Sometimes weird coincidences just happen. The annual Book Expo America (BEA) convention gets a fair amount of coverage in the mainstream press so many people learn about it for the first time. After the book world’s BEA frenzy recently, several aspiring authors emailed me to ask if they should attend next year. “With so many editors and agents under one roof, isn’t BEA a great to network and pitch my book?” a writer from Sacramento wondered.
The short answer is no.
But as I was crafting my reply to Writer from Sacramento and the other emailers, someone pointed me to this post about why aspiring authors should avoid BEA. Don’t just take my answer for it. Here’s a real, live publishing professional telling you the truth so you can save your travel money for that trip to Kings Island amusement park in Ohio.
I know so many other publishing folks who feel the same way. BEA is simply too crowded, too chaotic, and too jam-packed for of people you need to see for existing business purposes to be able to concentrate on potentially taking up new business.
If you’re just dying to make a literary trip and use that tax deduction, try attending a workshop or conference somewhere. Many of these events feature editor and agent pitch meetings where you get one on one time with the gatekeepers of the industry.