Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Obligatory BEA Post

My feet are screaming even while I'm sitting down, so I must have spent the day at the BEA, picking up too many free books I'll never read and going back and forth between the same 5 stands trying to find the editor I wanted to talk with. This time, at least, I had enough water, or could have bummed some bottles off at least one of the two publishers whom I have books with.

In summary:

- No drummers this time. Yay!

- Free champagne, beer, and in one case, popcorn, comes out about 4 pm, and not a moment too soon at that. The best way to get it is the same way you get in anywhere - you just act like you belong there.

- The daily PW gigantor edition for the BEA had article on Sylvia Browne called "helped by angels." Apparently she's written that despite her angel spirit guides, she's been through three disastrous marriages where she was beaten, stolen from, and cheated on. Sylvia, first of all, WE ALL KNOW YOU'RE FAKING IT. Second, if you have deluded yourself into thinking a spirit guide is telling you what to do in life, you might consider the idea that he has given you some terrible advice over the years. I mean, if I was marrying a guy, and I had an angel spirit guide helping me out, I would at some point ask him, "Hey angel, should I marry this guy?" and if he said, "Yes, it's totally cool" and then the guy beat me and stole from me, I would question the integrity of my spirit guide's judgment.

- If you are a Jewish Press and I've never heard of you, you are probably run by crazy people and that's why legitimate Jewish booksellers won't stock you in their stores. Hell, you probably shouldn't even be at the BEA. The major Jewish publishers who aren't trying to branch out into other markets pretty much don't waste their time with the BEA. They don't need networking and social media. Either I'm going to buy their English edition of the Talmud Bavli with the Rashi script converted into normal block print or I'm not. No amount of press changes that.

- United Arab Emirates, you cannot buy my love with an outrageously fancy stand. Same thing to you, Saudi Arabia and the CCP Press. (To be fair, Xinhua's stand was not very extravagant).

- Scientology booth, I am not fooled by you. Hubbard was a terrible sci-fi author and you push his stuff as a front for the giant corporation we call a cult and you call a religion. Considering how many people regularly buy and read Hubbard's fiction (the numbers have to be dismal), you stole a ridiculous amount of floor space from publishers who needed it. Also, what was with the African-American guys in pirate costumes? Because there were like 3 of them and that's bucking the odds in colorblind casting.

- Wow, there sure were a ton of content-less booths for various e-publishing companies, weren't there? I should be less surprised, really, but they were like, a whole SECTION. A section that was pretty empty. We need shiny books to attract us, even if we know they're not galleys and we can't take free copies.

- A bunch of people asked me what I did for a living. I thought the "EXHIBITION AUTHOR" tag on my badge would have given that away.

- If you are looking for an editor you've never met in real life in a gigantic corporation's booth, all of the name badges will inevitably be turned around so you can't scope out people's names from afar and have to interrupt their conversations to ask them. It's like, a thing.

- One of my publishers claimed they didn't have any copies of my book on display because the one copy was stolen (which happens), but I'm on to them. C'mon, it was two hours into the convention! On the other hand, if people were racing to steal a copy of my book off a stand and clearly put it ahead of any other thing they might have had to do on the first day the convention floor was open, I might not be in such a bad situation as an author.

- Man, a ton of people lined up for author signings with authors I'd never heard of. Some of that's got to be getting caught up in the moment or hoping for a good resale value, though to be fair I did not hear anyone say, "Make it out to eBay."


_*rachel*_ said...

Very good point on spirit guides.

Mixed feelings on Saudi Arabia. Very mixed. I would have stopped by the booth and read everything, but it probably wouldn't have changed my opinions.

David said...

You almost make me want to be there. You make BEA sound like zany! fun!

Also exhausting and stupefying.

David said...

You know, I probably would have spent a lot of time at various the Saudi Arabia, etc., stands. It would delight me if the literature displayed there represented the feelings of their writers and not the positions of their governments. If that were the case, I'd pick up as many books as I could.

Freebies, of course.

The Rejecter said...

No freebies at the Saudi display. Just very, very expensive-looking Qur'ans and some other Arabic stuff.

David said...


That'll go over well.

Alan Orloff said...

I thought the same thing in the digi-book section! (although the e-readers were pretty shiny)

And you're right, no one asked me to sign my book to eBay--but I would have!

Earl said...

"could have bummed some bottles of at least one off the two publishers whom I have books with"

Seriously? You work for a literary agency, you critique (and usually reject) people's writing for a living, and you produced that?!?!?!

Wow, your, ummm, 'feet' must've been really tired.

I mean, aside from the of/off switcheroo (an understandable typographical mistake), you actually went to the trouble to use 'whom', and then still couldn't be bothered to pull that preposition off the end of the phrase and in front of the 'whom' where it belongs. That's practically the only reason someone would want to use 'whom' anyway, as in, "with whom I have books" -- to avoid ending the phrase with a preposition!

If I wasn't so obviously verbose in my reaction to this, I'd say I was at a loss for words....

The Rejecter said...

Damnit, I put the second F in the wrong place. Thanks for finding that.

Also, a blog post is NOT a polished manuscript.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I have free books from BEA 2008 that I still haven't read. I'm glad I'm not the only one, even though I was going crazy scooping up as many freebies as I could.

Re: presses run by crazy people, I love when they try to convince you they're legitimate or a bigger deal than they are. It usually only takes one or two questions to uncover the truth and the reactions are quite funny.

The Scientology booth was present at San Diego Comic-Con last year as well, peddling Hubbard's pulp SF. A lot of people seemed to not make the connection. I can't remember if they had pirates or not.

Earl said...

Ahhhh, I get it. Since you're self-publishing, you can set your own standards for pass/fail...

Nicole said...

*drool* free books... having major green monster moment!

Maria said...

No, no, you missed the point--they asked what you did for a LIVING. They saw your author badge and you probably looked very fashionable and well-fed. So they wondered how such a poor starving artist type was making money. I can't be via writing, right???


LM Preston said...

Oh, this had me giggling. Loved the post and made me think of the BEA a lot differently.