Tag Archives: Book Expo America

Inside Scoop: Dish from a Literary Agent Intern – BOOK EXPO AMERICA!

8025427_1Here’s my intern Tara’s first person account of attending BEA for the very first time…

I had been looking forward to BEA for several months preceding it in the way that children look forward to Christmas. In my mind, it was going to be a magical place where authors and celebrities talked about books and chatted with their fans, publishing professionals applauded the efforts of their authors and their colleagues, and books rained down from the ceiling (in the least violent way possible, of course). Naturally, my fantastical imaginings were not exactly right, but they weren’t entirely wrong, either.

Upon first entering the Javits Center, I was blown away by the décor: huge banners advertising books and writers hung from the ceiling and were plastered to the walls, and colorful carpet sporting the BEA logo acted as a red carpet leading to the exhibition hall. It was a beautiful sight for a book lover like myself. Little did I know that the entrance hall would pale in comparison to the exhibition hall where all the publishers had set up their booths. But I’ll come back to that.


The first thing I did was attend the Author Breakfast. Here, guests were able to enjoy breakfast while listening to a panel of authors discuss their

Image care of BEA website.

Image care of BEA website.

new or upcoming books. On this particular day, the authors were Anjelica Huston, Tavis Smiley, Lisa Scottoline, and Neil Patrick Harris, who was also the “master of ceremonies.” Hearing them talk about their books and how their ideas came to be so passionately was an incredible experience. Despite that half of the panel were primarily actors, each of them had a nearly tangible love for books. Their passion was inspiring because it proved how significant books are and how they connect us all.

This was proved over and over again throughout the day. At the Young Adult Editor’s Buzz, five editors discussed their favorite book of the upcoming season with fervor. Their excitement and fierce love for these books was obvious. They did a great job convincing everyone in attendance that they needed to read these books. When the panelists had finished speaking, a mob of people swarmed to the table where free Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of all five books had been laid out for the taking. Everyone was trying so hard to get to the books that I literally got stuck in the crowd and was unable to move for several minutes. Eventually I fought my way out, with the books I wanted stowed in my bag to keep others from snatching them away. Talk about a passionate group of people.

Image care of BEA website.

Image care of BEA website.

Once recovered, Linda and I hit the exhibition hall. Each publisher had their own section complete with bookshelves full of their new and popular titles on display. The larger publishers (i.e. Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin—oddly separate from Random House—Hachette, Scholastic, and a few others) had banners hanging over their sections, making them easier to find. Most publishers had free ARCs, bookmarks, tote bags, pens, and other paraphernalia to give away. (I must admit that I collected so many books, my shoulders were sore the next day.) At different times during the day, some publishers had an author or two signing books in their sections. Most autographing, however, took place in a designated section at the back of the hall. There were also three stages set up in the hall for various events.

Needless to say, the hall was teeming with people. From what I saw, most of the employees from the publishing houses appeared to spend the majority of their time greeting people, enthusiastically supporting their house’s books, or schmoozing with other members of the industry. With so many people present, BEA is the perfect opportunity to make new professional acquaintances or meet with people outside of the NYC bubble. Everyone is so excited about books that it’s very easy to connect with others.

tara at beaOverall, my first BEA was a wonderful experience. Being surrounded by book lovers, I realized how many other people out there share my passion for reading and the art of writing. And the best part was that everyone was so nice. It’s a great environment to be in, and I’m really excited for the next time I get to attend—hopefully as a full member of the industry. I hope all of you have the chance to attend at some point!

Here’s a list of tips based on what I learned on my first day that many of you may find helpful for when you get to attend:

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Walking/standing all day is tiring no matter where you are, and your adrenaline can only keep you going for so long.
  • Bring water and snacks. Again, it’s tiring being on your feet all day, and you’re going to need to be hydrated and nourished to keep going.
  • Bring a rolling suitcase. Collecting free books and other swag is great, but it gets really heavy.
  • Wear layers. The convention center gets hot with so many people, but when you’re sitting in a room for, say, a panel, the air conditioning gets cold.
  • Bring plenty of business cards. You’ll meet a ton of people, and you want them to remember you and be able to contact you after your wonderful conversations.
  • Bring your camera (or make sure your phone is charged). There’s so much to see (including famous people!) that, if you’re like me, you’ll want to take pictures, so come prepared.
  • Get coffee before you get there. The line for Starbucks was extremely long throughout the day; don’t waste your already stretched-thin time waiting on line.

Tara Slagle is Linda Epstein‘s current intern. Tara is working toward her M.S. in Publishing at Pace University. After completing her degree she would like to work in the publishing world as either an acquisitions editor or literary agent, focusing on YA and (the emerging) New Adult titles. 


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BEA2012: Finished. Fini. The End. Over and Out. Adios. Bye bye.

