USA, New York, NY ---Book Expo America, the annual gathering of the Publishing industry, opened with a bang this week at Jacob Javits Center in New York. The first day was a celebration of Italian publishing (what could be better?), the second day featured the opening of the Exhibit Hall and the commencement of exciting author appearances and signings, and also opening day of the New York inaugural event of BlogWorld & Digital Media Expo 2011, the first event of its kind in conjunction with BEA.
BlogWorld features an ambitious array of speakers during three days of workshops, panels, and networking opportunities for those interested in blogging, social networking, and related pursuits.
The first evening’s keynote panel, “Social Media Game Changers,” was comprised of three authors who used social media for promotion of their work. Gary Vaynerchuk (aka “Gary V,” rock star NJ wine sales entrepreneur and identifier/creator of the “Thank You Economy”), Jeffrey Hayzlett (business book author and speaker), and H.P. Mallory (highly successful independently published author, now a Random House author) shared their mistakes and great successes in using social media, and also predictions for the future of social and new media.
Along with the question of industry and consumer acceptance of digital media, once again, the question asked most frequently at BEA was answered: what is the state of independent publishing? Each panelist had much to say, but perhaps the most memorable response came from H.P. Mallory.
"What I would say about the (independent) publishing industry is that we’re definitely turning the (traditional) publishing industry on its head a little bit," Mallory said, "and what’s happening is not necessarily a negative thing. I think what happened with me was that, by getting a following and showing that I am selling 200,000 books on my own, I was able to show Random House, hey you don’t have to take out much of a risk on me. I already have the following. So, in a way, it’s a good way to bridge that traditional publishing/self-publishing gap. I know a lot of people are still interested in self-publishing inasmuch as it can lead them to a traditional contract. So, for me, at this point, I think the smartest thing is to have a foot in each camp, so I think self-publishing absolutely let me get there."
"The real question will be- because it is all about 'brand'- when actually having a book: does it have the cachet of the brand equity it does today?" Vaynershuck asked. "(When considering the financials), we might say 'wait a minute! I can make more if I do it myself than with XYZ, it then becomes a very fascinating debate."'
"Again, the debate then becomes about what you're trying to build," Hayzlette said. "For me I've got a couple of television shows I'm going to be doing and so forth, but I use this book as a business card as much as anything. I'm out doing speeches at x-thousand and so forth. I remember going to my publisher and their saying they'd give me 100 copies as for as the deal (to use for promotion). A hundred fricken copies! That doesn't even cover my relatives! So I said, 'I want to buy 10,000 copies,' and they were, like, well whaddya gonna do with them? I'm gonna sell them, I said. Well, I also need some to give away because I can do a letter out to 1,000 CEO's and book 17 speeches from that. And that's a lot of money, and that's well worth it to me. So I had to go and buy those through a distributor, and that's ridiculous."
Publishing-savvy, talented author/speaker + Independent publishing = control of great opportunities. 'Nuff said.
Also new to BEA this year is the Gift Shop Pavilion. This area features non- items that are critical to the book selling industry, including products such as bookmarks, cards, stationary, journals, craft items, reading glasses, writing instruments, reading lights, board games, educational items, and recyclable bags. Some of the exhibitors here feature “Made in America” products.
Some show celebrations: Overlook Press is celebrating 40 years of publishing. The company is promoting a Fall line that is “fittingly eclectic,” and offered a drawing at the Show for a prize of a 40th anniversary commemorative poster designed and signed by legend and Overlook author Milton Glaser.
The Guinness Book of World records featured their newest listing: the Oldest Competitive Female bodybuilder, 74-year-old female Ernestine Shepard. The mother of a 57-yer-old and a grandmother, she runs ten miles every day, has adjusted her diet to be sure and maintain an intake of the best nutritionals to combat some of the ailments most of us suffer as we move into middle age, is active in her Methodist church, and is a motivational speaker.
"I feel younger than I did 20 years ago," Shepard said. Ironically, it was 20 years ago that she and a family member were trying on swimsuits and weren't pleased with what they saw, thus prompting her move to get fit and stay fit! Inspiring!
Celebrating 30 years in the business, Chronicle Books is featuring an amazing array of books including a reprise of their amazing classic project with Handprint Books, Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures by Newberry Medalist and former Children's Literature Ambassador Katherine Paterson. The book features exquisite paper-cut illustrations by renowned artist Pamela Dalton. Dalton has a book coming out this fall, The Story of Christmas with text based on the King James version of this story from the Bible.
More celebrations: Unbridled Books author Emily St. James Mandel’s The Singer’s Gun took the top prize out of thirteen finalists in the Independent Booksellers Choice award event. A contest designed to celebrate the relationship between independent booksellers and publishers, this was the inaugural event.
“Winning the Independent Booksellers Choice Award was fantastic!” St. John Mandel told me. “It was the first literary award that I’ve won since I was 16 (for a short story), and I was amazed!” St. John Mandel’s award for that winning short story netted her a modest cash prize, however this recent award garnered her some invaluable recognition by her peers as well as the industry, and the coveted opportunity to have her book displayed in the window of every independent book store across the US…. I am sure that this will not be her last prize as it’s clear she is hitting her stride as an author.
More surprises to come!
Text & photos copyright2011 M. D. Caprario
M. D. Caprario is a cross-over mainstream entertainment journalist, and an author and editor who works with writers all over the world. Reach her at APen2Paper@aol.com