Thanks to the generous support of Dean Nira Herrmann and a number of Pace Publishing Professors, the Pace MS in Publishing students were able to attend the 2015 Book Expo America that took place at the Javitz Center in New York in May. This was a great opportunity for networking, meeting authors, viewing publishers’ booths and seeing what books are slated to be published in the upcoming seasons. It is always a spectacular site to see so many publishers gathered and to attend some of the cutting edge panels and events.
This year we thought we would share a few of our thoughts about the experience, and if you would like to share some of your own experiences, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Sherman Raskin
Director, Pace MS in Publishing
Director, Pace University Press
“It is always nice to attend BEA in May. I was able to connect with old friends and spent two busy days consulting with our colleagues from China Publishing Group and Phoenix Publishing Media Group at the show. PPMG ran a big screen ad in Times Square from May 26th through June 4th celebrating their company and the BEA Expo. Just before the show, executives from China Publishing Group participated in two weeks of training at Pace. They graced the Midtown site from May 11th through May 22nd before participating in the Book Expo. They only had good things to say about the training and the show. Most important, they loved NYC. The sessions at Pace stressed digital publishing and copyright law.
The last day of the show, Professor Lian and I had the opportunity to speak at a seminar held by Longzhiji Book Publishing located in Beijing. Because of the influence of a Pace training seminar five years ago, they moved from being a traditional company to a digital company. The time spent at Pace changed their entire way of thinking about publishing. Mr. Su, the President of the company realized that he had to restructure if he were to succeed in the industry today. His training with the Pace professionals made all the difference and ensured his success as a major publisher in China. Pace and Logzhiji are very proud of this success story.
The BEA is always an exciting experience, but the Expo was even more meaningful with China as the focus of BEA this year.
Corinne Tousey, second year Publishing student:
“My first time going to BEA was great. It’s a great opportunity to meet new authors and find your favorite publishers and learn what new projects are being released. I walked away with tons of free books, I even won a Kindle Fire and ten books from author, Julie Gilbert.”
Ana Ban, May 2015 Publishing graduate:
“I have been working as a translator in my country, Brazil, since 2001, and so far I have done more than 150 titles. It is so rare that I get in contact with the authors I translate, much less have the opportunity to meet them. But thanks to Pace, last year I met two of them at BEA: Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), and Carolyn Mackler (The Future of Us), who was taking part in a panel sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association and mediated by Professor Manuela Soares about digital marketing for children’s authors.
This year I had the immense pleasure of meeting Wendy Mass, who wrote one of my favorite books that I have worked with, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. I picked my slot on Wednesday because I wanted to meet her, and I got in line for the autographing of Space Taxi – Archie Takes Flight, a cute chapter book about a boy who helps his father drive an interstellar cab.
When my turn came and I told her that I had translated Jeremy Fink in Brazil, she jumped from behind the table to talk to me and asked her husband Michael Brawer (co-author of the book they were signing) to take pictures of us. She wrote on my copy: “It was SO wonderful to meet you – it’s like we wrote Jeremy Fink together!” And she said: “I wish I had more books to give you.”
It was one of the best experiences I have had in my career as a translator, to have my work recognized and appreciated by the author. I really appreciate the fact that Pace makes an effort so the students can attend BEA, it’s a great opportunity for us.”
Luverta Reames, second year Publishing student:
“My first time at BEA I was excited. I was disappointed when I realized I chose a time slot where nothing was going on. I was only able to view the exhibition for less than 20 minutes before I traded my badge and headed back to work. I knew that Charisma Media from Florida would be present, and they are the publisher that handles my pastor’s and aunt’s books. I HAD to meet the editor. I met Jevon on Friday night and we grabbed dinner and a live jazz show. Before the night ended she had already figured out how I could gain an internship and a freelance position with the company.
Charisma was searching for a marketing intern for the summer. I will have a chance to work with Christian ministries and do custom book projects for them. What’s more exciting about moving to Florida for the summer—everything is falling into place. I have my living situation squared away. I’m using someone’s buddy pass for my travels and it’s a paid internship. Although, I was sad I chose the wrong time. There was definitely a reason I needed to be at BEA and things are working out wonderfully for me.
I was so grateful for the opportunity to attend. I am looking forward to BEA in my hometown of Chicago next year.”
