Wednesday, May 25, 2011

At BEA, Book Expo of America

For about a year I've been writing features and blogging for the international publishing trade, Publishing Perspectives. So it was very exciting when my editor Edward Nawotka asked me and my Word City Studio compadre Kathleen Sweeney to cover the BEA for him. Free press passes, in exchange for a blog entry or two per day-- a bit like walking into an all you can eat buffet in Lancaster, PA, laid out by the Amish on their famous Groaning Boards, only... it's not gross like that. It's books, and actually more totebags seem to given away than books. People kept handing me totebags (and a beach ball of the Earth from the Lonely Planet crew) , but one woman stopped me and said:
"You need ChapStick." She pushed a red Chapstick tube toward me.
"I do?"
"Yes, trust me, you'll need this."
I looked at her booth's offerings, and it clicked. Ahhh, so this is how an erotic line with a focus on gay male offerings tries to get people interested in their table. Really? ChapStick? That, and candy strewn around the titles that sported illustrated '70s guys flirting on subway cars. So cute! Even cuter was the fact that there were four women snuggled into the booth, editors who were happy to let me in on a few Editing Tricks such as asking their friends and writers whether or not something was anatomically feasible. Oh my. Nice to meet you, and next!

I heard Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain) get interviewed by Jon Meacham (Random House Excecutive Editor and history geek), and the crowd was surprisingly tiny. I've blogged about that for Publishing Perspectives, and will link to it here if it goes up today.

I also attended a party for Harper Collins last night and saw my old boss Kate White, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and author extraordinaire of the sexy girl detective Bailey Wiggins (or something like that). I got a nice "You were once my fact checker" wink from her and she went on to speak to the guy with the VIP tag, his title being COO or something. John Lithgow, who's just published a memoir, was there and is very tall! I saw him once at Carnegie Hall read Peter and the Wolf aside an orchestra, and from that angle didn't realize that he's probably 6' 7".

I also met two lovely children's authors, one, Rita Williams-Garcia, who's just won a Newbery Honor for her YA title "One Crazy Summer", and one of her student proteges, who's also going to be signing a book at BEA today.

I'm sneezing and beat, but it's been worth it. Today the fun continues with plenty of coffee and tissues, I'm sure.

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