The Book Expo Experience

June 1999
by Judith Sherman Asher, Sherman Asher Publishing

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As a small publisher at Book Expo America, I first approached BEA like Alice Down the Rabbit Hole … always the wrong size, confused about which way to go, and watching the Rabbit tell us we’re always late for one deadline or another. Yet BEA 1999 was a very successful show for us, and I want to share our experience and decision-making with our fellow independent and small presses so that you can avoid my errors and enjoy our successes.This was the second year that Sherman Asher Publishing-an independent press that publishes literature, memoir, poetry, and books on writing (and is expanding into bilingual books, literary non-fiction, and speculative fiction)-took a booth at BEA. This was the fourth year I had attended. At our staff meeting subsequent to BEA, we revisited the decisions to exhibit from the very basics….Why Exhibit at All?Exposure. There is no question that a presence at this national show gives products a more than regional reach. Our press has been expanding and needs to reach more areas.National Market. People hunger for meaning in their life and literature and poetry address this need. However the number of people who actually buy poetry at any one location is small and thus reaching a larger audience is critical for our growth.To Make Contacts. There are the reviewers, printers, rights people, and various serendipitous connections to make. Setting goals for networking is the most productive activity at this type of show. At…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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