BookExpo America is where Publishing Professionals gather to exchange valued information on new titles, breakout authors, and many, many ARCs. As a first-timer to this trade show event, it is very overwhelming at first glance. Left and right, ARCs are being signed and distributed. Major publishing houses like Macmillan and HarperCollins are represented in whole sections decorated with large rugs and smaller companies are housed within booths throughout the show floor.
As someone who is experiencing BookExpo for the first time, I thought it best to take a second to look around and get a good feel of what is going on around me. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle and it is important to soak it all in. If you have a short window to visit BookExpo, as I did, then you should not take too much time soaking it in. After I walked around for a bit, I made sure to network with publishers such as Soho Press, Penguin Random House, and Arcadia Publishing. I saw this as a learning opportunity, a chance to network, and a fun event all wrapped into one.
I made sure to heed Professor Richter’s advice and checked out what events were happening on each day of BookExpo and also brought in my own bag to carry all the free stuff in, though I was given a free tote as soon as I stepped into the building. I ended up going home with 17 new books and a sore shoulder. Nevertheless, it was exciting to meet publishing professionals and authors who all gave me advice and encouragement on my future publishing endeavors.
There are a wide range of people to meet, events to participate in, and books to obtain. Everywhere you look, there are people mingling, trading business cards, and sharing stories and information that will benefit their publishing careers. I can only imagine how attending BookExpo as a publishing professional will differ from my experience as a student.
Of course, this is just my experience. Articles from the Tampa Bay Times, and the Star tribune offer more insight what is was like at this year’s BookExpo.
BookExpo America, the largest annual book trade fair in the United States will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City this year from May 31 to June 2. Major publishing houses will congregate to showcase emerging authors, new titles, and meet with other publishing professionals and colleagues. For students and incoming publishing professionals, BookExpo is an exciting event and provides an opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most influential publishers and to gain significant insight into the publishing industry.
Along with faculty, Pace MS in Publishing students will be attending the BookExpo again this year, trading off passes, supplied by the program, throughout the three-day event.
“I am delighted that Pace University publishing students will have the opportunity to visit the Book Expo this Spring. They will meet publishing professionals, authors and have opportunities to network. The BEA is in NYC this year and New York is the heart of the publishing industry.”
Prof. Michelle Richter also shares her experience and provides some tips and advice on how to achieve the most rewarding BookExpo experience:
The first time I went to BookExpo, I was exactly where you find yourselves now: a grad student in the publishing program, wildly enthusiastic about books and the industry and the city. And broke. But somehow I managed to scrounge up enough for a ticket.
The Benefits of Going to BookExpo
Of course the first thing that comes to mind is free loot: ARCs, finished books, tote bags, swag. But there’s much more than that. I can’t stress enough the value of the panels. You can learn so much about the industry. Go to the keynote speech if you can. Try to attend at least one of the Buzz panels.
There’s one for adult, one for young adult, and one for middle grade. 5 or 6 editors talk about books they’ve acquired that are getting a lot of buzz, and everyone who attends the panel can get the ARCs afterward. But there are also panels with the authors of the Buzz books. And breakfasts and teas or lunches (the meals require separate tickets) where you can listen to major authors. And panels that talk about industry trends, technological innovations, promotion, social media, and so much more.
Author signings are everywhere, some in publisher booths, some in an autograph area in the back. Some are ticketed, some are first come, first serve. Some will have huge lines. Some will have lonely authors waiting. If an author offers to sign their book for you, say “yes, thank you”. If you discard it later, do it out of their sight. You don’t have to have it personalized. If there’s a book you’re dying to get and have signed, line up early. Not all books in a booth are free for the taking. Some publishers only have display copies or books for sale.
Tip 2: Though the lure of free books may intoxicate you, remember you have to carry all of them so be discerning. But if you go hog wild, there’s a post office between the Javits and the A train–you can mail books to yourself.
Tip 3: Bring your own tote bag, one that won’t dig into your shoulder. Just in case free ones are hard to find or subpar.
“I love the BEA! It is such a wonderful opportunity to really get a sense of the size and power of the publishing industry and, it is a great place to network. I also really love getting to meet authors and have them sign their books. My advice is to go with an open mind and soak it all in. Learn about publishers you have not heard about before, talk to people about their work and bring a few copies of your resume to give to people who might help you get a job.”
