I thought I knew publishing trade shows. I'd been to ALA and TLA, after all. I knew there would be lines and arcs and a lot of people doing business. But I had no idea of size and intensity of Book Expo of America, otherwise known as BEA. If what I saw this past week is any indication, the publishing business is alive and well in its many different forms and incarnations and optimism abounds. Good news for us all.
Now to the fun stuff.
I had two main reasons for going to BEA for the first time this year. The main one is that I was signing arcs of my YA novel THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, which comes out May 2013 from Soho Press's new Soho Teen imprint! This was hugely exciting. Here are some pictures so you can feel like you were there with me:
Here I am signing arcs at the Soho Press booth. Thank you to everybody who stopped by. We ran out of arcs, which totally thrilled me! If you can't tell by my smile, I LOVE this book.
Here you can see the cover behind me!
And this is Daniel Ehrenhaft, my intrepid and brilliant Soho Press editor.
Not pictured is the Soho's truly amazing publisher, Bronwen Hruska.
Did you know that both Dan and Bronwen are also authors? Very cool.
This is Dan again, in his Soho Teen lair, plotting Soho domination. And possibly decorating ideas for that wall behind him.
And in a delightful surprise, I discovered when I arrived that my other publisher, Sourcebooks, had also included my upcoming YA novel, ANASTASIA FOREVER (which you all know as book 3 of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series and which will be out on August 7th), in their display! So when I popped over to the truly gorgeous Sourcebooks booth, here is what I found:
Yes! Look at that pretty red ANASTASIA FOREVER cover, next to THE LIES THAT BIND, which is book 2 of the LIAR SOCIETY by my Sourcebooks' pals, Lisa and Laura Roecker!
And then I found one of the nicest people on the planet, my Sourcebooks' editor, Leah Hultenschmidt
And Leah showed me this ginormous blow up of the cover of WHO I KISSED, the upcoming fall YA by the delightful Janet Gurtler
Do you have any idea how lucky I feel about all this and how grateful? Words cannot express. Truly.
Also a HUGE THANKS to all the bloggers (including the Girls in the Stacks and Galleysmith Michelle who I finally got to meet!) and readers and librarians and booksellers and publishing folks who came to see me at the Soho booth. It's all about you, this book writing thing. Really, it is.
Yes, I know you're still waiting for me to explain the title! Be patient. I'm almost there.
One of the other totally rocking things about BEA, is that you get to meet all sorts of really famous and medium famous and fascinating people. And occasionally just the strange guy on the bench waiting for the E train. But that's another story.
So you discover that signing books along with you (well, in the same convention center, and that counts, right?) are celebs like Molly Ringwald and Rachael Ray and that psychic John Edward (not the politician, who if he was a psychic might have been able to avoid a lot of trauma) and even Teresa from the NJ Housewives and Kirstie Alley and Kristi Yamaguchi and even Steven Colbert and folks like that. And also this guy here:
Yes, Chris Colfer from Glee! MCing the Children's Author Breakfast, along with Walter Dean Meyer and John Green and Lois Lowey and Kadir Nelson
And at that breakfast, Lois Lowry (yes, she wrote THE GIVER) gave a speech that made me cry. And John Green observed that we already know how to write novels and that as much fun as all those apps are, to him, reading books is not something that we should be able to do while doing something else. Meaning that while the hypertext imbedded in the e book might be interesting, it is distracting us from our personal and intimate and individual engagement with the text. Food for thought, gentle reader!
And books! Oh the books that I was lucky enough to get and the authors I was lucky enough to meet or hear at panels: Jennifer Weiner, Rebecca Stead, Justin Cronin, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr and so many more that I can't list all the names or I'd be typing til next Tuesday! Luckily I was able to ship books home.
Even got to go to a couple of cool parties. Yes, me!
At the Sourcebooks party, I got to hang with two other Sbooks amazing authors: Zoraida Cordova (Vicious Blue series) and Leanna Renee Hieber (Darker Still and the upcoming The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart) Plus more time with editor Leah and publicity guru Derry Wilkens, who has some fun plans for ANASTASIA FOREVER up her fashionable Manhattan sleeves.
And we had cool cookies and cake pops!
And the Soho Press party was in this wonderful bookstore cafe in yes, Soho, called Housingworks. The kind of party where everyone is pretty darn well known and then there I am -- slightly known. Known to a few, like my editor and the publicist and author Michael Northrup because he was my YART speed dating partner at TLA where we both had to wear cowboy hats. And yes, when in the crowd of very well known people and the excitement and the meeting of people whose books I love (people like Maureen Johnson and Mo Willems among others) I clutched my flimsy plastic wine glass too tightly. And when it cracked and ultimately fell, spilling wine on my cowboy boots and splashing author Emily Lockhart's toes, she simply took the napkin from editor Dan and wiped the floor.
Yes, Emily Lockhart. You were that gracious. And I am your fangirl for life.
There was sightseeing too.
Here I am in Times Square
And I hung out a lot with my fellow YA Outside the Lines author Wendy Delsol, who also has a new book (FLOCK) coming out soon.
This is Wendy signing arcs at the Candlewick booth
And we all ate a lot of good food, like this:
Pasta, pasta, pasta at Becco
And I saw a bunch of New York and had coffee with a former student who now works for TOR books in marketing and I went to the top of the Empire State Building even though I've done that already and also decided that it was finally time to go back to the World Trade Center which I did early Thursday morning so that I could see the Memorial and also this:
And as much as I had wondered how I felt about it, it turned out that I felt really proud and good and hushed inside. On a personal level, I know what it's like to pull yourself out of the ashes of bad stuff up to good and although I had thought that I didn't want another tall building built at Ground Zero, I think I was very wrong about that after all.
In short: I want to go back to BEA next year. I hope that I do!