Hi girlwithpenners, Laura Mazer here again, this time blogging from BEA in Los Angeles! BEA, or BookExpo America, is the annual international book-industry convention held here in the United States, and it's a major scene—everyone in the industry shows up to buy, sell, pitch, scope the competition, and score some pretty neat swag. (Thank you, Chronicle Books, I love my new sky-blue tote bag!)
The mood is buzzy on the floor, and I love to eavesdrop on the meetings in the lounge areas and booths. The Canadians are selling European book rights to the Italians, the Brits are working out co-publishing deals with the Americans, agents are pitching publishers, publishers are pitching booksellers, and everyone is eyeing each other's new releases, wondering what the next big breakout title will be. It's book-lover heaven.
The reason I wanted to blog from here is because BEA always reminds me just how many thousands of publishers, editors, and literary agencies there are. I used to think of the book world as small, insider-y. It seemed as though there were only a handful of publishers, and if you didn't know someone who knew someone at one of those houses, you probably wouldn't get a book published. But looking around me here on the convention-center floor, I'm seeing row after row of big houses, indy houses, academic presses, niche publishers, boutique publishers, nonprofit publishers, and all the hundreds of imprints that specialize in certain categories (particularly popular this year are the mind/body/health/spirituality publishers, which seem to be cropping up all over the country). There are so many publishers here that I actually got lost one afternoon when I went in search of a publicist friend's booth without my floor map.
The point of my telling you all this is: If you have a good book idea, there is a publisher out there that's right for you. There's a little bit of a dating-and-mating game to be played in the process of finding that publisher, but I guarantee you it's out there. Make yourself familiar with which imprints and houses are publishing the kind of book you want to write, and target those houses when you're pitching your idea.
And if you're in New York next year, drop by BEA for a day and see for yourself how big and beautiful this industry really is. (Just wear comfy shoes, and don't lose your map.)