors to the public and I am not sure how many people found out. Just in case they do it again I thought it might be good to let you guys know what it is about.
FREE BOOKS! (and networking with the book industry…)
The publishers and authors that attend BEA usually promote a ton of books and hand out galley copies. Most of the time the authors are there to sign them. As you can see below I met a ton of cool people:
Tim Gunn Chris Colfer
Jonathan Mayberry Erin Morgenstern
Bruce DeSilva Kenneth Wishnia
Jeff Kinney Chris Giarusso
Libba Bray Stacy London
Most of the books I brought home:
The convention is still geared toward professionals and you will see a ton of people sitting down to chat about deals and promoting. Many of the vendors will be for products that help booksellers and libraries, but you can still have a great time as a non-professional.
There are a few lessons I would like to leave you with to keep in mind for Book Expo 2013:
1. Bring something with wheels to haul your books home. Your back will thank you.
2. Bring your own food. the Jacob Javits Center Food Court is expensive.
3. Get there early. A lot of vendors run out of free stuff in the afternoon.
4. Authors are just as excited as you are. Most of them are really nice and humble people. Treat them right. :)
5. Have Fun!