Thursday, June 2, 2011

So Many Conferences, So Little Time (and money!)

As a debut novelist, one of the things that has helped me has been attending conferences.

I’ve learned so much about craft, the publishing industry, and marketing, but the networking is always amazing. I never leave a conference without a stack of contacts and having made at least a couple new writer friends. Don't limit yourself to just conferences in your genre. You can learn from all of them, and that diversity will inspire innovation.

Last week I attended Book Expo America.

Now, BEA is actually geared to booksellers and librarians. That didn’t stop me though. Publishers, big and small and self-pubs, too, gathered at the Javits Center in New York City for three days of networking, booksignings, and information sharing. I’ve heard that over 25,000 people were in attendance and it felt like more than that. Free books were flying like meteor showers and lines wrapped as far as you could see as people waited for the chance to get a free autographed copy and a few words with their favorite authors.

Never been to the Javits Center? Oh goodness. I now wish I’d thought to bring my pedometer because I know I put some miles on my shoes last week. In fact, it’s probably a pretty good idea at any conference. Which reminds me...always wear comfortable shoes to these events!

To be such a large event, BEA was very well organized. Locals were staffed and armed with “CAN I HELP YOU” signs to get you pointed in the right direction, and even the registration lines moved smoothly.

I made some memories, like getting my picture taken with Florence Henderson (Yes! Mrs. Brady! Who by the way loved the title of my book!! ), autographed ARCs of David Baldacci’s ONE SUMMER and Leanna Renee Hieber who was out of books by the time I got anywhere close to the front of that line. Doug Lyle’s new book had a corner booth. I got HOT LIGHTS-COLD STEEL along with a pretty awesome ink pen that looks like a syringe full of blood that I worried about getting through security with! No worries, though, I made it through just fine.

Harlan Coben was autographing his audio version of his new YA, SHELTER.

On Wednesday afternoon I attended the “Afternoon Tea” which wasn’t exactly much of a tea but even as a tea-lover I could have cared less because ITWs own Karin Slaughter and Brad Meltzer rocked that session.

In case you hadn't already notices, ITW authors were well-represented!

My debut novel, SWEET TEA AND SECRETS, was displayed in the New Title Showcase. The New Title Showcase is one of the few places that the general public can check out without paying admission. It was pretty exciting to see my book face out among the others. Oh yeah, it was on page 80 of the catalog, too.

I met so many wonderful booksellers and librarians. I’d planned ahead and had plenty of bookmarks and business cards in case I had the opportunity to share, and boy did I have the opportunity to share. It was fun to make connections with others who truly love books as much as we do and share in the excitement of “what’s new” and coming soon.

CALL TO ACTION:: Let’s give each other a helping hand and share the news from the conferences we attend. Who knows what will inspire one of us to the next big thing. Just give me a shout and I'd be happy to put you on the calendar to recap your experience.

NEXT BIG THING:: Thrillerfest is just a few short weeks away and I can’t wait to hear all the great news from it right here on The Thrill Begins.

May the networking begin!

Hugs and high 5s~

Nancy Naigle

Nancy writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. Visit Nancy at on facebook and twitter (@nancynaigle).


Tracey Devlyn said...

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for giving us the lowdown on BEA. I've often wondered if that conference was one that I should add to my list. Sounds great.


Liz Lipperman said...

The BEA sounds wonderful, Nancy. Next year I will definitely be there. I was on an agent/author panel at an indie bookstore in Martha's Vineyard and could have sold a ton of books...if I would have had them!! (Release date: October 4th.)

So, yes, I agree conferences or any event that puts you in contact with readers are a must for promotion.

Thanks for the recap. I look forward to reading your book.


Andrew Peterson said...

Great post, Nancy. I went to BEA Los Angeles and really enjoyed it. I needed a reminder to attend again.

Nancy Naigle said...

Let's all plan to get together at BEA next year :)

Liz--Martha's of the places I've never been but I dream of visiting. Would you like to visit and blog about the MV event? Let me know :)

Tracey Devlyn said...

Nancy, thanks so much for blogging with us! I hope to make it to BEA soon.