Day one of the show. I spent some time hanging out at the F+W booth (F+W is Writer's Digest's parent company.), chatting with the authors before their signings. Another shout out to Christina Katz, author of Writers Mama, Scott Francis author of Monster Spotter's Guide to North America (HOW Books) a must-read for all monster fans and Phil Sexton, author of the fall release Writer's Digest Book, Literary Legends. I'm especially psyched about the Literary Legends book since it's a walk through the archives of Writer's Digest magazine (close to my heart, of course).
And I nabbed a nifty, black Writer's Digest/ Literary Legends canvas tote bag, which took a bit of finagaling on my part since they went going fast. For those of you who haven't been, BEA is free-giveaway land and many publishing houses were giving out free totes (ours being the coolest.)
I sat in on a great panel with the editors of new imprints: Jonathan Karp, editor of the nonfiction imprint Twelve; Pamela Dorman, editor of the new Harper Collins imprint for women over 35, Voice; Karen Murgalo, editor of Springboard Press which focuses on narrative nonfiction for baby boomers; and Julie Grau, co-editor of Random House imprint Spiegel & Grau, focusing on edgy, literary fiction; and conservative punditrix Mary Matalin was there too talking about her imprint, although she's not functioning in a true editorial capacity.
First of all--wow, how cool would it be to have your own literary imprint, and how do I get one? According to the panel, you do this by having a track record of proving you have a "nose" for what's going to sell in the marketplace. I've heard about having a "nose" for perfume, and wine but apparently a select few are especially gifted for sniffing out good books, as well.
Second, how and why does a new imprint come into existence? Because editors see an opportunity to publish books in a market that's being under-served. New imprints mean new opportunities for writers, because editors without a backlist need to actively seek out the new. Anyway, this session was a refreshing breath of optimism that publishing is always evolving, and these editors were passionate about seeking out great, new writers, which makes me happy.
One more serendipitious moment for me at the show was running into a fabu photographer, Sally Wiener Grotta, who's doing a series of author photos called the Wordsmith Project to raise money for the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund. Sally's asking for nominations of writers to photograph for the project, you can find more info at www.WordsmithsProject.com. That very day, I was complaining about not being able to find good photos of writers for the magazine, and here I meet Sally. You never know who or what you're going to find at Book Expo America--that's the fun part.
(p.s. New York is like a sauna right now, and no offense, New York, but you're very cheap with the A/C)