I’m back from Book Expo America 2016 in Chicago, and there are some very exciting and some very meh things coming your way from the world of publishing in 2016 and 2017.
The most important thing is that I got to finally meet all The Fabulous Fictionistas in person (and the time space continuum didn’t rip open, but that’s probably because we didn’t try hard enough).
The sheer amount of brain power and shenanigans we all got up to together is astounding. And it’s only going to get worse. Better! I mean better.
This was my second year at BEA, and I was much better prepared. I was ready with my to-do list, my outfits (fashion forward always, even when carrying 20 lbs of books and wearing heels), and business goals. I got everything I wanted done and more. So much more. Both for myself and the TFF girls, there are some very, very good things happening.
As for the show itself, well, it felt smaller than last year, but that could be because of the change to Chicago instead of New York. On the upside, that meant that the lunch lines and dining areas were not impossibly crowded. On the downside, somehow, the line for the ladies room was not any shorter. ‘Splain that.
Most of what I looked at were romance, some YA, mystery, and nonfiction. The trend of good, literary, historical mysteries in the tradition of “The Poe Shadow” continues, and I picked up a few good ARCs on those. Paris is cautiously popping up more as a locale for these stories, as opposed to London, and also, the Gilded Age of New York offers a lot of scope for mayhem. I also picked up a couple of translated thrillers from around the world (Poland, China, Russia), and I’m super excited for those.
YA continues its march to dark, magical tales with a dash of angsty romance, and there was some beautiful cover art to be seen. Also very interesting were the Middle Grade books – some of which I picked up by mistake thinking their covers were YA. It seems like there was a big push this year for quality Middle Grade stories and artwork.
Romance was…romance. A lot of soft-focus covers, sentimental beach scenes, and impossibly adorable couples. Surprisingly, there was very little chick lit to be seen. A few of the big publishers did a couple of signings, but that was really it. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the beefcake historical Highlander/Duke/Rogue covers.
The Harlequin booth was always busy, but it had a pretty even split between YA and regular adult authors, and there are some really quality pieces coming out of Harlequin as they expand their purview. Watch for Eleanor Herman’s “Empire of Dust” – the sequel to “Legacy of Kings” – coming out in June. I’m almost done with the ARC for “Empire of Dust,” and it’s absolutely riveting! The Fabulous Fictionistas caught up with Eleanor before one of her signings. Her costumes for events are brilliant marketing, and it’s such a pleasure to talk with someone as smart and sassy as her!
Things that were kind of “meh” for me at BEA: I wish there were more non-fiction history and science books there, especially as ARCs. I’m a voracious reader of non-fiction, and it would have been nice to see some of the major publishers put out some love for their upcoming non-fiction that wasn’t memoir/self-help/cooking/humor. Also, I wish they didn’t have some of the sessions out there on the floor. I would have liked to attend, but because of my hearing issues, it would be almost impossible for me to drown out the floor noise to hear the speakers. It’s just a very distracting environment.
On the whole, though, no complaints! I got my book haul, and you had better be ready for a bunch of book reviews coming your way.
On a non-publishing note, I got to spend my birthday with my fellow Fictionistas and co-celebrate with Daphne Lamb (oh yeah, May 13 babies rock!). Hanging out with all of them in our suites was like college, only better. So much laughter, so many ideas, and so many jokes…including:
The number of times Cait told Kim to (lovingly) f*ck off: 18
The number of times Kim told Cait to (lovingly) f*ck off: 4
Dark Secrets are dark for a reason.
Group readings are the best.
The TFF Swag-off
And best of all…the velour orgy love pit randomly in the hall of the hotel.