Friday, November 14, 2014

BEA Submission Time - Make your voice heard!

BEA is now taking submissions for EVERYTHING (well, we are not taking anything that belongs on eBay).  The submission process is accepting panel ideas and speaker suggestions for all the BEA education programs as listed below.  I have included some of the notes from the BEA Conference Advisory Board (CAB) meeting earlier this week in case that is useful or provides additional context.  

I am widely encouraging people to think about the issues that would be compelling and given a spotlight in the BEA programming - here is the opportunity to tackle the challenges that publishing needs to address.   Please voice your insights, forward the issues that are critical and suggest people that you want to hear from that can start the wheels of change.

BEA 2015 Conferences
BEA Conference Program—May 27 – May 29, 2015
Global Market Forum: China—May 27, 2015
uPublishU at BEA Conference—May 30, 2015
BEA Bloggers Conference—May 27, 2015

Guidelines for all Submissions:
BEA has a dedicated link for submitting suggested panels and speakers for all four of the BEA 2015 conferences. The link will be open to accept submissions beginning on November 11, 2014 and close of submissions are as indicated below. 

Simply click on or copy the link below into browser. 
BEA Conference Program – January 16, 2015
Global Market Forum - China – January 16, 2015
uPublishU at BEA Conference - January 12, 2015
BEA Bloggers Conference – January 12, 2015

BEA Conference Advisory Board Meeting – November 11, 2014

Benefits of Being a BEA Conference Advisory Board (CAB) Member
• Steve Rosato – reviewed the importance and opportunity – focus on connectivity and networking for all attendees

Role and Responsibility of (CAB) Members
• Sally Dedecker – focus on identifying the critical issues confronting the industry – and finding ways to promote programming and participation

Insights from BEA 2014
• Steve Rosato – provided information on the BEA audience and the BookCon audience – unique to each and with important value propositions. In addition, he presented areas that are important for BEA 2015, including building network opportunities, delivering value for small and medium size publishers and increase the volume and visibility of the most valuable attendees.

• BEA 2015 Tactics
• Steve Rosato – presented the new BEA for 2015 – compact, compelling and all business – mid week with 3 days of education for serious business and 2.5 days of exhibits. Emphasize International, strengthen the tie between Author Marketplace and uPublishU at BEA – and curate more connectivity – networking and discovery

Review of Current Tracks
-          Agreement that Digital must remain in the Digital & Technology track –
-          Add a retailing track – separate from Bookselling Today & ABA Education
-          Suggestion – since sessions can interest multiple audiences – consider ways to identify in information to attendees
-          Diversity Track was suggested
-          Suggestion – identify audience for sessions – aids in selection of programming that will enhance experience at BEA
-          Need better way to identify sessions that are of high level interest to targeted attendees
• Next Steps
-          Survey to CAB members – PPT from today, list of CAB members with contact information and meeting notes
-          Outreach to CAB members on working groups for development of programming
-          CAB members to send ideas and suggest keynote speakers and keynote topics to BEA Education Director


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sharjah Intenational Book Fair Shines Brightly

I am wrapping my last day at the Sharjah International Book Fair in what has been an incredibly quick 5 days.  It is hard not to inject some personal positive bias for the job Ahmed Al-Almiri has done in elevating the stature and importance of SIBF as THE major book fair in the Middle East and indeed a player among all the global book fairs.  My bias is from the partnership and friendship of working with Mr. Al-Amiri to introduce SIBF to US publishing industry people from  sales to agents to editors that could benefit by doing business in the region.  The primary function of BEA is to deliver value to our participants, whether they are an attendee or exhibitor and that is not limited to what happens at BEA. By leveraging the relationships we build through BEA, we were able to connect and extend the opportunity that Sharjah offers in bringing more and the latest English language titles to the Arab market.  For the publishers that has meant selling more English language books into the market and for agents, it is creating opportunities that they did not have before.

