The Book Expo America convention in New York is one of those rare places in today’s politically fraught world where conservatives and liberals not only meet (or share the same space) but agree: they both want to sell books.
Amazing how economic self-interest helps people put aside political self-interest.
That’s just one takeaway from this year’s convention.
Another: Bowker, which gathers data on book publishing, released its latest figures and, to the surprise of no one but a sign of the increasing changes in the industry, traditionally published print books rose by 6% last year. That’s significant mainly because the company for the first time included self-published books â€“ the increase was driven by self-published works. If you take out self-published books, sales were flat.
That’s for traditional, i.e., paper books. Figures weren’t available yet, but the increase in electronically published books, including those self-published, is likely to be enormous.
This year’s Book Expo is devoting a lot of floor space to digital media, including blogging and e-distribution of books.
But the emphasis remains on the printed book, and author appearances (TV chef Ina Garten, thriller writer Lee Child), and networking. At BEA, it seems sometimes that content is king only if that content is connected to a personality of some sort.
But that’s today’s publishing. What remains is the need to stand out from the crowd â€“ it appears to be even more pressing. There were quite a few self-published authors who were on hand, giving out copies of their works, in the hope of stirring interest among booksellers as well as media. But they may be going about it in the wrong way.
Anyone who is building a platform to create an audience, through blogging and engaging in a conversation with readers, knows that showing up at a big convention isn’t enough. You can’t count on being a celebrity with a book contract. You have to become famous with your audience, before hitting it big with your book. And your book, as you know, is just a tool to build your brand.
Subscribe To Beneath The Cover's Blog
Join the many publishers and authors who already get their updates sent straight to their inbox. Enter your email address below: