This month: BEA & the Writer’s Digest Books Writers Conference

BookExpo America/Writer's Digest Books Writers ConferenceChuck Sambuchino was kind enough to include me in the colossal pitch slam that winds up this year’s BookExpo America/Writer’s Digest Books Writers Conference. The event will be held at the Javits Center in New York City on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. The conference allows writers to discuss their work very briefly with any of 66 agents and four editors participating in the two-hour pitch session at the end of the day. It’s a great way for writers to get a sense of agents’ personalities. Darn! Can I still get that charm school diploma in time for the conference?

My friend Christina Katz, who is charming, will be presenting “Get Known Before the Book Deal: A Platform Primer,” one of the morning breakout sessions at the writers’ conference, and “Find Your Niche Topics, No Matter What You Write” in the afternoon. Christina has led the way by defining authors’ platforms and explaining how to develop them. I’ve recently encountered acquisitions editors who say they won’t consider the work of writers who don’t already have online platforms. That includes novelists. Unless you’re Chesley B. Sullenberger III, folks, a platform takes time to establish, so get going.

BookExpo America opens on the day after the writers’ conference. I can only smile when I read that this year BEA will be smaller than in years past, or that last year’s BEA in Los Angeles was lackluster. Truthfully, I’ve never been a party girl. The book publishing industry’s big convention and trade show is more than enough to keep me entertained for four days.

It’ll be fun to renew old acquaintances and meet other agents, authors, editors, booksellers, librarians, and publicists in New York. Mr. Misdiagnosed & Admitted just delighted me by pointing out that Pete Dexter is scheduled to appear at BEA for a special event on Sunday, May 31, 2009. Aside from being a gawking Dexter admirer, I’m nerdy enough to actually enjoy the BEA conference sessions on topics like XML, viral marketing, virtual readers’ advisory services, and new study results from BISG. Why didn’t someone tell me when I was younger that I should become a librarian?

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