Attending BookExpo

From May 18-21, I attended BookExpo America in Washington, D.C. Back in the day — when I worked the dreaded Day Job — I used to attend a fair number of trade shows, but this was the first time I attended something as massive as BEA as a guest, not a Booth Guy.

Houghton Mifflin brought me to BEA to promote The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. The first night, I was a guest at the American Booksellers for Children Silent Auction and Banquet. This was a lot of fun. ABC puts on this event as a way of celebrating independent booksellers specializing in children’s books, as well as raising charitable donations for children’s causes. It was an excellent opportunity for me to meet a lot of people in the industry, as well as a good time to touch bases with various folks at Houghton Mifflin, including my editor and the terrific people in Houghton’s Sales and Marketing Departments.

Barry at BEA auction

(<–I strike a pose the night of the ABC dinner…)

I also got to meet Catherine Gilbert Murdock and Garret Feynmann-Weyr, fellow Houghton Mifflin authors (of Dairy Queen and Stay With Me, respectively). Garret described Astonishing Adventures as being “like a shot of espresso in the heart,” which is the sort of image that really sticks with me! (Hmm, you’d think she was a writer or something…)

On Friday, I had a whirlwind day that began when some Hollywood folks grabbed me in the Houghton booth. I’ve had a couple of encounters with Hollywood people at this point, but their interest in the book still consistently catches me off-guard. It’s not even out yet!

I had lunch with my editor and we discussed some changes to my second book, Boy Toy, as well as a series I plan to write. More info on that series once it sells…

After lunch, I had my first signing. Bearing in mind that the book wasn’t on shelves yet, I had steeled myself for an hour of sitting and twiddling my thumbs. I was very pleasantly surprised to be busy almost the entire hour, with a constant flow of people coming up to me for autographs. In all, I signed more than a hundred books in that hour, a respectable number for a first-time author.

Signing at BEA

Signing at BEAI capped off the show that day with a meeting with my agent, followed by a gathering at the Goethe Institute (sponsored by the folks who run the massive Frankfurt Book Fair) and then a party hosted by The New Yorker.

Signing at BEA

I’ll be honest — a lot happened at BEA, but much of it was business-related stuff that I don’t plan to get into on the Internet. Suffice it to say, it was a terrific experience. Overwhelming at times, but terrific nonetheless.