Be pleasant to anyone working in a booth. Don’t be too grabby getting free stuff. Check out people’s badges to see where they work or who they are but keep in mind that some people share a badge and may be incognito.
These people may someday be your colleagues. They’re often from the marketing department, but could also be sales, sub rights, publicists, editors, even authors. They may be taking meetings with foreign publishers or booksellers or librarians or agents. Most people are dressed professionally, as they would in the office.
Every time I go to BookExpo, it’s like a giant reunion. I see editors, publicists, marketing managers I used to work with, agents I know, authors, foreign publishers, and people I’ve only met on Twitter until I run into them on the floor at BookExpo. “Wait, have we ever met in person before?”
Tip 4: Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. It’s often freezing in the Javits center and the floors are cement. I think you can’t go wrong with a dress and a cardigan if that’s your style, ladies. Gentlemen, I would suggest you dress business casual (not in jeans).
Tip 5: Bring a water bottle so you don’t have to buy overpriced drinks. You may want to bring snacks.
The Overall Experience
It’s overwhelming, exhausting, exhilarating. I love it still. Some people get jaded by it, but I hope I never do. Try to walk the entire expo. Visit the remainder houses’ booths, the foreign publishers, the packagers, the Big 5s and all the indies. This is your best opportunity to see the wide range of people who participate in the industry, to randomly encounter a rock star author (I once walked by Margaret Atwood and managed not to lose it), to see something like a book being printed in an Espresso Book Machine, to meet awesome librarians and booksellers, and to listen to some terrific speakers.
Working with celebrities to get their books published may seem daunting, but Lisa Sharkey—the Senior Vice President and the Director of Creative Development at HarperCollins Publishers—is an expert. On April 26th, Sharkey talked about the joys and challenges of working with well-known public figures on their projects in her lecture, “Book Publishing with Celebrity Authors.” This was Sharkey’s second talk as the 2016-2017 David Pecker Visiting Professor, following-up the presentation on transferable skills she gave in the fall.
With years of experience working with both intentional celebrities (actors, athletes, reality stars, etc.) and unintentional celebrities (people who became famous as a result of news story in which they are a major personality), Sharkey’s familiar with how different it is publishing and promoting a celebrity’s book versus working with a traditional writer. Through personal anecdotes and behind-the-scene details on books she’s published throughout her career, Sharkey illustrated the experience of working with people who aren’t necessarily writers themselves to publish a successful book that might even reach the New York Times bestseller list.
For the first part of her presentation, Sharkey outlined the top joys of working with celebrities. Despite most of the celebrities she works with not being professional writers for their day-jobs, Sharkey says that these books are still important to them “to their legacies.” They value the opportunity to publish their stories without having them filtered through the press for their families and friends—and, of course, for the fans. Fans of celebrities also make a huge difference in how big the book signings and sales will be and what sort of appearances they can do.
Fans “crave the first-person stories of celebrity lives” and are interested in keeping celebrity books “on their nightstand,” enough so that books by celebrities are consistently reliable holiday gift sellers, such as Alec Baldwin’s memoir Nevertheless and Gabby Douglas’s autobiography Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. Sharkey also reveals that celebrities are used to being in the spotlight and are sociable, always camera-ready, and “rule” social media, which are all important elements for the successful marketing of books. Any area of weakness they have, Sharkey said, are also easy to deal with since celebrities generally “know what they don’t know” and are open to accepting that they need help in an arena beyond what they’re famous for.
The challenges working with celebrities are also something different than working with traditional authors. Entourages, the amplified fear of failure, and unrealistic expectations all add to the list of struggles Sharkey has dealt with when working with celebrity authors. There’s also the issue of how in-demand they are; getting celebrities to do book promotions when they’re already so busy and marketplace collisions with them when they are trying to advertise other products, are stand-out instances of how their fame can make them difficult to work with. Also, not every celebrity author has the skill to write their own books despite their desire to. Sharkey says that ghostwriters are often necessary to always have ready to assist the celebrity authors.
