Book Expo: May 24, 2010

Monday marked the first official “happenings” for the Book Expo and Book Blogger Convention.

Kip and I headed over to the Flat Iron Building in Chelsea for a tour of Bloomsbury Publishing at 10:30. Michelle Blankenship, Associate Director of Publicity, and Peter Miller, Director of Publicity, spent about an hour with us answering questions about publishing, and asking us questions related to blogging as a marketing tool for publishers. It was a small showing of bloggers including Rachel at Home Between Pages, Gaby at Starting Fresh, Angela at Dark Faerie Tales, and Tania at Literary Cravings…but I think in some ways that was a benefit to those of us there. Some high points of the discussion:

  • Bloomsbury has found that creating “buzz” about a book three to four months ahead of the publication date boosts sales. Buzz might including providing ticklers of the book (for example, showcasing the book as part of memes like Mailbox Monday), and chatty posts highlighting the book.
  • Publishers are interested to know the best way to approach bloggers with ARCs or review books. Bloomsbury (and probably most other publishers) can add a blogger to their mailing lists for catalogs of upcoming new releases so that a blogger can request a book they might like to cover vs. getting unsolicited pitches for books.
  • Another interesting question: Do you prefer getting books direct from authors, or would you prefer to deal directly with a publicist. In our small group, the consensus was we preferred receiving books from publicists (for me, this is preferred because I think it is easier to be honest in a review of a book I might not have loved).

We had a tour of the Bloomsbury offices and met all the people who are responsible for making sure readers get the books in their hands! And, indeed, we managed to pick up a few books for our TBR shelves:

Chef, by Jaspreet Singh

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, by D.E. Stevenson

The Brontes Went to Woolworths, by Rachel Ferguson

A Kid for Two Farthings, by W0lf Mankowitz

Love’s Shadow, by Ada Leverson

After touring at Bloomsbury, we traveled to another part of the Flat Iron Building and met up with James Meader, Director of Publicity, at Picador who popped a couple of bottles of champagne and poured each of us a mimosa before introducing us to the very friendly publicists of Picador. Very laid back and chatty, this meeting was informative and friendly. Some things you might want to know:

  • The folks at Picador are really interested in what bloggers are doing and what they want to do in terms of book marketing…they asked a lot of questions about giveaways, ARC tours, author posts, and wanted to know about new or innovative approaches bloggers might have to market books.
  • Picador doesn’t just reprint trade paperbacks…they are interested in taking a previously published hardcover and giving it a new twist such as a new or more pertinent cover and a new marketing strategy (and their covers are gorgeous!).

We met in the “book room” and it was a reader’s paradise. A floor to ceiling bookcase (their latest releases) stood on one side of the room, and we were told to pick what we’d like. Here is what I snatched up:

The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg

Blame, by Michelle Huneven

Cost, by Roxana Robinson

Many thanks to the wonderful people at these two publishing houses who welcomed us with open arms and took the time to talk to us and fill our bags with some great books.

Stay tuned for my post-BEA wrap up (next week) and ticklers of all the books mentioned here!

Kip and I caught some lunch over near Greenwich Village, and then made our way to The Strand Bookstore. Wow, this is one terrific bookstore and it ate up about 2 hours of our time. Of course, I could not resist picking up a book. I bought Burmese Lessons, by Karen Connelly for half price (this is the same author who wrote The Lizard Cage, which you might remember…I loved!).

From The Strand, we headed back to our hotel for a little nap and “down time” before leaving to go to the Upper East side of Manhattan to have dinner with Kip’s cousin (who he has not seen for 30 years). We enjoyed a delicious meal, and terrific conversation before making it back to the hotel at around midnight.

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  1. It’s great to hear what sort of contact publishers are looking for from bloggers. I am always a bit tentative about contacting them but it seems that might be essential in some cases. I’m so jealous of your Bloomsbury books too! It’s seems that everyone has them now but me. 🙂 I’m really regretting that I couldn’t make it to BEA this year!

  2. I know that now these sort of events are starting I am going to be spending my days wishing I was in America and could go to the BBC and other events. That day sounds so amazing, I wish I had been there. It has inspired me to contact a few publishers in Australia and see what they can do for Aussie bloggers

  3. Thanks for the summary – it is great to hear your debrief from the publishing house tours and their thoughts on bloggers! I live in the city but it doesnt look like I will be able to break away from work to make it crosstown for the conference but I will definitely be at BBC on Friday.

    Enjoy the next few days!

  4. Sounds like you have been in a book lover’s paradise. I think it is great that publishers are interested to hear our opinions. Book bloggers are definitely being noticed now and publishers are realizing we have creative ideas and ways to get the word out. It’s another channel for them and in most cases it is free!

  5. Good suggestion about the publicist. I have a horrible time writing bad reviews, and having a middle man makes the situation easier.

    • Aths on May 27, 2010 at 12:17

    I would have loved to be at that meeting! Thanks for sharing your day!

    • Wendy on May 31, 2010 at 08:09

    Kristen: Don’t be shy about contacting publishers for books – BELIEVE ME, they are eager to engage with us. Re: the Bloomsbury books, if you want a contact at Bloomsbury to get those books, let me know and I’ll email it to you.

    Becky: My assumption would be that the Aussie publishers would also like to make contact with bloggers – what I learned (very quickly) from my week in NYC is that bloggers are the new marketing tool for book publishers. Good luck with getting things rolling in your country.

    Colleen: Sorry I didn’t get to say hello to you at the BBC (by Friday I think I was missing a lot of people – I was beyond tired!!) Hope you had a great time!

    Kathleen: This whole thing was very eye opening for me – we had a great time and I loved hearing what the publicists and publishers (and authors) had to say about their take on the book blogging community.

    Jen: I think we are going to see more author contact (direct) with bloggers…so it is important to let publicists know our preferences.

    Aths: You’re welcome – wish you could have been there too!

    • Serena on June 3, 2010 at 06:43

    Wow, you had another busy day of touring. The Picador people sound great. I love laid-back people and offices.

    • Wendy on June 6, 2010 at 08:11

    Serena: The Picador group were fantastic – they were all young and funny and welcoming.

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