Freshly minted books, hot off the presses! Best-selling and rising-star authors sharing their stories. Publishing pros offering advice on how to navigate this fast-changing world. Digital updates on the world of e-publishing. The 2014 Book Expo America (BEA), the largest publishing event in North America, offered all this and more: What a bonanza for book lovers!
Everywhere I looked in the vast Javits Center, I was surrounded by books and fellow bookaholics. It was a feast for the eyes and the mind. Huge banners hung from the ceiling trumpeting the names of major publishers: Penguin. Random House. Simon & Schuster. Algonquin. HarperCollins. Harlequin. And each of their booths were brimming with books and colorful posters announcing new arrivals and best sellers.
With my YA book on my mind, I visited Scholastic, Candlewick Press, and Algonquin Young Readers. What fun to see all the new releases for kids and teens! The booths were hopping and colorful posters and tote bags were flying out left and right. People were lining up to get signed copies of books by some of their favorite YA authors. All this action reminded me just how vibrant and dynamic the YA publishing arena is — all fuel for my writing fire! What better motivation to finish my latest revision than to see other books in my genre already in print?
But there were also so many independent, innovative presses sprinkled everywhere, with wonderful and exciting arrays of books that are somehow finding niche audiences and thriving, even in this digital world. I visited the booth of Arcadia Publications, for example, which publishes scores of local history guides all across America. A young woman hosting the booth told me that there’s a huge appetite for these photo-rich guides to bygone eras and that the press is actually looking for authors.
As always, the BEA was packed with small presses displaying the fruits of their labors: colorful children’s books, inspirational guides, travel handbooks. Their names alone are a lesson in marketing and moxie: Barefoot Books, Blue Apple Books, Childs Play, Cool Gus Publishing, Cider Mill Press, Excelovate, Osprey Publishing, Sleeping Bear Press, Star Bright Books, The Summer Fairy, Wisdom Tales, Visible Ink Press.
How wonderful to know that every day, there are creative publishers of all shapes and sizes laboring mightily in the vineyard of words to bring inspiring, thought-provoking, life-changing books to us all. Write on!