I have been coming to Sharjah since 2006 and barely recognize it from the first few times I attended.  The simplest and most powerful testimony is to share a few of the facts: 

  • More than 400 industry professionals from around the globe, participating in a 2 day professional program
  • There was curated matching making with more than 200 publishers - setting meetings between Arabic region publishers with publishers, agents and editors from all over - Canada, France, Poland, Switzerland, anchored by UK and US publishers like Wiley and Macmillan.   More than 50 countries were represented
  • John Ingram has been very visible at events and giving the day 2 keynote, being interviewed by Simon Littlewood, formerly of Random House UK
  • Over 100 applications are under review for what will be $350,000.00 in grants issued for translating books to and from Arabic as well as translating from any origin language to any other language
  • Next week 500 librarians from the UAE, including many from all parts of Africa and the US will participate in an ALA run Professional Development program
  • Dan Brown has been one of the featured guests, participating in panels, autographing books and touring the region discovering the local history
It is truly a special fair that is nurtured and supported Sheik Sultan Al Qasimi's passion for books, literature and understanding through culture that is equally shared by his daughter Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi and is easy to see by the 20,000 school kids that came through this morning buying books. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Plagiarized Post from NY Times Book Review - a great interview with Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen Credit Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

The musician and author of the new picture book “Outlaw Pete” likes reading about cosmology: “I find men and women struggling to answer the deepest questions we can ask freeing.”
What books are currently on your night stand?
I just finished “Moby-Dick,” which scared me off for a long time due to the hype of its difficulty. I found it to be a beautiful boy’s adventure story and not that difficult to read. Warning: You will learn more about whales than you have ever wished to know. On the other hand, I never wanted it to end. Also, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Gabriel García Márquez. It simply touched on so many aspects of human love.
Who is your favorite novelist of all time, and your favorite novelist writing today?
I like the Russians, the Chekhov short stories, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. I never read any of them until the past four years, and found them to be thoroughly psychologically modern. Personal favorites: “The Brothers Karamazov” and, of course, “Anna Karenina.”
Current favorites: Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy and Richard Ford. It’s hard to beat “American Pastoral,” “I Married a Communist” and “Sabbath’s Theater.” Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” remains a watermark in my reading. It’s the combination of Faulkner and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns that gives the book its spark for me. I love the way Richard Ford writes about New Jersey. “The Sportswriter,” “Independence Day” and “The Lay of the Land” are all set on my stomping grounds and, besides being poignant and hilarious, nail the Jersey Shore perfectly.
Who are your favorite New Jersey writers?
Roth for his bawdy, rowdy humor, excellence and longevity. Ford, as I mentioned above; and of course Walt Whitman is pretty good. The summer always makes me want to pick up “Leaves of Grass” for a while and sit on the front porch. I come away happier.
What book, if any, most influenced your decision to become a songwriter and musician or contributed to your artistic development?
I skipped most of college, becoming a road musician, so I didn’t begin reading seriously until 28 or 29. Then it was Flannery O’Connor; James M. Cain; John Cheever; Sherwood Anderson; and Jim Thompson, the great noir writer. These authors contributed greatly to the turn my music took around 1978-82. They brought out a sense of geography and the dark strain in my writing, broadened my horizons about what might be accomplished with a pop song and are still the cornerstone literally for what I try to accomplish today.
Who are your favorite musician-writers? Your favorite memoir by a musician?
I’m not familiar with the musician/novelist, but as far as memoirs, it’s hard to beat Keith Richards’s love of music that shines through in “Life.” I also found Eric Clapton’s autobiography to be surprisingly revealing and very moving. Of course I loved Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles.” It made me proud to be a musician.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
I read a lot on cosmology and a reasonable amount of philosophy. I also like to read about baseball, having just finished Mariano Rivera’s autobiography. For cosmology, “Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos,” by Dennis Overbye, was one of my first favorites. I find men and women struggling to answer the deepest questions we can ask freeing. It also puts in scale whatever my small problems of the day might be. The book that turned me on to philosophy was Bertrand Russell’s “The History of Western Philosophy.” I just finished “Examined Lives,” by Jim Miller, and “How to Live; Or, A Life of Montaigne,” by Sarah Bakewell.
What are the best books about music you’ve read?
At the top of my list remains Greil Marcus’s “Mystery Train,” followed closely by Peter Guralnick’s “Last Train to Memphis.” I’d include Dylan’s “Chronicles” and a recent book by Daniel Lanois, “Soul Mining,” that gives insights into the making of music I found unique from any other book out there. “Sonata for Jukebox,” by Geoffrey O’Brien, has some lovely chapters in it, particularly its opening discussions of Burt Bacharach’s career.
What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?
Richard Ford’s “The Lay of the Land.”
The last book that made you cry?
Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”
The last book that made you furious?
“Too Big to Fail,” by Andrew Ross Sorkin; Michael Lewis’s “The Big Short”; and “Someplace Like America,” by Dale Maharidge, with photographs by Michael S. Williamson. These are a few of the books I read on the recent financial collapse, and I contributed the foreword to “Someplace Like America.” The criminal outrage and recklessness described in these books led directly to my “Wrecking Ball” album.
What kind of reader were you as a child?
The first book I read was “The Wizard of Oz,” one lazy summer on my front porch on Randolph Street in New Jersey. I remember being thrilled by the book and the act of reading. Over time my most beloved character became the great and powerful Oz himself. He’s summed up by that great quote that’s in the film, but not in the book: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” He’s a carny phony, in way over his head, who manages to pull it off anyway. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” One of the great quotes in American literature.
If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
One would be difficult, but the short stories of Flannery O’Connor landed hard on me. You could feel within them the unknowability of God, the intangible mysteries of life that confounded her characters, and which I find by my side every day. They contained the dark Gothicness of my childhood and yet made me feel fortunate to sit at the center of this swirling black puzzle, stars reeling overhead, the earth barely beneath us.
You’re hosting a literary dinner with three writers. Who’s invited?
Philip Roth, Keith Richards, Tolstoy — and one extra, Bob Dylan. A lot of life experience there, and the babbling in different tongues would be wonderful.
What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?
I don’t read many books twice, but Jim Thompson novels — due to their concise, dirty power, their relentless violence and purity — can always draw me in for a second time. Some of the most psychological crime writing ever done. I love James M. Cain and Elmore Leonard, but Jim Thompson holds a special place in my heart.
What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
I read “The Grapes of Wrath” very late, long after I’d written the song “Ghost of Tom Joad.” However, it ended up being everything I’d hoped it to be. I haven’t read “East of Eden” yet, and I’d like to.
What do you plan to read next?
I loved “The Adventures of Augie March,” by Saul Bellow, and someone just gave me “Henderson the Rain King,” so that may be up next.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Making the Buzz before Buzz Happens

