Book Expo America
In June 2004, a few months after my first novel (www.TheTruthAboutCinnamon.com) was released, I attended my first Book Expo America (BEA), which was held in Chicago that year from June 3-6. BEA is the book publishing industry’s annual trade show, and I remember the 2004 event distinctly for many reasons. One of those was the fact that the four days left me like the cliched deer-in-headlights with respect to the size, scope, and complexity of the industry in which so many of us have decided we want to play.
But I also remember the Saturday of that trip (June 5, 2004), which happened to be the day of the Belmont Stakes–the third leg of horse racing’s triple crown. And that year was the first possibility of a triple crown winner in a quarter century, with a horse named Smarty Jones having won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The story of that horse was both heart warming and heart-rending and had captured the attention as well as the emotions of the entire country.
I remember standing in the lobby bar of my Chicago hotel shortly before 6:30 pm (after a whole day of being at the convention) as the race got underway. There must have been 200 people in there, all watching the multiple television screens, screaming and yelling for Smarty Jones to win.
And we all thought that’s what was going to happen–until the last few seconds of the race when an upstart horse named Birdstone barely snuck by Smarty Jones to win the race and steal the triple crown from nation’s soul. You would have thought that someone had died in that hotel bar.
And I was so moved that I wrote an article about the whole thing (see topic of Scribd.com publishing later on this post). At any rate, that was the last time since then that there’s been a possibility of a triple crown. But there’s always hope, right? Because the races are run again every year. But I can’t imagine another triple crown season like 2004.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Smarty Jones story, I recommend your Googling him. You’ll have a real treat ahead of you.
But back to Book Expo America … I attended the annual convention every year after that, except for one–and except for this year. Most of the time the event is held in New York City, but there was one in Washington, D.C. in 2006, I think. This year’s event was in NYC, and I was all set to go until the breast cancer thing came up. (Hope my refund gets processed as promised … 🙂 …)
I’ve been doing a lot of reading, though, on the different seminars, panels, and workshops that took place at this year’s BEA–and clearly one of the headliners was the whole subject of e-books. As I’m sure you know from your own reading, that seems to be the biggest hot topic in the industry. In case you’ve missed these articles/posts, here are a few that might be of interest to you as you plot your own direction toward the Dream:
- The Changing DIY Ethos http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bea/article/43296-bookexpo-america-2010-the-changing-diy-ethos.html
- Konrath Moves “Jack Daniels” Series to AmazonEncore http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/industry-deals/article/43200-konrath-moves-jack-daniels-series-to-amazonencore.html
- CEOs Debate E-books, Piracy, and the Value of the Book http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bea/article/43317-bookexpo-america-2010-ceos-debate-e-books-piracy-and-the-value-of-the-book.html
- Publishing and Perishing: The Book Industry Struggles with the Future http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/media/publishing-and-perishing-the-book-industry-struggles-with-the-f/19490487/
- E-books Rewrite Bookselling (Wall Street Journal) http://voices.allthingsd.com/20100521/e-books-rewrite-bookselling/
Clearly, whether we’re pursuing the Dream via a traditional route or some version of Do It Yourself, the e-book factor is not going to be optional for any of us who are looking for even a small measure of success. My first novel (The Truth About Cinnamon) is now available on both Kindle and Sony Reader, and the new novel (Separation of Faith) will be as well. Last week I received a note from a fellow whose novel (The Aquarians by Eric Rankin) is one that I edited and that he published using iUniverse. He’s doing extremely well with his sales, and he recently received an e-book royalty check that, as he put it, was “not too shabby.” I’ve spoken with other authors who tell me that their e-book royalties are far exceeding those of their hard covers and paperbacks. Why? Well, the royalty percentages are higher, for starters. So even on a less expensive book ($9.95 for a Kindle title), 50% royalty is higher than a 10 or 20 percent royalty on a $20 hard or soft cover.
No matter which approach you’re taking toward the publishing of your work, please take time to educate yourselves on all the elements of the e-book revolution.
And I highly recommend attending the 2011 Book Expo America, which will be held in New York City again in May. Especially if you’ve never been before, the event will be unbelievable for you. And the day before the convention opens, there will be a DIY Authors Conference. You can find out more by going to the Book Expo site–http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/Press-Information/Press-Releases/BEA-Moves-To-NYC/–and you can be sure that I’ll be there in 2011!
