Should You Go to BEA?

Next Wednesday (May 29) through Saturday (June 1), thousands of book industry authors, publishers, marketers, salespeople, and book lovers will converge in the Javits Center in New York for Book Expo America (BEA). BEA is the largest annual conference in North America for the publishing industry. So, should you go?

First, What is BEA?
BEA is a trade show primarily targeted to publishing professionals, but on the last day (June 1st), the show is open to consumers. There are more than 1,300 exhibitors on the show floor and daily conference sessions focusing on everything from marketing to sales to technology and social media. There are dozens of special events and author signings for attendees. Plus, this is the first peek for many at the latest books pubbing in the summer and fall.

Speaking of conference sessions, four of the contributors (Lori Culwell, Brittany Geragotelis, Katherine Sears and myself) will be presenting a session May 29 at 1pm entitled What’s Working Now: Search Engine Optimization, Author Platforms and New Social Media. We each bring our own diverse perspectives to a panel that will detail how to make your author Web presences—be their Web sites, social media, or sales—perform for you.

Should You Go?
Well, those are a lot of great reasons right there. You will also be able to meet your favorite authors, be the first to know about upcoming books. Your badge gets you into any of the conference sessions for free. More than 500 authors will be doing book signings—chances are, someone you really want to see will be there. Also, the Author Stage appearances give you a great opportunity to hear authors speak about their books. (This year, Amy Tan, Jonathan Lethem, and Chuck Klosterman are among the speakers.) Another popular event is the Author Breakfasts, where you start your day listening to top authors in panel discussions about their work. (You need to get tickets to these, and they sell out fast, so nab them while you can.) Plus, this is your one chance this year to rub elbows with pretty much anybody who is anybody in the industry.

If you’re not in New York City, you’re looking at transportation and lodging costs while you’re there. If you’re a member of the industry, you’re looking at registration fees (starting at $99 – $199/day depending on your professional category) and extra costs for special event tickets.

If you are going to invest in a conference to enrich your professional development and personal promotion, this is money well-spent. Whether you’re looking to network, meet authors, or hone your professional skills, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for at BEA. If you do come to our session, please be sure to say hi. We can’t wait to meet our readers.

Lisa Hazen is a Chicago-based Web Designer specializing in author sites. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or the WWW. mailto:[email protected]




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