My Adventures in Los Angeles at BEA: Part II

So many things to say … 

I’m traveling home (connecting in Charlotte) from the conference and BookExpo in Los Angeles. Just like last year, BEA was insane. So many people wheeling and dealing. “Buy this. Sell that. Did you see that one book? Is it hot in here or just me?” As usual, there were plenty of free books around for attendees (advanced reader copies) that I snatched up for future reading.  Score.



Before I forget them or lose my notes, here are some things I learned at the conference and expo that I want to pass on to other writers.

Concerning memoir and femoir, agent Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management said that she wants to see a full book proposal with a memoir and not the full text, continuing the neverending debate on whether you treat memoir like nonfiction or fiction regarding submission instructions. This just seems to vary with every agent, so it seems like you may have to do both, which sucks. Also, there was some subtle memoir bashing at the conference because, frankly, there is just too many of them out there.

Concerning YA and MG, agent Andrea Brown of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency told conferencegoers that these markets are still red hot, and publishers really want to gobble up authors, which is why it’s very common to see a six-figure deal upfront for multiple books. That’s pretty cool.

Concerning queries and submissions, Brown also had some more advice. She advised those writers who doubt their query writing skills to include the first page (yes, just the first page) with their query. She encouraged writers to write the query and paste the first page below the query in the body of the e-mail. Although this goes against the “Submit how the agent tells you to” advice, I kind of liked this tip. It’s only one page, and it may show that you know how to write and hook in an audience quickly. Interesting tip, and you rarely hear something like this from an agent.

Concerning water pipes, was anyone else staying at the Historic Mayfair Hotel downtown? This hotel’s faucets had no rhyme or reason as to what degree water temperature you would get at any time. Disaster.

Concerning graphic novels, they are in! I don’t know if this is your bag or not (and I have to admit that I don’t know much), but there was some buzz at the expo about these properties. Mike Kuciak of AEI Entertainment (now MK Samurai) was at the pitch slam, and he ended up sitting next to some literary agents and the three of them talked graphic novel business all afternoon.

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