BookExpo America (BEA): Day 3 (only 1 more to go!) by Jami Kelmenson
Special correspondent Jami Kelmenson – a freelance writer, blogger, and first time attendee – is reporting for us from the floor of BookExpo America (BEA), the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. And make sure you catch up on her day one and day two adventures!
Here we are at Day 3 of BEA and I can tell you this blogger knows her way around the Javits Center the way Derek Jeter knows his way around a baseball diamond.
I will try to save my energy today for the grand finale tomorrow—a session with Elizabeth Gilbert on book clubs. Have you seen her TED talk on “genius”? It is.
So here’s a quick overview of today’s highlights:
Self-publishing is here to stay. And despite how uncomfortable it makes most of us to think of how easily and quickly your grandmother can publish a book about her cat, we should be grateful. It means greater selectivity and books will only get better as a result. The problem will be figuring out how to separate the fresh cream from the muddy coffee. Both Guy Kawasaki and a panel of publishing enablers including Angela James of Carina Press believe in the power of cappuccino foam and we should keep sipping.
- The lesson from Mr. Kawasaki: “We shouldn’t let a handful of companies (read: the big 6 publishing houses) determine the winners and losers when it comes to publishing.”
- The lesson from the panel: “It’s all good even though it hurts.”
On the writing process, Bill Clinton and turn-of-the-century Shanghai courtesans:
O Magazine Books Editor, Leigh Haber, sat down with Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club) in front of a sizeable audience to have a conversation, much the same way Oprah does when she interviews a well-known guest—with a causal authenticity that makes you feel like you are eavesdropping on two old friends having tea.
Ms. Tan’s newest novel, The Valley of Amazement, explores “not the power of love, but love as power, love as desire and delusion” as it moves “between the glittering world of courtesans in turn-of-the century Shanghai, a remote Chinese mountain village, and the rough-hewn streets of nineteenth-century San Francisco.”
- Asked about her process over more than two decades of writing, Ms. Tan shares, “Each new book gets harder (and) as writers, we worry about ourselves, we worry about our brains” with each new book.
- As for Bill Clinton, she relayed the memory of sitting next to him at an event once. The table was so packed, their legs touched throughout the entire evening, his towering frame leaning in to talk to her. It was “thrilling,” she says. Uh huh, I’d say so.
On my random pick of the day:
Drum roll please…it’s a novel called Margot by Jillian Cantor. Not Kidder, not Channing, not Hemingway—can you guess who this Margot is? Jenna Blum describes it best in her cover blurb: “A compassionate imagining of what might have happened had Anne Frank’s sister Margot survived.” I get chills just typing this. I’ve been thinking about Ms. Cantor’s manifestation of the living, breathing Margot all day, and I haven’t even gotten past the first page yet.
On the best promo of the day:
This one has got to go to the new brand of wine promoted with Wine For Dummies. It’s a book! It’s an alcoholic beverage! It’s two, two, two brand extensions in one! Available in the genres of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon.
What will this fascinating industry think of next? Really, tell me what you think this fascinating industry might think of next.
Jami Kelmenson is a freelance writer and blogger living and loving in New York City. She is currently seeking representation for her first novel, Crossing Paths. Read of her ongoing tales of travel, life, love and the pursuit of getting published in NYC at her blog, www.jamikellywriter.tumblr.com.
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