KT’s Report from Book Expo 2017 Part 2 (#bookexpo2017)

Jun 5, 2017 by

KT’s Report from Book Expo 2017 Part 2 (#bookexpo2017)

 

For the most part, I spent my 2 days at Book Expo roaming the main floor and checking out everything the publishers had to offer. I did attend a few panels, mainly because I thought they would great tools for an author like me. Many of the panels listed talked about ways for authors and books to get noticed. I went to two panels- For Authors: Working with Independent Booksellers and Book Reviews: The Diversity of Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation.

I attended For Authors: Working with Independent Booksellers first: “Developed for authors, this panel features booksellers who have formulated best practices for working together to create events that benefit both stores and authors. The session will cover a number of issues, from author publicity to dealing with pre-event nerves.”

The reason I attended this panel, is because, as a self-published author, I was interested in hearing advice from independent booksellers (who operate independent bookstores) on how self-published or indie authors can do talks or book signing at these stores. Maybe even learn ways to sell my books at my local indie book store. This panel was interesting to listen to, but it wasn’t welcoming for self-published or indie authors, especially ones who write genre specific books, like say romance. These indie booksellers were big on selling literary fiction and books trying to hit the New York Times lists. They constantly mentioned traditional publishers, and they had deep disgust (almost hate) for Amazon. After attended this panel, I personally didn’t feel comfortable approaching any indie bookstores near me, for fear they would reject me because I’m self-published and publish on Amazon.

But there were some good points mentioned that may help other authors and how to approach those indie book stores in their communities:

-Authors have a responsibility of bringing their own audience in at their talk or book signing at an indie book store. Most of these indie bookstores can only fit around 30 people. Even some best selling NYT or Pulitzer Award winning authors have had small audiences of less than 10 people.

-Building relationships is important, meaning build a relationship with the bookstore because they will hand sell your book. They say it doesn’t matter where you publish, but based on this talk, I felt these book sellers were more open to authors with a publisher or are well known in their community. Build a partnership with a store that should span the author’s writing career.

-One of the book sellers is big on selling literary high end fiction or intellectual books, but they want to support their local authors. Edgy books for the most part are not welcome, because as one of the panelists said, they are a family book store and need a safe place for families.

Always do research in the bookstore you want to have an event at. Write an email to their event coordinator, if they have one. Authors are the ones responsible for outreach for promoting the event- best way is using digital media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. If you tweet the event, always include the store’s handle.

-NEVER EVER MENTION AMAZON. DO NOT EXPECT INDIE BOOK STORES TO DRIVE SALES THROUGH AMAZON.

-Something important to keep in mind: These stores allow consignment (prefer books through Ingram if self-published or indie), and expect them to take 50% of sales because they give authors the space.

 

The second panel, Book Reviews: The Diversity of Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation was one of the most important panels Book Expo has to offer: “As more consumers and gatekeepers search for diverse books, book reviews are playing a larger role in highlighting quality diverse titles. The Children’s Book Council’s Diversity Committee assembles a panel of book reviewers, bloggers, and publicists to discuss how book reviews address diversity. This moderated panel will explore the strategies and policies that various publications and websites have employed to describe a book where the characters race may be plot-essential, incidental, or even inexplicit.

Session Takeaways:

  •        The policies and philosophies various book publishers apply towards race and the state of diversity in book reviews.
  •        How publishers can work with reviewers to ensure reviews are accurate and helpful to consumers.
  •        How booksellers can use book reviews to better inform their purchase of diverse books.

 

The topic of diverse books, and diverse authors is something that should be discussed because of the current lack of diverse books being published. The main topics discussed regarding diverse books was mainly about race and disabled characters, but there was very little mention of LGBTQ, which I found disappointing. Also, there was a constant mention of diversity in traditional publishing, but little mention of diversity in self publishing or indie publishing.

One big point that came across, which should lead to some discussion about the increase of diverse books in publishing, but these are being written by white authors. Also a big uptick in mixed race protagonists.

-We Need More Diverse Books Movement is big, More diverse books are need in children’s book, and reviewing diverse books is Delete repeated word

Challenges in reviewing diverse books:

Fact checking on inclusive world.

Whether the audience is a looking at a mirror or in a window- within or outside the community in the book.

Many book reviewers happen to be white.

Reviewing diverse titles:

Doing due diligence. Try to be as transparent as you can to those reading reviews

Self educated, meaning research so you can evaluate the book correctly.

Book don’t always announce they are diverse or has diverse content. A reviewer must resonate with a book, aka the matchmaking process.

-Mentions, don’t judge a book by it’s cove, but do judge a book by it’s cover. Give big kudos to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

For more about CBC Diversity, an initiative founded by the Children’s Book Council in 2012, check: CBCDIVERSITY.COM

Some more interesting books and authors I saw during my travels…

 

 

 

The Astonishing Thing by Sandi Ward (October 31st, Kensington Books)

 

Pet owners know that a cat’s loyalty is not easily earned. Boo, a resourceful young feline with a keen eye and inquiring mind, has nonetheless grown intensely devoted to her human companion, Carrie. Several days ago, Carrie–or Mother, as Boo calls her–suddenly went away, leaving her family, including Boo, in disarray. Carrie’s husband, Tommy, is distant and distracted even as he does his best to care for Boo’s human siblings, especially baby Finn. Boo worries about who will fill her food dish, and provide a warm lap to nestle into. More pressing still, she’s trying to uncover the complicated truth about why Carrie left. Though frequently mystified by human behavior, Boo is sure that Carrie once cared passionately for Tommy and adores her children, even the non-feline ones. But she also sees it may not be enough to make things right. Perhaps only a cat–a wise, observant, very determined cat–can do that . . .

 

I Found You by Lisa Jewell (Out Now. Atria)

A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green (June 6th, Berkley Books)

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

 

In my third and final Book Expo post, I’ll spotlight some of my book swag, and other books on display.

 

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