Sharkey had already shared her interesting career with us in the fall lecture, so it was fascinating to listen to her talk about the work she does getting celebrities to open up and to be honest about their lives and work in their books. As with her previous talk, Sharkey had no trouble keeping everyone invested in her talk through insightful anecdotes and straightforward, honest details about a part of the publishing industry that can feel secret and elusive to publishing students.
Pace University’s MS in Publishing Program celebrated the hard work and accomplishments of students and alumni at this year’s Student Appreciation Dinner on April 13. The event was enjoyed by faculty and guests of the program.
Professor Sherman Raskin, the Director of the MS in Publishing Program and the Pace University Press, started the night off by sharing his pride in the program and the community created and fostered through it.
Established publishing industry professional and advisory board member Frank Gatti, the first guest speaker of the night, followed Professor Raskin’s lead by speaking about the talented staff and students of the program. Gatti also spoke about the unique education the program provides future publishing professionals, and how important their education from Pace is in contributing to their success in the industry.
Denolyn Carroll, who is both an alumni of the program and a former professor, was the second guest speaker of the night. Carroll spoke warmly about how Pace influenced her academic, professional, and personal journeys. She spoke about how she left Jamaica to move to New York to work in magazine publishing after she completed her undergraduate education, and how Pace helped her accomplish her goals by providing well-taught, relevant courses. Carroll also reflected on how Professor Raskin awarded her the Times Mirror Scholarship, making her the first recipient of the award at Pace. This recognition for her work in graduate school was important and meaningful for her. For her, one of the greatest strengths of the program is that the professors genuinely care about their students and do everything they can to help students succeed. As she spoke about her lengthy career in magazine editing, earning the title of Editorial Operations Director at Essence among many other achievements, Carroll still had plenty of positive memories about her time teaching at Pace to share.
The final speaker of the night was the Graduate Assistant of the Multimedia Lab, Kevin Mercado. Mercado told the dinner’s attendants how he found out about the program after attending an information session Professor Raskin hosted at his undergraduate school, SUNY Albany. Mercado considered himself “recruited” at this event, and he said he’s come a long way from when he first entered the program. From narrowing down his interests and defining his career path, to connecting with other Pace alumni and students, Mercado expressed gratitude to Professor Raskin and the program for all of the opportunities he’s had.
The talking didn’t stop after the speeches were over—everyone present spent the night networking and exchanging stories about their time at Pace while they ate. It was amazing to see how many friendly and successful people are connected to Pace, and how willing everyone was to connect with each other. The event definitely celebrated its students, but it also was a celebration of how important the program has been and is, in launching successful publishing careers.
The panel will be held on April 18th at 6:00 PM in the Random House Auditorium (1745 Broadway). Admission price is $10 for members and $5 for students. To register for the event, please click on this link.
Once at HarperCollin’s headquarters in downtown Manhattan, students got to look around at the publisher’s main entrance—which was decorated with mementos from HarperCollin’s history, understated art pieces, and neatly packed cases of books—before being funneled into the conference room. All the seats came with an itinerary for the visit and a complimentary book published by one of HarperCollin’s imprints, which was exciting to everyone.
The presentation opened with Carolyn Zimatore, who is the Director of Talent Management at HarperCollins, sharing a basic overview of HarperCollins’s business history and their current imprints. The scope of the talk narrowed then to her describing the different publishing departments, which served as an excellent lead-in to her explanation of internship and job opportunities at HarperCollins and possible departments students can consider applying to.
To give a better idea of the day-to-day operations of employees from different divisions of the company, Zimatore invited 4 guest speakers to share their experiences, responsibilities, and answer related questions. Angela Craft, the Associate Marketing Director of Avon, Harper Voyager, and Impulse, shared how she went from blogging about books on her own to making a full-time job from it. Chelsea Green, the Sales Product Manager of Harper360, talked about how she went from working in inventory to determining which books HarperCollins published overseas seemed like they would sell well in the US and why. Senior Manager, Digital Production and Children’s Managing Editor Heather Brady, who discussed the importance of encouraging children to read to cultivate adult readership. The last speaker was Lucia Macro, the VP/Elective Editor of William Morrow and Avon, who informed students the importance of a publishers relationship with their author.
