Tips for Author Moms and Wannabe Writers by Robin Gorman Newman
This week, I had the opportunity to attend the annual BOOKEXPO AMERICA (BEA) at Javitz Center in NYC. It’s a four day shindig for both industry folk and consumer book lovers, and it’s always a blast.
In the past, I went with a distinct agenda as an author to either promote my existing dating books, How to Meet a Mensch in NY and How to Marry a Mensch and/or pitch a new book idea….if I had the opportunity connect with a literary agent and/or editor at a publishing company.
This year, I went with a truly open mind…..a desire to canvas the many publishing company booths to see who’s publishing what….to scout cool parenting or kids books for potential blog review or book excerpt…..to check out celebrities doing signings, etc. Instead, the universe stepped in….and I wound up attending on a day that the exhibit hall had yet to open. While my novelist friends and I were initially shocked and hugely disappointed, we went with the flow and spent the day attending workshops, networking, etc…..and it proved wildly informative, fun, and totally worthwhile…though a vastly different experience at BEA than I had anticipated.
One of the panel discussions we attended was the BEA EDITORS’ BUZZ 2013. This is where half a dozen editors have a coveted opportunity to present a new upcoming title chosen as a ‘buzz” book to the packed audience. You could see, hear and feel the thrill experienced by each editor as they related the story of how they came to discover the author or first read the submitted manuscript before deciding that it was a MUST publish book for them. Some of the editors recalled in past years sitting in the audience, never imaging that they would have the opportunity one day to be a panelist. This was a big deal because many in the room were librarians, book sellers, etc. who would help generate buzz for the books and place orders, and that is an objective for the publishers attending….to share their title list, with an eye toward creating best sellers, if at all possible.
While I have to admit, several of the non-fiction books did not appeal to me…at least as they were described, it did sound like they have merit. What struck me was the vastly different material and the passion of each of the authors for their subject matter. The authors didn’t appear on the panel, but I could imagine how strongly they felt about their work, given the magnitude of research required in the creation of their respective books.
The books that made the EDITORS BUZZ 2013 list are:
HITLERS FURIES: GERMAN WOMEN IN THE NAZI KILLING FIELDS by Wendy Lower
THE FACADES: A NOVEL by Eric Lundgren
THE AFFAIRS OF OTHERS: A NOVEL by Amy Grace Loyd
FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL: LIFE AND DEATH IN A STORM-RAVAGED HOSPITAL by Sheri Fink
KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR: THE PATH TO A BETTER WAY OF DEATH by Katy Butler
ALL JOY AND NO FUN: THE PARADOX OF MODERN PARENTHOOD by Jennifer Senior — this title, as you can imagine, totally caught my eye.
https://www.facebook.com/bookexpoamerica/app_383338591703984 — go here for live stream from BEA.
Another panel we attended was WHAT’S WORKING NOW: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, AUTHOR PLATFORMS & NEW SOCIAL MEDIA. This was very well done, and many good tips were shared. They include the following:
A successful author website is an extension of your voice. And, it’s a natural extension for any writer to blog. Make readers part of your conversation.
They recommended taking note of a site such as Wattpad, to help promote a book. It’s a major community for readers and writers.
Check out the site About.me and Knowem.com — to see how you are presented on the web.
Get familiar with Google Plus and consider using it.
Check out key words for your site or blog using Word Track or Market Samurai…see what comes up…and include key words on your site/blog.
To track stats on your site/blog, aside from Google Analytics, consider Statpressvisitors or the paid service Woopra. They advised that it’s smart to use two services to get the full picture.
In closing, visit Bookpromotion.com for oodles of info.
These panels are just a sampling of what BEA offered…and they were other specific conferences within BEA pertaining to audio books, blogging, digital publishing, and more.
The event is a very cool experience for anyone who adores books, and you have an opportunity to take many home, as they’re often given away….and to take photos with celebrities if you attend a signing. Celebs and well known authors like Jim Carey, Octavia Spencer, Chelsea Handler, Elizabeth Gilbert, Malcolm Gladwell were/are in attendance….and many more. It’s an adrenaline rush, and a totally immersive experience for book lover, writers, etc. Saturday, 6/1 is the final day.