BookExpo America 2013

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I attended my last BEA as a resident of the east coast (though I’m sure I’ll find a way to get back there next year). Although I was pressed for time and unable to make any of the panels this year, I met some really amazing people, publishers, and startups.

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P1090068One of my favorite booths was Indie Bestsellers, where six indie best-selling authors talked to fans and signed books. The authors were Bella Andre, Stephanie Bond, Tina Folsom, Barbara Freethy, Hugh Howey and CJ Lyons. I took a picture with Barbara Freethy and Hugh Howey, because I had the pleasure of interviewing them for a couple of my IndieReader articles, and it was nice to meet them in person. And I was really excited when I met CJ Lyons, and she told me she had heard about Write or Read!

Below are some other highlights from BEA 2013: Continue reading

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NYU Publishing Students on Next Generation Publishing

The last day of BEA was incredibly busy. Between speed dating and interviews, I only had time to hear the last half of my fellow NYU publishing graduates panel. The topic was What The Next Generation Thinks: New Voices In Publishing Speak Out, and I’ve listed some of the more memorable quotes.

Continue reading

Speed Dating: An Overview of 9 Innovative Digital Publishing Companies and Products

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) held a Digital Show and Tell last week at BEA. This consisted of 15 new companies, split up in to two groups, giving five minute pitches to attendees. It’s basically speed dating, but for digital publishing. Each session lasted long enough that all attendees could hear each of the pitches, and then at the end of the group they voted for the best ones. I only attended the second session, so I’ll give an overview of the eight groups I saw. Continue reading

Basics of Licensing

The legal aspects of publishing fascinate me. Sure, they’re complicated and hard to understand at first, but it’s interesting to learn what you can and can’t do.

Licensing is a very lucrative aspect of publishing. I don’t really think of licensing when I think of publishing, but some companies, such as IDW Publishing, Bendon Publishing International, and Kappa Books have made a lot of money making licensed publications of Sesame Street, Disney characters, and Nickelodeon brands, to name a few. At the Building New Streams of Income An Introduction to the Basics of Licensing, I learned the basics of licensing from Peter van Raalte, a partner at Infinity and representative of LIMA, the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. Continue reading

BookExpo America

It’s almost that time of year again, the time for BEA. Not in New York? Well, people interested in the publishing industry, you can watch BEA live streaming on my blog. Just bookmark this post!

http://cdn.livestream.com/events/bea/channelsmall.html

BEA Day 3: Swag

Today was the third and last day of BEA. At 2:30 p.m., all the exhibitors shut down and started giving away their display copies, which meant I (and everyone else in the Jacob Javits Center) got a lot of stuff. In addition to books, I picked up posters, pencils, bags, and even a coupon for a Gotham Writers Workshop.

One thing I have learned these past three days is just how powerful blogging can be. I highly recommend it. Not only are you free to share your thoughts, you are also (if you write a quality blog) making people take you more seriously. I started this blog almost one year ago, as a way to share useful information I learn at my NYU program. And now, because of this blog, I was given the opportunity to attend BEA, and while at BEA, I was able to meet with some very enthusiastic publishers and website developers and learn even more about the book industry. Today, I stopped by Quirk Books–the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies–and I was offered books to review. I now have their Fall 2011 catalogue and am looking into doing occasional book reviews. So check back soon. In the next few weeks this site will be revamped, and will probably include some book reviews!

BEA Day 2: Book Country

Book Country is an online community for writers of romance, fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, and mystery novels. The name gives the website a sense of being a real place. The site opened its beta site to the public one month ago, and already it has 2,500 users. That’s a lot, especially considering the site is run by six tech guys, and four editorial staff–only two of which work full-time. But, take a tour of the site and you will see that this team has put a lot of thought and effort into this. While these features are not necessarily new to sites on the web, they are certainly new in the book publishing world and a necessary progressive step in bringing the industry into the 21st century.

I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to Danielle Poiesz, editorial coordinator, for an hour to discuss the site. Book Country first caught my attention a month ago, when I was working on a final project for NYU. The project was a business plan to launch a social media website around Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and it was very similar to the ideas and concepts of Book Country. So naturally, they were our biggest competitors, theoretically.

So what exactly is this site about?

“It’s a way to foster talent,” Danielle said. It’s an opportunity to help people grow, as writers, and help everyone in their community.

Although Book Country is a subsidiary of Penguin, it is an agnostic publisher, meaning it doesn’t take into account publishing companies or even literary agents. Yes, some agents and editors frequent the site and look for new talent. After all, Book Country users are dedicated to their craft and intent on improving their skills, which is valuable to those in the publishing industry. But this is just an added bonus.

The coolest feature of Book Country is the genre map. For each genre (thriller, fantasy, etc.) there is a map. All of the books uploaded to the site are placed on the map based on certain characteristics. For example, some books may be funny, others sexy, others scary, etc. Users can then explore their maps to decide which books they want to read or review next.

But there are many other features, all of which serve to make the community more active and engaged in each other’s work. The site is incredibly easy to use, with explanations of what to do or how to do it placed on each page. And everything has been broken down into sub-categories and is very detailed. For example, forums are broken down by topics such as industry, insider tips, and the craft of writing, which are then broken down even further into topics such as the business of writing, what editors look for, voice, characterization, plot, and so on.

Users of the site will learn to become better readers, which will ultimately help them improve their writing. The site is about giving in order to get. Before writers are allowed to upload their own books for feedback, they must provide feedback for three books. In their feedback, writers must give a general overview, including whether or not the book fits its chosen genre and subgenre, as well as three other elements. The author chooses which elements he or she wants comments for. Elements can include plot, character, setting, etc. Book Country also wants to make sure everyone has a chance to be reviewed, so they promote books which have yet to receive feedback.

One of the main goals of Book Country is to foster a safe environment. Therefore, they constantly moderate the forums to ensure comments are appropriate and constructive, and if necessary, will kick off users. But the site has a built in way of ensuring everyone provides constructive comments. After leaving feedback, users can vote a thumbs up or thumbs down on the comments. The more thumbs up a user receives, the more weight their ratings on anything on the site will have in the future. This is all part of one of the many algorithms that make this site so amazing.

Writers don’t have to fear of other people stealing their work. There is no way to copy or download anyone’s book, and when reading and reviewing, the text is presented in such small chunks that it would take too much effort to want to retype anything. Non-members can only read up to 5,000 words, and members can read up to 30,000 words. But, members who want to read a whole book can ask to connect to the author, similar to the way people connect in LinkedIn. Once connected, members can read each other’s full profiles and have access to all of each other’s work on the site.

Membership is free, and there are no ads on the site. So it is very user-friendly. In the future Book Country will also offer self-publishing services, for a reasonable fee.

There is a lot more to the site, but the best way to learn is to become a member and see for yourself. I plan on convincing my co-writer for Teeny Genies and joining the community myself as soon as possible!