The site visit was informative and helpful for all the publishing industry hopefuls who were able to go, and it felt more personable because of the fact there were all exclusively Pace undergraduate and graduate students present. Judging from the full room of attendants and the impressive line of students trying to thank Zimatore at the end of the talk, it’s clear that opportunities like this are greatly appreciated by Pace students.
The celebrated poet Alice Notley is the spring 2017 reader in the Poets @ Pace series.
The reading, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Tuesday April 18th from 6-8 pm in the Bianco Room, Level B, One Pace Plaza. It will include a Q & A, book signing, and refreshments.
MS in Publishing Program alumni Kristin Dolan will be speaking at Pace University’s Dyson Dialogues event alongside of Professor Aditi Paul’s Intro to Communications class. Hosted by Dean Hermann, this talk will focus on the accomplishments Dolan has accumulated throughout her career—many aspects which are relevant to publishing industry positions.
As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 605, Dolan is in charge of the overseeing the daily aspects of running a business, including leading sales, research, finance, marketing, and more. She is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Dolan Family Ventures, and is also a member of the Board of Directors for AMC Networks and The Madison Square Garden Company.
Date/Time of Event: Tuesday, April 4th 10:40am to 12:00pm
Location: Lecture Hall North, 2nd floor, 1 Pace Plaza
To RSVP for this event, please email Ben Gordon at BGordon2@pace.edu.
Inkluded champions diversity in publishing by supporting like-minded organizations toward actualizing their missions and goals and, in doing so, encourages along inclusivity amongst publishing professionals and readers of all ages.
WNDB’s Internship Grant Program provides economic assistance to applicants of diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing highly valuable, but low-paying children’s publishing internships—internships that might not be accessible otherwise. Without internships on their resumes, applicants are always disadvantaged when pursuing careers in publishing. Already, eleven participants of the program have landed entry-level positions in publishing; so, the program is working. Inkluded would like to help WNDB expand their program.
Tickets are $20. Due to limited space, only 40 tickets available for this event.
The Graduate Center Public Programs (CUNY) 365 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016
What can today’s activists learn from the successes and failures of their precursors? First in this series, we welcome Larry Kramer, an award-winning playwright (The Normal Heart) and author, and a celebrated public health and gay rights advocate. As a pioneering AIDS activist, he co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982 and founded ACT UP in 1987. He speaks with Charles Blow, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author of Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
Part of the series “The First 100 Days.” Presented with the CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies, the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC), and the Ph.D. Program in History.
Admission is free, reservations are required. To make a reservation, click here.
The Strand Bookstore 828 Broadway (& 12th Street) New York, NY 10003
Unexpected, humorous, sometimes dark, and surprisingly heartfelt, here are tales that explore the secret life of men as they pass into adulthood, middle age, and old age confronting lust, pain, guilt, bewilderment, and mortality. O’Leary has won numerous literary awards for his stories and his title story was a finalist for the Mark Twain Award for Humor Writing. The collection fearlessly distills for the reader tinctures of joy, pain, madness, heartbreak, greed, and other components of the human capacity for good and evil, for beauty and ugliness. O’Leary showcases humanity in a fluent, fun read, which will let you peek into the most intimate and the well familiar entrails of existence. Few books around these days possess the capability to bring both a tear to your eye and smile to your lips, within the span of a few chapters, such as this work does.
Tim will be joined in conversation by Stuart Elliott, former advertising/media reporter turned freelance writer at Media Village.
Prior to the talk guitarist Christopher White will perform his song “Dick Cheney Shot Me In The Face.”
Admission is $15. Please click here to purchase admission.
The Center for Fiction 17 E. 47th St New York, NY 10017
A must for emerging writers: we’ve partnered with Electric Literature and The Authors Guild to present a series of events aimed at giving you the essentials when it comes to your career. In this first of the series, our panelists Yuka Igarashi (Soft Skull Press, Catapult,) Michelle Legro (formerly of New Republic,) and James Yeh (VICE) will discuss how to pitch for online, and the ways in which writing for the web differs to print. Moderated by Dwyer Murphy of Electric Literature.
Admission is free. Feel free to RSVP for this event.