BEA 2012 – Indies Stake Claim in Manhattan

Bootlicker soft launch at BEA 2012

Readers are hungry for new talent, video has not eclipsed the written word, and there is room on the shelf for self-published authors who have a good story plus the sense to get their work professionally edited.

Those are some of my takeaways from BookExpo America, the industry’s just completed annual national convention. While traffic in New York was exasperating, traffic inside the Javits Center was exhilarating. The mood was upbeat, with crowds lined up each morning waiting to get in to meet authors and score free books.

I was camped with several other Indies on Writer’s Row. I invested roughly two grand for a small booth from which I told as many visitors as possible about my novels, Bella and the prequel, Bootlicker, (available Sept. 1).

Should you ever decide to go the trade show route, I suggest the following:

–       Create a bookmark about your book with contact and buying info on the back.

–       Make a poster from the cover, plus a second poster with a catchy blurb.

–       Bring a laptop from which you can run your trailer or create a slide show.

–       Enlist one or two personable helpers, and make sure they’ve read and can explain your book.

–       Take lots of photos that you’ll be able to use later for blog posts. Shots of you signing books and chatting with readers are also valuable.

–       Tweet live from the event as often as possible; try to create more engaging 15-second video tweets.

–       Collect email addresses so you can follow up with new fans. This sometimes leads to signings and/or readings.

–       Ask folks who accept your book to post a few review lines on Amazon.

Here are some great resources you might also want to check out:

–       BookExpo videos are here, and free.

–       Social media expert Cindy Ratzlaff makes her presentations available here.

–       And here’s an example of a good book page on Pinterest; plus how I’m using Pinterest as an author. Pinterest is the fastest-growing social media site.

As a self-publisher, I’m smiling a little as I look at my photos from the largest book industry trade show in North America. While some lanes are sill blocked, others – thanks to technology and slowly changing attitudes – are beginning to open. Success will ultimately hinge on the work. With discretionary leisure time so lacking in people’s busy lives, readers will not put up one second with weak characters, stories or writing. Deliver the goods, however, and your odds will soar.

Anyone else have thoughts about BEA or exhibiting at trade shows?


10 Comments so far »

  1. Caleb Pirtle said,

    Wrote on June 12, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    Great information. I’m glad you were there and willing to hand out what you paid a lot of money to learn. We really appreciate you, and I hope BEA sells you a lot of books. You deserve it.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks, Caleb. It was a great show and I’m still processing all I took in. More to come!


  2. Jack Durish said,

    Wrote on June 12, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    It’s so nice to hear such a positive message when were all out here struggling, wondering if it’s all worth the effort. Thanks


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Keep plugging away, Jack. One thing that became clear is that there’s no one route to literary success. Writers take all different routes, and sometimes it’s just right place, right time.
    BTW, here are some pix from BEA if you’d care to take a look:


  3. Jenny Milchman said,

    Wrote on June 12, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    Glad you had another successful year at BEA, Steve! Excited for your new book…


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thanks, Jenny, and btw, very happy w JKS team. Last, here’s more from BEA via Storify:


  4. Christina Carson (@CarsonCanada) said,

    Wrote on June 13, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    Thank you for your generous sharing of how to do that route professionally. Looking forward to what else may rise to the surface when you’ve had a bit of time to consider.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    I believe in paying it forward, Christina. Thanks for dropping by, and if you haven’t seen this post, it’s a Storified capsule of goodies from BEA:
    Much more still to come!


  5. Anne Chaconas said,

    Wrote on June 15, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    Great post, Steve! Thanks for your insight and your advice; I always look forward to your posts. Best of luck with Bootlicker!


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Thank you, Anne, my pleasure! Here’s another wrap-up about the Expo:


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