Whether you are going to a trade show as a buyer or an industry professional it is standard to have a game plan. And then watch it get blown to pieces as company representatives pitch you what they want to sell. In the case of BEA the companies are publishers and the reps are publicists and boy, are they good at their jobs. I went into BEA with a lean list of 15 galleys I wanted to come home with. After all, not only had I done this before but I used to be in sales and work at trade shows so I was not going to get sucked into veering from my plans. Oh, the hubris. One, it doesn’t take much for a booklover to hear about a book and decide they have to read it and two, moving outside my comfort zone and taking books I might not have heard of or read is important. Basically, I was sunk before I even got in line for my first author signing and I came home with way more than 15 books. Hopefully, my choices were good ones and you’ll be seeing reviews for all of these.
Before I left I posted info on 6 books I really wanted. I’m happy to say I got a copy of all of them with the exception of the Ann Patchett. In addition, I got to meet Amor Towles
and Alexandre Vidal Porto
Not on my list, but a complete oversight on my part was George Saunders who has his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, coming out in February 2017. I have to say, I was nervous meeting him because he is so wickedly funny AND was the first author to make me realize ‘oh, I can like short stories’, but he was very gracious.
Last but not least, I promised my mother I would try to meet Jodi Picoult, because apparently she lives in Vermont and my mother is not only a huge fan but is a Vermont native and so they should be best friends. Picoult’s book Small Great Things is coming out in October. Based on how much she writes and the level of detail in her books I thought she must be older but not so based on her looks. She signed over 200 books and posed for photos and agreed my mother could visit her at her lake house (not really).
Here are some of the other upcoming releases I brought home (titles link to Goodreads for a synopsis):
Mischling by Affinity Konar, The Mothers by Brit Bennett, Fates and Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini, The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter by John Pipkin, The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, Little Deaths by Emma Flint, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis, I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Perfume River by Robert Butler, Invincible Summer by Alice Adams, My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran, Harmony by Caroline Parkhurst
It’s hard to use the word disappointing when I got to see as many authors as I did and get so many books I’m looking forward to but there were several books on my list that I did not get. If you haven’t been to BEA then you need to know that thanks to unscrupulous people grabbing multiple copies of a book (and even going so far as to then sell the books on ebay and Amazon) publishers don’t just put out every book they’re promoting. Often, there is a set time when a galley is available, they may only be handed out by a publicist or they may even give out tickets for the book. All of this means a lot of running around and then waiting. Because signings and galley drops overlap I was not able to get a copy of the upcoming books Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, the sequel to Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, and In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi. No one got copies of Maria Semple’s highly anticipated new novel, Today Will be Different because there was a problem with the galleys.
That’s a lot of author and book chatter! What authors would you like to meet if you could? Do any of these titles look interesting to you?