New York City: BEA and Backspace

This was a very busy weekend for Kelley & Hall. We spent the past weekend in New York City attending both Book Expo America and Backspace Writers Conference. It was interesting to see both sides of the publishing industry. As we often say in our seminars, there are definitely two sides to writing; the creative and the business. This weekend was a great example of both. At Backspace we were able to meet a number of aspiring writers, fascinating people with interesting stories to tell, and we spoke to them about finding hooks, networking and media exposure. It is never too early to start marketing yourself and building a brand or platform.

At BEA, we met with everyone on the other side of publishing; the sales and marketing teams, the editors and agents, librarians and booksellers, authors, and, a reality star or two.

{Alex McCord and Simon van Kemp from The Real Housewives of New York}

{Jocelyn Kelley with Meg Cabot}

{David Meerman Scott}


Typically, when booksellers attend the show, they grab galleys of some of the “hot” books for the Fall season. They then ship these galleys back to their stores. This is what the shipping room looks like; miles and miles of boxes as far as the eye can see. We found it interesting, and perhaps a sign of the changing times, that HarperCollins did not distribute any bound galleys and instead opted for postcards with access codes for people to download entire manuscripts to their computers or digital readers.

We will have to wait and see if this is a change that happens across the board.

For the most part, it was a more subdued BEA. There were fewer galleys and at times the show seemed to lack the typical excitement that it has shown in previous years. This is certainly a sign of the times, the current economic instability and the state of publishing houses.

It was still an entertaining and informative show, filled with interesting people and great books. And it was nice to be back in New York. Although, we were strangely captivated by what’s going on in Times Square. Apparently it is currently closed to cars and beach chairs have been provided by the city for people to sit back and relax and view New York in a way they never have before. Who knows how long this will last, or if the headache created by the traffic will cause it to end it’s run sooner than expected, but it was certainly a site to be seen.

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