Today I have an extra special treat, and I am so sorry that it so late coming. With it being Mother's Day, the day sort of got away from me. (I also spent the week scrambling to get my mom a gift because HBO messed up her gift, so there was that too.) Either way, today I have an interview with one of the loveliest people I know at HarperCollins. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to name names, so to avoid that I'm just going to call her Ms. Wonderful from here on out. I actually met Ms. Wonderful at BEA last year, and we had a great conversation about the influence of mormonism on YA, and so many interesting conversations. So thank you to her for this interview!
1.) How many years have you attended BEA?
This will be my third BEA with HarperCollins Children’s Books / HarperTeen. And in case you’re wondering, even after three years of working for a publisher, the grabby hands impulse to collect as many ARCs as possible doesn’t go away.
2.) How would you compare BEA to other book conferences/events?
I actually haven’t attended a lot of book conferences, but I imagine BEA is any other book conference on steroids. It’s huge and fantastic.
3.) Any suggestions for how bloggers/librarians should approach publishers at BEA?
Clear eyes, full hearts? Honestly, it all depends on what your goals are in approaching publishers. If you want galleys, then stick to the published times for giveaways or signings. If you’re looking for information, then ask away, but know the person you speak to might not be able to give you the perfect answer at that moment – be polite, leave a card (write your specific query on the back so we’re sure to remember), and almost assuredly that person will forward your question to someone who can answer you via email. If you’re just looking to make contacts, great! We’re often doing a lot when we’re in the booth, so if you just want to talk about exciting new books with us, try to find the times when we’re not running around for an in-booth event. Obviously not every person working a publisher’s booth can get you galleys or author contacts, but it’s always good to present yourself as a smart, passionate book person. Again, leave your card, ask for the cards of those you speak to, and follow-up afterwards with a “great to meet you!” email. We definitely remember the people we meet and we’re always delighted to meet more book people.
4.) How much planning goes into an event like this for you and your staff?
Some groups start planning the next BEA before the current one has even begun. I work in the marketing department and we plan months in advance – publicity and marketing work very hard on cultivating a list of authors that will attend, creating materials we’ll need for distribution, printing galleys for signing and giveaways, determining if there will be other giveaways or in-booth moments, and creating booth schedules.
5.) Are there any titles from HarperTeen or imprints you're excited will be at BEA this year?
One of the best parts of working at a big publisher like HarperCollins is the sheer number of fantastic books we have in any given season. As far as debuts go, I am really excited for everyone to read FIND ME by Romily Bernard, and I’d say that even if I wasn’t working on it. The book is a great thriller and she’s a fabulous up-and-coming debut with a sharp sense of humor. Definitely make time to meet Romily, she’s signing. HE SAID, SHE SAID is from Kwame Alexander and it’s a great YA title that has a fantastic message of social responsibility and activism in today’s digital age set against a storyline of school funding budget cuts in a diverse school. Kwame is also going to be signing. THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING and HOW TO LOVE are sure to make fans of all who read them. As far as middle grade goes, I’m a huge fan of THE VERY NEARLY HONORABLE LEAGUE OF PIRATES: MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT by Caroline Carlson. She has a wonderful new middle grade voice and I’m so delighted that this book is getting raves from everyone who reads it. Caroline is delightful. Sherry Thomas is breaking in to YA with THE BURNING SKY and I utterly loved it. It was one of those books that made me frustrated that I read it so far in advance of the pub date because I’ve got that much longer to wait for the next one! And you can never go wrong with Walter Dean Myers, whose latest book, DARIUS & TWIG, is just phenomenal. I could keep going on and on.
6.) What is your favorite part about attending BEA?
Books. Books, books, books, book people, book conversations, book love, book signings, book parties, aching arms and shoulders from carrying too many books. Everyone complains about hauling themselves out to the Javitz and my feet might kill at the end of each day, but I really love BEA. This time, my birthday is that weekend (June 1st) so it will feel doubly hectic, but I’m happy to share my birthday spotlight with great new books.