Yesterday I spent six hours at the Book Expo America, wandering around the gargantuan DC Convention Center. I had been to the convention before, back when it was still the American Booksellers Association, known as the ABA. I remembered enough from my previous time there to bring a tote bag.
One tote bag wasn’t enough. By the time I staggered out of there, when it closed at 6:00 PM, I had acquired another, larger, violently purple tote bag, and had filled it to the brim.
I will have to look over my largesse at some point, and I suspect some of that stuff will wind up being donated to the library sale, or finding its way to the round file.
In addition to visiting the “booths” (huge, carpeted areas with tables and chairs, even the occasional sofa or bar) of my publishers, especially HarperCollins, I also wandered by several places where I suspect the fact that I was wearing my navy Writer Beware polo shirt made them uncomfortable. (evil grin)
Cynthia Sterling of SterlingHouse publishing (and she also owns and runs Lee Shore Literary Agency, which holds the honorable mention No. 21 spot on Writer Beware’s list of Agents to AVOID) was there, with quite a fancy layout, including free beer and pretzels as one of her lucky (ahem!) authors autographed his book. They didn’t see me coming in time to put anything in my beer, but the whole time I was listening to the persuasive (yeah, right!) spiel of the fresh-faced young fella who was trying to sell me on becoming a SterlingHouse author (totally oblivious to the “HarperCollins” appellation on my badge), none of upper management (Cynthia, her head editor, and a “Mr. Sterling” who was probably her hubby) cracked a smile.
I was a very good girl, listening politely to the spiel, leafing through what they called a “book marketing catalogue” while drinking the beer the bartender handed me, and nibbling a pretzel.
Then, before I could be construed to be a nuisance, I ambled off again, after thanking the (still oblivious) nice young man.
My next stop on the “Let’s just rattle ’em a bit” tour was good old Royal Fireworks. This publisher will also make the soon to be released Writer Beware’s 10 Worst Publishers to AVOID list. They acquire books for no advance, pay a pittance for royalties, and THEY MAKE THE AUTHOR SIGN OVER HIS OR HER COPYRIGHT TO THEM.
Need I say more?
The proprietor of the Royal Fireworks booth and his wife both watched me as I ambled in, put down my tote bags with a sigh, and proceeded to take about 20 books off their display shelves, flip them open to the copyright page, nod slightly, and then put the book back and go on to the next. By the time I had done this for about 20 books, (and the old gentleman watched me like a polar bear watches a plump seal baby the whole time) I think my point had been made — and all without saying a single word.
I know he remembered me. We had an exchange of words some years ago when he scammed an elderly SFWA member. (Scamming the elderly is particularly loathesome, isn’t it?)
Except for the big bestsellers, authors are kind of the lowest of the low at the BEA. Really. There aren’t many editors there, just the occasional publisher and tons of marketing salespeople. I did manage to meet a couple of the HC people responsible for selling my book, and talk to them about the trilogy, the next book, etc.
Let’s hope they remember, and it does some good when Winds of Vengeance comes out.
Next year the BEA will be held in New York and I’ve already discussed signing at the Meisha Merlin booth. They are a small press that has acquired my StarBridge backlist (7 books) and bought 2 new books in the series.
If the first release is out by that time, it would be fun to be able to sign at next year’s BEA. I haven’t signed books at one of those shindigs since V came out, in 1984.
Have a good week, boys and girls!
-Ann C. Crispin