I’m not doing BEA Thursdays again. Although today I got to hear Zadie Smith speak. Ok, that made it totally worth it. But this is what the third day of BEA turns into:

  • I’ve gone from “comfortable shoes,” to Converses to… flip flops. That’s right. I wore flip flops today. Shh. Don’t judge. I also wore great earrings and a cool necklace, hoping people would be dazzled by sparkly things above my neck and not look at my non-pedicured toes in flip flops.
  • I gawked at one of my literary heroes (yes, Zadie Smith, that would be you), drank my weak coffee, and put the complimentary cream cheese from the Author Breakfast on a gluten free roll I brought from home. I just couldn’t bear to ask for another fruit platter.
  • Michael Chabon was also pretty darn inspiring. Ok, Michael, I’m going to read all of your books this summer, including the new one, Telegraph Avenue. Really.
  • And then the surprise: J.R. Moehringer, who really was a fabulous speaker. When he wasn’t talking about his debut novel, Sutton, which sounds kind of interesting, he spent quite a bit of time talking about a Youtube video, which he said was what it felt like to write a novel. I’m not sure if this link will work, but if it doesn’t just search for “Skydiving Grandma”:  
  • There are no words to adequately describe how Kirstie Alley did as an emcee. Suffice to say… oh forget it. I just won’t go there. *shudders*
  • Oh wait! Jimmy Fallon also was there, but he was onstage and offstage so quickly I almost forgot!
  • I trudged from the Author breakfast to the Uptown Stage, and took a seat during the panel which had already started, about African Americans in Publishing. Fascinating. I wish I’d get more manuscripts by African Americans or about African Americans, but I’m not interested in “urban fiction” really, and that’s all I seem to get. I want stuff like Zadie Smith and Jesmyn Ward!
  • Next up was a panel that was supposed to be about writing strong female characters in MG fiction but it…um… wasn’t. It wasn’t about anything really, although it was nice to hear the nice authors talking about writing up there. Just I kind of wanted to hear about strong female characters. Ok, I was clearly done with BEA.
  • I left. I went out to lunch with some Women’s National Book Association friends. And then I hopped in my car, yes my car which cost me $1 million to park in NYC on a weekday, and I drove home. I did not walk uphill to Penn Station. I sat in traffic, instead, listening to the Grateful Dead on my satellite radio.

Do your feet hurt? Did you opt out of public transportation this week? Can you live with yourself?


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The Blabbermouth report on my BEA2012 Day #1

So this is about getting to BEA:

  • Woke up at ungodly hour to make 6am train in to Manhattan. Yes, 6am train.
  • Forgot to pack water and snacks.
  • Might have gotten on train to get to the city or might have been mysteriously transported to Penn Station; no recollection of which.
  • Walked uphill at a 60 degree angle for 3 Manhattan blocks to get to Javitz Center.
  • Saw about 30 NYPD in full riot gear in a blocking formation on 31st street, next to Javits; must have been protecting VERY hot galleys
  • Got badge and found my WNBA-NYC friend Roz on the front of the Author Breakfast line. Cut her.
  • Made myself comfy at the more expensive table seating and slurped the weak coffee they served. Asked for something gluten free to eat instead of the bagels and muffins offered and was served a beautiful fruit plate. Thanks BEA! You’re ok!

Here’s what I remember about the Author Breakfast itself:

This is not the actual plate of fruit…

  • Junot Diaz has an endearing verbal tic… he keeps checking in with the audience with a muttered “yeah?” at the end of his sentences. He also said something sublime while talking about his new book, This is How You Lose Her: “There is no greater human vocation than love.” I love that.
  • Barbara Kingsolver, whom I love so much that yes, I want to marry her, was a delightful speaker who was talking about the craft of writing and said something like, “You can look into a human brain by many methods but you can’t look out of it. That’s our job.” Or maybe it was “That’s where we come in.” Or something like that. She talked about climate change, Angry Birds and host Stephen Colbert’s penis.
  • Norwegian author Joe Nesbo said that the best part of reading his own books translated into English was that there are long words in it that he didn’t know existed and he looks at them and says, “I wrote that!”
  • Of course, Stephen Colbert, who was the emcee and also talked about his penis, was hysterically funny!

After the breakfast I wandered around the convention floor like the deer in the headlights that I knew I’d be, before going to the panel on Science Fiction and Mainstream – Crossing Over, and then the one on The Ongoing Evolution of YA fiction. At the first panel I noticed there were more skinny jeans, piercings, tattoos, and steampunky boots and hats. Nice. At the second, the panel was awesome with the stand-out panelist (for me) being Melissa Marr.

I refused to fight for ARCs of anything today and I refused to stand in line for them. My day ended on an awesome/sweet/serendipitous note when I asked for a second copy of Trevor, a novella, by James Lecesne for my client Bill Konigsberg, who I knew would like it. Turns out James is a Bill fan, so he signed the book “Bill Konigsberg, You’re my hero!” Reading the book on the train ride home, I saw that James even mentioned Bill as one of the authors who writes elegantly and often about LGBT teens. Cool, right?!

I walked uphill back to Penn Station, lugging two totes of books. I had 4 minutes to catch my train. I seemed to have purchased a mixed drink on the train platform. I felt so Madmen. BEA 2012 Day One done.

Click here to watch live streaming of BEA stuff: http://cdn.livestream.com/events/bea/channelthin.html

Got questions? Ask me!


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