One of the principal values of BEA is the organic ability to create BUZZ for books.  There is no protocol to follow that insures success, there is no secret sauce, it is something, given a confluence of circumstances and a great book that simply happens.  BEA has all the elements in one place that make it possible.  Publishers can buy ads or banners, getting selected for one of the coveted breakfast or buzz panels never hurts, having the author at BEA is almost a MUST - but sometimes it just happens.  The best description I have heard of BEA was that it is planned serendipity.  

Serendipity is just that - happenstance of good fortune, but planning - well even my 12 year old son knows the value of planning.  While everyone readies themselves for the crush of the busy Fall Season.  BEA is buzzy (sic) planning in earnest for BEA 2015 conference and events NOW!  This is when all the ingredients needed to make the BUZZ of BEA are selected.  Publishers big and small need to plan which authors and what topics the industry is going to be buzzing about come the end of May in 2015, ultimately impacting book sales into 2016.  

First, let me explain that BEA has a number of co-located events that blend seamlessly into BEA that include the IDPF Digital Book Conference, the BEA Bloggers Conference, uPubU and the Audio Publishers Association program as well as programming from the ABA, the AAP and BISG.  

BEA's events then are broken out into 2 buckets - Educational or Author.  BEA Educational sessions are world class and explore industry issues, educate industry professionals with data, information or new techniques.  Author events just that - dedicated to authors or genres of books.  The marquee events for BEA are the Book & Author Breakfasts and the various Buzz Panels.   

