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!


Friday, September 5, 2014

The Power of looking at things differently...

Before you read through, take 2 1/2 minutes to look at the IKEA video below.  While it is an ingenious way to promote their catalog - it is a great way of looking at the technology of the printed book and more so for power of looking at something so familiar in a different light.

There are things in the world from our spouses to our drive to work, where through time and repetition, we lose sight of the power, the beauty and vitality of things simply because we stop noticing.   My wife might not think so, but 15 years later, when I look at her, I still see the woman that walked through a door for meeting and I first laid eyes on here in 'that way' and she took my breath away.  Most days I take the Merritt Parkway to and from the Reed offices in Norwalk. It was 6-7 years ago, stuck in traffic that I was next to this tree pictured below (thank you Google maps) and I started looking at it and was awed by how cool this tree was that sits between 2 lanes of traffic, yet stretches its branches up toward the sky like a hundred giant fingers trying to grab what ever the world has to offer that day - rain, snow or sun - swallowing it all.

My wife still takes my breath away and more days than not, when I drive by that tree each way to and from work, I see something for what it is, an amazing product of nature.  

So what does all this have to do with BEA???  It takes looking at BEA in a different way to appreciate the power and vitality of the publishing industry and bookselling.  It takes that lens to focus us on the things that will continue make publishing and bookselling thrive.  Towards that, we are evolving by making BookCon a two day event and the shift to keep BEA focused on the trade, making it more compact/vibrant - happening during the week and eliminating the weekend

That is old news at this point.  I am here to share  2 of BEA's main initiatives for 2015:
  1. Expand and offer more low cost exhibit options - including options in the Author Hub, The Translation Market, the Publisher Discovery Zone (PDZ) and Start Up Alley - ranging from $599 to $3,200 for a fully furnished turn-key booth in the PDZ
  2. Better business opportunities through connectivity
    • Bring back VIP Tours and Rewards Program 
    • High level matchmaking that is built into Global Market Forum (GMF) 
    • Deliver 500 new core attendees thru added travel subsidies in the VIP program 
    • More targeted events like the Museum Store Breakfasts which brings buyers and sellers of niches together in a way that allows them to connect