It's that time of year again, when everyone and everything related to book publishing and bookselling goes to New York for three days of showing off their latest, hottest books at BookExpo. And the lengths they go to stand out from the others is truly amazing. People dress in costumes and hand out flyers and free copies of books. Hundreds of famous (and not so famous) authors are autographing their books and giving them away for free. The traditional "trade show booth" has been replaced by acres of carpeted, plush areas designed to ensnare librarians and booksellers into staying longer and looking at more books. All manner of free food is given away. You can have your picture taken with Heidi Fleiss and Dr. Ruth. You can go to a concert by the Rock-Bottom Remainders, a group of top authors (like Stephen King, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, and Dave Barry) who get together once a year at the fair to dispense less-than-polished versions of Motown favorites. Lots of air-kisses, leopard-print clothing, and big deals all around.
My place at the fair is usually low-key. I have a list of competitors that I intend to visit, look at their books, and snatch a catalog of upcoming titles. I also want to meet children's author Mo Willems and universal smart-ass Chris Elliot. Jason will also be there, meeting with representatives from several of his foreign publishing partners.
But we have to hurry back home before the fair is over because we're leaving on vacation. I'll send my post-fair update after we return. I also have at least two other publishing professionals working on their interviews for this blog.