I was able to participate last weekend in my first ever Book Expo America, which was held at the Javits Center in New York City. What an event. I’ll fill in more details later, but briefly, I was a volunteer for the Editorial Freelancers Association, which I am an active member of. I worked the Association’s booth on Saturday afternoon, ready to answer questions for the many publishers, authors, freelance editors, and occasional artists or other publishing professionals that stopped by the booth.
I was off work on Friday so I was able to spend the whole day there. I talked to some publishing people I knew, met some authors I knew, some of whom I follow on Twitter, including Chuck Wendig, who was signing copies of his new book, Under the Empyrean Sky.
Because the conference floor gets very crowded, I could only take it in small doses. I spent a large part of my time attending talks about writing, publishing, and social media in the lecture halls downstairs. On Friday I joined in on “Twitter 2.0: Twitter Master Class for Publishing Professionals,” given by Cindy Ratzlaff; “Perspectives in Publishing: an Author’s Transition from Traditional to Self-Publishing,” with Guy Kawasaki and Leigh Haber, and “Self-publishing: Disrupter or Defender of the Book Business,” with James McQuivey, Christopher Kenneally, Angela James, and Keith Ogorek. All very informative; I confess that I found Guy Kawasaki’s talk very helpful as well as entertaining, but Cindy Ratzlaff also had some great ideas for social media. I took a lot of notes and will pass on some tidbits in another post.
On Saturday, Neil Gaiman was speaking. I was able to snag a seat in the third row on the side, so I had a great view. He was as entertaining in person as I’ve seen in videos, and he was generous with the audience. He’d signed 1,000 books prior to the event and gave audience members two of his newest books.
As a newbie at the conference, I didn’t plan too well. The first day I was carrying too much. I’d brought a shoulder bag with my laptop inside as I had work to do—big mistake. I ended up with nine books, one of which was a hardcover, plus a bunch of business cards and brochures from publishers and other editors and authors.