Monday, March 26, 2007

A Baker's Dozen: Work BEA The Frugal Way

Book Expo is probably the most exciting tradeshow ever for anyone who has anything to do with the publishing industry.

This huge show (in New york this year!) is not open to the public, but I've seen just plain readers there in the past. If, as a reader, you can't get in. Think. How can you qualify for acceptance? Begin to write reviews, as an example? That's my first hint. Once in the door, are some other hints for you that will help make BEA, book fairs or any other kind of show work better for you.


1. Authors might consider NOT getting a "table" (I hate the term because that's what too many authors do, they come, bring books at sit down at the table supplied by the show director) or booth of your own.

2. If you really want to sign, utilize a cross-promotional effort sponsored by the likes of Span, Book Publicists of Southern California,  IBPA (Independent Book Publishers of America) your distributor, or your publisher. Not all organizations have a presence at every show.

2. Bring copies of your book to sell or give away as opportunities present themselves but carry only one or two at a time. Instead bring lots of copies of your sell sheet, a flier, or a pile of lightweight promotional chapbooks*

3. Use the tradeshow/conference directory, handouts, or whatever they offer to help you find your way. Someone has gone to lots of trouble to provide you with what you need for success. Trust them. They likely know something you don't.

4. Forget being shy. Work at being friendly. Schmooze with people everywhere. Elevators, lunch counters, the subway. Give people your business card. Ask for theirs.

5. Ready for a nap after lunch? Resist the temptation. Instead attend one more panel or semimar or visit one more booth you've picked out from that directory. The one you snooze through could be the one that can make a difference.

6. Think about how you can connect others who might have something in common. When you're doing that, you automatically have your networking hat on. When you network (yourself or others) everyone benefits.

7. Jacqueline Church Simonds suggests you take a contact to lunch. Something like that is a nice thing to do if you invited them to learn something from them, but it's even better if you always make an effort to do return favors to those who have given you information -- over lunch, on the net, or by phone.

8. Take a notebook. Use it. Tape business cards into it. And, mostly, follow up on everything when you get home--the more quickly the better.

9. Make notes on business cards you take. What did you talk about? What ideas did you share? How does what the person on the card do relate to what you do? Most business cards don't give you enough information to remind you of the reason for your connection afteryou've flown back across the nation (or even driven across town in traffic).

10. Take business cards of your own that give the receiver more information that your name, company name and URL. If they have ten cards or a hundred, they will not have time to look up your website to jog their memory. You card should at least attempt to do that with blurbs, visuals, even a bribe to come to your website! Use Vistaprint.com freebie offers for printing (but watch their prices--their shipping costs fluctuate depending one the offer they make. Nothing every comes really free, now does it!)

12. Get in on a press badge. If you write a column that is associated in some way with the industry, freelance or own a website that disseminates information related to that industry's product, you may qualify. If you do, you will be eligible to frequent the media room (lots of networking goes on there!) and you may also qualify to install a stack of your media kits for your fellow media types to take with them. (If you do, be sure to provide kits with the kind of content that will make them want to lug a copy back to their office.)

13. Here are lots of mini-tips in one. Wear comfortable shoes. Pack an extra pair. Use a badge that hangs around your neck to stow extra cards. Women! Wear clothing with pockets. Pockets can work as filing system that is more easily accessed than your purse or briefcase.

*For more on promotional chapbooks read the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo).   For more articles like this one sign up for my Sharing with Writers newsletter. Subscribe by sending an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to HoJoNews@aol.com


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author THIS IS THE PLACE; HARKENING: A COLLECTION OF STORIES REMEMBERED; TRACINGS, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T; and THE FRUGAL EDITOR: PUT YOUR BEST BOOK FORWARD TO AVOID HUMILIATION AND ENSURE SUCCESS. Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com .

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