Thursday, May 29, 2008

BEA

It's the annual book trade show. This year it's in LA, which is nice for me because I get to visit my brother's family - but difficult because there's so much to do and so much traffic, and no one lives in downtown LA, where the convention is held.

Today I took pitches as part of the Writer's Digest Writer's Conference. Although I have more than enough to read, I am always curious to see what is out there. And there was one author who looked up the kind of books I have sold, and came specifically to see me. I know I will take on that book, so it's already a win-win situation for me.

My two other agents were also to attend, but one of them got so sick we insisted she stay home. So our intern, who is just learning the ropes, took pitches in her stead. I think it was an inspiring learning experience for him.

We also sat in on the agent panel at the conference, where I learned that the best-seller YOU'LL NEVER NANNY IN THIS TOWN AGAIN was a self-published book that sold in auction to a major house.

I also learned that the crossover market between young adult and adult fiction (which would be characters in college) was recently tried by a number of publishers and failed dismally. So the publishing belief that college students have no time to read books besides those in their assigned reading list appears to be true.

The trade show officially opens on Friday, where I will walk the floor and try to share the trends I see (which will be based on books that were bought 6 months to a year ago, before the recession).

7 comments:

Kristin Laughtin said...

I wish I'd been able to attend the Writers Conference (had to work), but I'm happy I'll at least be able to hit up BEA on Saturday.

I also learned that the crossover market between young adult and adult fiction (which would be characters in college) was recently tried by a number of publishers and failed dismally. So the publishing belief that college students have no time to read books besides those in their assigned reading list appears to be true.
This was my experience in college, so I believe it. I had very little time to read for pleasure, unfortunately, and had to do most of it between quarters. Your observations about college-age protagonists intrigue me, because in my current WIP the characters do start off around that age (although they are not college students and the book is not aimed at students anyway). I'd like to look more into that.

Enjoy the rest of BEA!

Ithaca said...

I think a lot of college students discover the writers they weren't told about at school - Calvino, Borges, Queneau, Perec and of course many more. Whatever they're reading, though, they don't have a lot of money, so what they do probably goes on secondhand sales.

Sales in the YA market are presumably bolstered by gifts from friends and relations keen to get young people reading; it feels shabby giving a secondhand book as a present, so I suppose there is better support for new sales, and for that matter sales of hardbacks, in that market.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

Since the economic press is reporting today that the economy actually GREW in the first quarter (i.e., we're technically not in a recession) I'd be curious to know what the publishing industry thinks about the economy and where the growth sectors are likely to be right now.

What does the erotica market look like at BEA?

David Booher (dmb11879@aol.com) said...

It was great to meet you at the pitchfest and thanks for taking the time to do it for us budding authors. We hardly ever get the opportunity to meet agents face-to-face, and it's nice to know that they are people too! Sometimes we forget that, sending out 100's of query letters to names without faces.

Give Jenny my best!

David Booher
"Heaviside"

David said...

I suspect that college students who have time to read novels tend to read novels about characters who are not in college.

Impy said...

In my experience, college students who read do actually have the time for fun books, they just choose to spend that time on the internet, instead.

Aimless Writer said...

My daughter (3rd year dietics major) only reads books during the summer. She carries a pretty heavy class load during the rest of the year.
I think by the time they get out of college they are looking at more a young professional type of book.