BEA Report

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

BEA 2012 was fantastic! I got home Wednesday evening–I’d debated spending an extra day, but now I’m glad I didn’t because I woke up Thursday with a migraine and spent much of the day with an icepack on my head.

The fun began Monday morning with the Independent Book Bloggers Awards ceremony, held as part of the BEA Bloggers Conference. It was great meeting the other winners, as well as representatives of the Awards sponsors, Tina Jordan of the AAP and Kyusik Chung of Goodreads. I stupidly forgot my camera, so I wasn’t able to take pictures, but others were more prepared, including Susan Rodarme of Insatiable Booksluts–here’s her photo of the gorgeous (and EXTREMELY heavy) award we all received.

Tina took us to lunch at the Spice Market, a cool restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Taking advantage of a brief respite from the rain, I separated from the group and walked back to the Javits Center on the High Line, an old rail line that has been turned into an astonishing aerial park with simply amazing plantings. Total gardening geek that I am, it was bliss.

A BEA attendee that didn’t need a badge

Back at Javits, I had the chance to attend afternoon sessions of the Bloggers Conference and to do some networking with other bloggers. Then it was off to the Ink48 Hotel to meet with my wonderful editor, Melanie Kroupa. We’ve talked on the phone scores of times as Passion Blue has made its way toward publication, but this is the first time we’ve met in the flesh, and it was great to snatch a quiet hour to get to know each other better.

Later, we ascended to the Press Lounge to attend the Amazon cocktail party, a packed and lively event where I had the pleasure of meeting Marshall Cavendish and Amazon Children’s Publishing staff, including Marshall Cavendish publisher Margery Cuyler and Amazon Children’s Publishing associate publisher Tim Ditlow.

Me (on left) and Melanie Kroupa

On Tuesday, I did remember to bring my camera…but forgot to take pictures of the SFWA booth (duh), where I spent the morning representing Writer Beware. Ann and I have repped WB at BEA before, but this is the first time SFWA has officially attended. The booth was extremely successful, with a steady stream of people stopping by with questions and comments, and the author signings very well-attended. I was able to say hi to some folks I’ve known for some time online, but have never met never face-to-face, including Mark Coker of Smashwords.

Isn’t she striking? I adore the cover.

I was also able to visit the Amazon Children’s Publishing booth, where ARCs of Passion Blue were on display. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in book form. As exciting as the digital transition is, I feel a bit sorry for authors of the future, whose books may never become physical objects–there really is nothing like holding your book in your hands for the first time. This is my eighth published novel, and it never gets old. Apparently the ARCs were flying out of the booth–toward noon I sent a librarian over to pick one up and she returned to tell me they were all gone.

PublishAmerica challenges Amazon

Tuesday afternoon I walked the exhibition, with a tote bag that grew heavier and heavier (there were plenty of freebies, notably at the Amazon booths, where they were giving out ARCs like popcorn), and feet that grew tireder and tireder. As much as I enjoy checking out the booths of the legitimate attendees, I especially enjoy picking out the booths of publishers and others about whom Writer Beware has received complaints. There weren’t as many of these this year as last, but there were a few, including PublishAmerica, which is there every year. Last year their booth was pretty sparse, but this year they’ve jazzed it up with big posters.

I also enjoy the oddities, of which there are a fair number, mostly at the fringes of the show. Before I left for BEA, my husband or my mother (can’t remember which) asked me if this was the kind of conference where people dressed up in costume. “Oh no,” I replied. “This is a strictly professional event for the publishing community. No costumes at BEA.” But I had to eat my words, because not only was SFWA set up next to a booth with a dancing Hubble telescope (it had big white gloves, just like the Hamburger Helper Helping Hand), I also saw, in quick succession, a pair of angels and a blue-haired alien who looked like an extra from Barbarella. (The alien stopped to say hi to the Hubble, which seemed disconcerted; I tried, but couldn’t get my camera out in time.)

Me at the JVNLA party

Tuesday evening I attended the JVNLA BEA party (their Facebook page has lots of pictures). I’ve been with JVNLA for…um…well, a very long time; Jean Naggar took me on as a client when I was just eighteen. The agency’s offices are located in a gracious brownstone on the Upper East Side with a lovely courtyard garden at the back, and nearly every wall is lined with shelves crammed with clients’ books. I got the chance to say hi to agency staff, including my beautiful and savvy agent, Jessica Regel, and to meet other clients, including the multi-talented and vivacious Adrienne Kress, a fellow AW regular.

Wednesday morning I spent in the SFWA booth again, then left for a lunch date, then returned for more floor-walking. Whew! All in all, a very successful show, both for me personally and professionally, and for SFWA.

Oooooh….vewy scawy!

Last but not least…I’m sure it will surprise no one to learn that the scammers behind hate blog The Write Agenda (whose heads collectively exploded when they found out I’d won one of the IBBA Awards) were nowhere in evidence, despite their deep dark threats of ninja action. Possibly they’re invisible ninjas–they need to protect their anonymity, after all.

TWA’s Ray Bradbury Commemorative Book Burning

They did find a unique way of commemorating the death of Ray Bradbury, though.

Is this what editors do when they get laid off? (Seen on East 50th St.)

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