Book Expo & Book Con 2017: First Signings, Accessible Conferences, & POC in Publishing

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I’ve been going to BEA for the past eight years, and Book Con for every year it’s existed… but this year’s Book Expo America and Book Con was extra special. I feel like a little recap is required this time around.

So. Here we go.

The great thing about conferences like these, is you’re able to sit down and talk to industry people in-real-life. Publishing is a personal business. Books and reading taste, it’s all subjective. Being able to talk about what you’re reading, what you love… that in-person experience doing that is so valuable. And I’m so thankful for all the editors who wanted to hangout while I was in town.

But the most emotional part of the entire event, was watching one of my authors do a signing at the convention, and get a copy of her book for the first time.

First up, Wednesday. Read more

How to Nail an In-Person Pitch: Some Questions You Should Be Ready For

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I love taking in-person pitches at publishing conferences.

It’s how I found Lindsey Smith (her book, Eat Your Feelings, comes out with St. Martin’s Press next year!), and I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to talk with numerous writers around the country. About their books, about their platforms, all kinds of good stuff, sharing advice as well as dishing out suggestions for their projects.

But without fail, at every conference I attend, there are certain questions I ask that seem to trip writers up. And sometimes, not having answers to those questions sends up serious red flags.

So I thought I’d do a little post, to dish out some tips for those of you pitching agents and editors in-person. Because while you may have polished that pitch to perfection, you’re going to need to answer these kind of questions. Read more

Apply For a Free Pass to Select Conferences & Workshops I’m Attending

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When I was in high school and college, I would have loved to go to the many writing workshops and bookish conferences that I’m attending these days as a literary agent. The networking and learning opportunities at these events are so valuable. I meet someone new at every conference I go to, and sometimes, I even discover a brilliant voice.

Like Lindsey Smith, who I found at a writing workshop in Philadelphia. Her new cookbook is off to St. Martin’s Press, thanks to making that connection.

But as a teen and college student in my 20′s… there was no way I would have been able to afford some of these events. Sometimes they can be really expensive, and that creates barriers for young writers who could truly grow in their careers from these events, but can’t due to financial reasons.

So, I’d like to shake things up a little.

Are you a writer eager to learn about the industry and connect with editors, agents, fellow authors? I’m offering up a free pass to any of the following events, to a marginalized writer (authors who are PoC, disabled, LGBTQ+, native voices) in those respective regions.

Philadelphia Writers Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
April 8th, 2017
www.philadelphiawritingworkshop.com

Midwest Writers Conference (Muncie, IN) *
July 20th – 22nd, 2017
www.midwestwriters.org

* Note: This is for the Part II, $300 option, Thursday evening, Friday & Saturday. Details on the site.

Over the course of the conference, if you want, we’ll hang out. I’ll introduce you to industry folks. We’ll grab coffee. Or you can just wander around. You do you. These passes don’t include hotel stays or transportation though, sorry. It’s just a pass for the conference / workshop. So please, only email me if you’re from the area. I can’t stress that enough.

Interested in attending? Email me with the following:

  • Name: You know, your name.
  • Who Are You?: A bit about you. Why you write.
  • Your WIP: What are you currently writing?
  • Twitter: What’s your Twitter handle?

At ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com, with what conference you’d like to attend. I’ll pick someone one month before the day of the conference, so March 8th (Philly Writers Workshop) and June 20th (Midwest Writers Con).

Event organizers, take note. If you want me at a conference, I’m requesting passes like these from now on. I’m willing to pay for the passes out of any honorarium you might be offering me.

Huge thank you to the Philadelphia Writers Workshop and Midwest Writers Conference for agreeing to this!