The power and scale of BEA's are totally unique for trade publishing in he US. The Author Breakfasts in 2014 were arguably the best attended in BEA history; with all three breakfasts being equally well attended with 1000+ at each breakfast!  Considering the scale of events at BookCon this past year, that the BEA events were exclusive for industry professionals   make them genuinely special in the way they serve the industry as unique events for booksellers, reviewers, and media, etc... serving all in equal measure

Something else that is extraordinary is that more 9,000 people attended education sessions at BEA in 2014.  I do not want to mislead because that number is not unique individuals, but that is how many people were scanned just for BEA education sessions.  

Think forward, start the engines of planning for BEA and decide what will be important for your success as a publisher and what the challenges are for the industry.  BEA will be opening our submission process shortly for authors as well as for education sessions/topics and we are looking for:
  • Hot Topics – in an industry that is constantly evolving and transforming – what are the real hot topics or new takes on an existing challenges you need insights on
  • Case Studies: learn how other businesses have approached an opportunity or challenge
  • What is New and Relevant?
  • How To Presentations that highlight how to accomplish or reach a specific goal and not why the goal is important  
  • High Level Strategies – presented by thought leaders in the industry
  • Global Market Forum - China 
  • uPublishU at BEA – indie authors take charge of their publishing        
For author events  
  • Authors from a diverse group of publishers
  • Genres from A to Z
  • Breakfast, stages Buzz and more
  • Autographing
  • BookCon
  • Author Hub

Friday, September 12, 2014

2015: The Year of the Sheep - Scroll to the bottom - lots of pics!

BEA will welcome China as the featured country and Guest of Honor for the 2015 Global Market Forum Program.  2015 also is the year of the Sheep in Chinese astrology.  The Sheep is a symbol of Peace, Harmonious co-existence and Tranquility. The Sheep is fittingly the symbol of the Arts.  

The year of the Sheep provides inspiring and positive characteristics that align with our vision for the 2015 GMF.  Planning is reaching full tilt for what will be an extraordinary event.  There has never been anything like what is being planned by the Chinese that has happened previously in the US.  The 2015 GMF will create scores of mutually beneficial business opportunities while opening the door to Chinese culture: bringing more than 100 publishers, 500 publishing professionals and 100+ of the leading Chinese writers.

The purpose and intent of BEA's Global Market Forum is to foster exchange that benefits the country of honor in equal measures with the traditional stakeholders of BEA.  In preparation BEA organized a professional delegation that traveled to the recent Beijing International Book Fair.  The AAP International Committee and the ABA were instrumental in their assistance.  There were editors from Princeton, MIT and John Hopkins University Press along with current ABA President Steve Bercu.  We were hosted by the China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corporation - better known as CNPIEC, who created a robust schedule for our delegation to get acquainted with the opportunities at BIBF, to gain an understanding of the publishing landscape in China and create opportunities to connect directly with Chinese publishers.  Summarizing some of the results:

  • The BIBF Publishing Forum shed light on Chinese government policy with regard to publishing and provided insights from senior publishing leaders  (CUPP, Elsevier) who shared their extensive experience in China 
  • Meetings at BIBF with Chinese publishers established direct contacts for potential rights sales 
  • Invaluable and meaningful connections with key staff of CNPIEC. 
  • CNPIEC also provided unique and unvarnished insights in understanding the Chinese institutional market that would have taken years and multiple trips to glean without the benefit of this delegation. 
BEA and our many partners will look forward to providing a platform that will offer unique opportunities for investment, partnerships and access to one the leading and fastest growing markets in the world.  More importantly there will be the rare opportunity to access and learn about a culture that is a half a world away but increasingly close ties local market and our own backyard.

Thanks to Steve Bercu, I can share some great photos from our trip to Beijing International Book Fair.  

The US Delegation and our hosts from CNPIEC
Sights at BIBF 
  This is what dinner looked like on most nights and it was fantastic!
 Dinner with CNPIEC
 Ginger Miller absorbing some local culture
 Sights from a local neighborhood

 The Great Hall of the People
 Mr. Bercu looking great!