This free publishing site (www.Scribd.com), which is available to all of us, is where I published the serialization of The Truth About Cinnamon‘s first ten chapters. And this weekend I’m going to publish a number of articles and short stories there as well–things I’ve been keeping to myself, for some reason. One of the articles was mentioned above in the Smarty Jones scenario. I wrote the piece on the train home to New Jersey from Chicago, still emotionally drained from the devastating race the night before.
I’ll do a quick post with the link to all that stuff as soon as everything has been uploaded. Meanwhile, I highly recommend your checking the site out yourselves, if you haven’t already.
Update on the Journey
Separation of Faith is now in the hands of a professional proofreader at the publisher. This is all part of the mandatory element of this Journey that requires a quality book at all levels (development, writing, and editing) in order for the mission of this blog (see November 4 Blog Launch Posting) to stand a prayer of succeeding.
Once the proofreading is complete, I’ll receive what’s called the “galley” and will have one more opportunity to put in my two cent’s worth/make any last minute changes.
The initial cover design is complete, and seeing that art work was incredibly exciting. The fact that this is actually going to be a book soon really starts hitting home when you see the cover. The first draft (not the official term, I’m sure) of the cover needs to have some changes made, but we won’t get to that part until the proofreader has finished. Everything happens through a fixed structure in the design process.
Concurrent with all of this, I’m working on my Rising Star application, which is a program I’m eligible for because Separation of Faith has earned the Editor’s Choice designation. As I mentioned in an earlier post, if I’m accepted into the Rising Star program, I will receive assistance with the book’s marketing and promotion. But in order to be accepted, I have to be extremely clear and detailed regarding the marketing and promotion plans I’m already envisioning/setting up.
In addition to all the standard tag lines, descriptions, bio, etc., here are some of the questions on the Rising Star application:
- Who is your target audience?
- Specifically, how do you plan to market to your target audience?
- Is there a local angle to your book? If yes, please explain.
- What is the one unique thing about your book?
- How many hours a week do you plan to spend marketing your book?
- Name three other books that are comparable to your book.
- What kind of research did you conduct when writing your book?
- List the professional associations, writers groups, book clubs, fraternities/sororities, churches and/or community groups you are a member of:
- How many people can you list on your personal contact mailing/email list?
- Who are you approaching for endorsement quotes, a foreword or other testimonials?
- List your media contacts (reporters and editors, radio/tv hosts, bloggers, Web site editors, etc.).
- How many units of your book would you realistically like to sell based on your marketing plan?
- List the dates and locations of all the promotional events you have scheduled.
- List all of the outlets (media and otherwise) that you plan to pursue for publicity.
This represents about two thirds of the questions on the application. Fortunately, I’ve been given a deadline extension to June 11 due to my surgery, and I’ve been working each day to fill in all the blanks.
These are questions you might want to keep in mind with respect to your own Journey as well. As we’ve discussed in earlier posts and comments, traditional publishing houses no longer have budgets for marketing and promotion unless you’re a celebrity author. That leaves the majority of us carrying the marketing and promotional ball, even if we manage to find our way to a published book through the traditional path.
I will, of course, keep you updated on the progress of this application as well as the ultimate decision about whether or not I’m accepted. Everything I’m scheduling/planning/explaining will have to be done anyway, whether I’m accepted or not. But I sure would appreciate having a commissioned sales force helping me out by presenting Separation of Faith to elements of the industry that I don’t know how to reach–and that’s what the Rising Star program would do for me.
Social Media Integration: One thing that is already going to happen is that I’ll receive assistance integrating the release of Separation of Faith into all of the social media outlets in which I have a presence. I have a rudimentary idea of how to do this, but I will be happy to have folks who do that sort of thing all day lending their expertise.
There are so many pieces involved with a successful book launch that I’m exhausted after covering just these few. Certainly one of the keys is to focus only on what can be managed in a given day. If too much time is spent looking at the whole process at once, I’m guessing that “frozen in place” might become a possibility.
Sometimes, if I think too hard, I long for those days when I was simply mired in my tenth editing cycle … 🙂 … And I’m already fantasizing about those wonderful hours/weeks/months I’ll be spending in the research and writing of my third novel.
Honestly, we all must be totally insane to do this voluntarily …
One More Link for You
In the May/June 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest, there’s a big section on “101 Best Websites for Writers”–http://www.writersdigest.com/article/101-websites-2009. This is definitely one to keep close at hand, no matter what your goals are for the Journey or how far along you are.
Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend
Hopefully, we’ll all take at least a moment to remember why we have this holiday, thanking and honoring those who have given their lives so we can live freely in this wonderful country, pursuing our dreams in a place where anything is possible.