Sarah Poppe, May 2015 Publishing graduate:
“I just graduated from the Pace Publishing Program in May and started what I imagined would be a long and arduous application process for a full-time, entry-level editorial position. In all honesty, this wasn’t my first foray into the full-time job search; I had been sending applications “into the void” for about a year by this point. I say “into the void” because sending resumes and cover letters through online portals always felt like sending them off into the depths of outer space, desperately hoping to make contact with another life form. I competed with hundreds of other applicants for one open position after another, and I never got the call for an interview. When a close friend of mine put me directly in contact with a hiring manager at Penguin and wrote a lengthy letter of recommendation on my behalf…and I still didn’t get the interview…I had all but given up hope on finding a job in book publishing and was about to turn my attention towards online content writing (something in which I had a bit of experience but didn’t really want to turn into a career).
I decided that BEA would be my Hail Mary; I would network with as many people as possible, and if I still couldn’t find a job, I would set my sights elsewhere. I went to BEA on Friday, the last day of the Expo, by myself with nothing but a big swag bag and a stack of custom-made business cards. I nervously meandered around the exhibition hall, trying to strike up a conversation with everyone I encountered. I started with the Big 5 booths, but they were swarmed with attendees congregating around the author signings and free ARCs. Eventually, I succeeded in engaging with workers at some of the smaller booths, like Open Road—only to discover that I had been talking to interns who were after the same full-time jobs. At this point, my feet ached and my bag was almost too heavy to drag around.
By chance, I stumbled across the Crooked Lane booth and was ushered into an author signing line by the words “free” and “New York Times bestselling author.” While in line, the person manning the booth greeted me and made a puzzling look at my badge, which listed my school name instead of my job title. “So what is it that you do?” he asked. This led to a conversation about the PPP and my quest for employment. He asked about my career interests, offered his business card, and told me to email him my resume when I got home. I sent him my resume with a short cover letter, and he set me up with an interview for the following Tuesday. I couldn’t believe it had worked that immediately.
After two rounds of interviews (and a wonderful recommendation from a Pace professor, to whom I am tremendously grateful), I just got the call that I got the job as an editorial assistant at Crooked Lane, a relatively new crime and mystery fiction imprint. Since they have an incredibly small staff (just four people!), I will get to experience not only the editorial side of publishing, but also production, marketing, and sales. One of the big conversation points in my interview was how the PPP gave me a more rounded understanding of the industry outside of editorial—a fact that I never knew would be so invaluable in giving me an edge over the other applicants.
My biggest takeaway from BEA is this: networking really is everything! Any opportunity you get to shake someone’s hand, ask for advice, or offer your services is time well spent. I’m an introvert, I tend to have terrible social anxiety, and nothing terrifies me more than walking up to someone I don’t know with a confident smile and a business card. I circled that show floor three times before I worked up enough nerve, and even then, my most successful conversation only happened by chance. The best advice I have is to put yourself in professional situations where you have the opportunity to network (like BEA), be prepared when opportunity presents itself (with either a resume or business card), and know your pitch (Why are you there, and what is it that you are looking for?). It only took one conversation—the right conversation—to land the interview, something I never got from the hundreds of online applications I must have sent in the past year. As Pace Publishing students, we are given free access into the exclusive professional arena of BEA, something that most graduates from other schools competing for the same jobs won’t have access to (with the exception of BookCon, which I still find chaotic and somewhat limited). Take that opportunity and run with it!”
Professor Jane Kinney-Denning, Executive Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach
The BEA is always an exciting, interesting, and exhausting experience! This year I saw so many friends, former students, and former colleagues and professional acquaintances that I hardly had time to stop and get an ARC or two (but of course I did!). I love the BEA and the energy that comes with so many book people gathered to showcase their work and upcoming titles. Seeing so many publishers from the US and around the world gathered in one place is awe inspiring and a reminder why we all love our chosen professions.
I must say that one of my highlights this year was getting to meet Gloria Steinem and have her sign her soon-to-be-published memoir, My Life on the Road. I have always admired her for her activism, commitment to women’s rights and human rights and of course for starting MS Magazine. Although the publicists were expertly moving the very long line of people along quickly, I did get a chance to thank her for her remarkable work.
Thinking back on this and many previous BEA Conferences, the one thing that always stands out for me is the people; all of the good, passionate book people who make this industry so great. It is wonderful to be a part of it.