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.

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

TWA’s Ray Bradbury Commemorative Book Burning
Is this what editors do when they get laid off? (Seen on East 50th St.)


  1. Reading this entry, I now understand why you were so exhausted when we saw one another.

    Congratulations on your blog award, and so good to hear about your good times at BEA. It was a terrific event (as was Blogworld which i was attending across the way!) and I hope to be there next year.

    Always a pleasure to see you, Victoria.

  2. I wish I could have been there. Oh well, next time. Congrats on your award and your release.

  3. Thanks, everyone!

    @Mark–I had to laugh–while shaking my head–at your PA story. I wish I'd witnessed that.

    I look at the New Title Showcase every year–the literature promoting it claims that it's a popular and well-trafficked feature of BEA (thus justifying the price tag) but despite its central location, in reality the area is almost always deserted, with at most two or three people wandering around. (At least some of the books are from genuine small presses, but most are from Xlibris, Lulu, etc.)

  4. Thank you for such a great report! I don't have a dog in that hunt but you made me want to be there.

    I'd have been almost impressed with PublishAmerica's booth but for the fact that each of those exploited victims–I mean–writers paid a hefty fee to have their books "brought to the attention of Amazon."

    Like that ever works.

    The Wrong Agenda showing up to sneer? As if. Any fool wandering around with a bag over his head would get unwanted attention from security for sure.

    You're awesome as always and the award you got was very well deserved.


  5. Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for keeping us updated. I hope you win again, next year. Your blog is a godsend.

  6. Victoria, great to finally meet you.

    Here's a curious Publish America BEA story… On Thursday around 11am, I was standing near the PA booth, and noticed two guys with big duffel bags showing great interest in the Publish America titles. No one was manning the booth, which struck me as odd since the show was open for another four hours. At first, they'd pick up a book, flip through it as if interested, then put it in their bag. Once they realized the booth was unmanned, they started shoveling the books into their duffel bags. Between the two of them they probably made off with 40-50 books in about three minutes. They left the two tabletops bare, save for the now-empty book displays.

    I found the episode at once sad, amusing and ironic.

    1. Sad: I wonder how much these authors paid to have their books displayed before BEA attendees, and did they know the booth would be abandoned Thursday morning?

    2. Amusing: It's pretty clear these guys were scooping up books to resell elsewhere, unless they had broad tastes. Did these guys realize that it might be tough to resell a PA book to any knowledgeable used book store book buyer? Didn't they realize there were hundreds of other publishers and big-name authors giving away books and signed copies with higher resale values?

    3. Ironic: These scavengers were doing the authors a favor. Assuming they're able to pawn these books off for a nickle to a bookstore, or sell them on Amazon for a penny (where the money is made on the shipping), these authors now have a better chance to reach a reader.

    About an hour later, I saw these two guys again, reentering the show floor with empty bags.

    I wonder if they ever found their way to the New Title Showcase, where authors get fleeced $300 or more to have their books listed in a ghost town exhibit far from the show floor –

    Sadly, I'll bet the scavengers missed that display.

  7. That was so fun to read. It's great to see the results of someone who has worked in the publishing business for such a long time. You are an inspiration to so many of us, Victoria.

    Despite what some anonymous people may say, we support you.

    Publish America? Really? How did they get out of their straight-jackets?

  8. Hello, Anonymous, from The Wrong Agenda. Would you like to stop by my blog and explain why you support book-burning? In coherent language? Without frothing at the mouth like you normally do? Or are you too chicken-hearted to come out and play? is where I'm at.

  9. Did you have a migraine and forget to take your meds when you wrote the list of 20 worst agents? It should come as no surprise to anyone that you have yet to provide one complaint to the Superior Court of NJ after claiming the so- called alleged complaints you received about those companies. I don't think you had a migraine. In my opinion, you had a PSYCHOTIC EPISODE in that dizzy, old head of yours. As for the mean-spirited comments above, par for the course.Let the writers beware of the nuts running this blog.

  10. I hope someday I can go just to score lots of free books. Too bad something terrible couldn't have "accidentally" happened to the PublishAmerica booth.

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