What Writers Can Learn From BEA14

Posted by May 29th, 2014

BEA 14 collage

BEA14 is kicking off in earnest today in New York City, and, as always, it is quite an adventure for those of us who go to the show.

Book Expo America (BEA) is the preeminent publishing trade show and conference in the US. Booksellers, educators, publishers, authors, and librarians come from all over the world to take the pulse of the publishing business each may. The gathering is held at the Javits Center in NYC, with exhibits on new innovations in digital publishing technologies, panel discussions on readers’ buying habits, dozens of author signings, and much, much more. This year there is also a consumer day for kid and adult readers on Saturday, May 31, called The Book Con.

Stephen King billboardAs you can see from the photos above, publishers use BEA as an opportunity to build buzz about their exciting upcoming releases. When I visited BEA14 yesterday, exhibitors were still setting up, but already enormous banners were hanging from the rafters, showcasing new titles from Lisa Scottoline, Jodi Picoult, and David Mitchell, as well as debut books like the LET’S GET LOST, which was also getting a lot of buzz at RT14. I also spotted a big announcement for Lena Dunham’s NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, coming out from the HBO star in October. Outside the Javits Center was a big electronic billboard featuring releases like the the new Stephen King book, Mr. Mercedes.

BEA is a big part of traditional publishing. But if you aren’t one of the authors signing books or one of the fans getting your new books signed, what does BEA14 have to do with you and your writing?

Following the news from BEA14 is one of the best ways I can think of to learn about what’s happening in the publishing business. Head over to Twitter and follow the #BEA14 hashtag to see what insights folks are sharing about reader engagement from the panel discussions and author talks. Check out what the marketing teams at the publishers are tweeting: the books they are promoting will give you a great sense of what types of titles editors have acquired in the last year. You’ll find lots of photos of giveaways (sometimes called “galleybrags”), which will help you to learn about trends in book cover design. Take a look around the BEA14 Conference Schedule to find out more about the ways the publishing industry is changing.

Another fun thing a lot of publishers are doing at this year’s BEA is offering galley giveaways to people unable to attend the show, so look for social media announcements about those, too.

And if you are at BEA14? Be sure and wave at us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or the Book Country Discussion Boards. We’d love to hear about your BEA14 adventures!

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