Book Expo America

Book Expo America (BEA), one of the world’s biggest meeting places for people in book publishing is around the corner (May30-June 1) at the steel and big concrete box west of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen–Javits Center.  For anyone who hasn’t attended BEA, picture thousands of publishers, authors, rights agents, book sellers and distributors and tourists loading up on free advance reader copies in a sort of modern bazaar. Singings and author panels are announced over speakers with the abrasive din of a Tampy Bay Rays game. Tschokes linked to books are given away liberally.

They’re all there with one aim: to get buzz, make sales, seal deals. Many do. But many do not.  Yes, it is a sort of three-ring circus, but it’s also fun and a relentless churn. It’s a chance to be immersed in not only what’s happening in book publishing now, but, more important, what trends are emerging for the next year or even two years.

But does BEA drive sales? Is the investment in the time and money to attend worthwhile?  The return on investment is there, but it may not show up immediately in orders. I’ve learned not to view it in those terms. The return is more on the ideas one absorbs, the people one meets. It gives a publisher the chance to step back and consider where he fits in, and where he ought to be moving toward. Also, publishing often boils down to relationships with people. The business can be whimsical and sometimes accidental. Showing up at BEA allows for good accidents to happen. Essentially, that’s why Tatra Press is going.

The other big reason is to go to bat for our authors and to try to get more people to know about our business.

This year, we’re bringing two titles for Fall 2013 release: MY CANCER YEAR: A Survivorship Memoir by Curtis Pesmen, an Esquire magazine writer, and RAIN FOREST WISDOM: What gorillas tell us about ourselves, by Andrew Grant, a veteran executive at the London and San Diego Zoos.  We’ll be giving away ARCs of both titles. Also, Tatra Press’ Gene Westmoreland will be doing a signing at the BEA signing area on May 30 for his A GAME FOR LIFE: Golf’s Rules and Rewards.

And, as our small contribution to the bazaar spirit of the show, Tatra will be giving away beautiful postcards like confetti, promoting RAIN FOREST WISOM—with a graphic on the mountain gorilla’s 9-step chest-beating display.

After the show, we’ll share in a blog post our impressions of this year’s BEA—trends, titles and people we think are making the publishing world a better place