(Photo: Kathryn Stroble)

This year at BookExpo America (BEA), M.S. in Publishing students and faculty were given the opportunity to mingle and network with publishers, authors, and fellow book lovers. From the start, BEA focused on the importance of bookstores, free speech, and diversity in publishing. (Check out our Quote of the Week to read more about how diversity is playing a bigger role in the publishing industry.)

BEA consisted of many inspiring and interesting panels, including the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, Buzz Authors/Editors, a Conversation with Latinx Authors, the Spotlight on African-American Children’s Books, and many more. These panels gave guests the chance to listen to and take advice from publishing executives, authors, editors, and bookstore owners/sellers.

YA Buzz Authors panel with Rebecca Munro (moderator), Rebecca Hanover, Adib Khorram, Natasha Ngan, Courtney Summers, and Mimi Yu. (Photo: Kimberly Holcombe)

M.S. in Publishing student Kimberly Holcombe speaking with Chris Colfer, author of The Land of Stories series. (Photo: Rachael Kelly)

In addition to the amazing panels, there were tons of children’s and adult galleys and books to pick up for free! (That’s right. I said free!) Every publisher put out new books to pick up every 30 minutes to an hour, and sometimes the author would be there to sign it. A free book and a chance to speak with the author? Yes, please!

If you missed out on the chance to go to BEA this year, it will be back in 2019 and you should definitely sign up to attend! It’s an amazing opportunity for those who want to network and who are interested in publishing and books. Check out what these M.S. in Publishing students had to say about their BEA 2018 experience:

“Attending BookExpo was like waking up on Christmas morning. I received so many amazing books to read, and I got to talk to authors and editors I have admired for years. Plus, I got to network with fellow industry professionals. BEA is the place to be if you love reading and talking about books.” – Kimberly Holcombe

“It was essentially like a Scholastic Book Fair for adults, except everything was free. Which made it better than my birthday and Christmas combined! I couldn’t stop grinning the entire time I was there.” – Kathryn Stroble

“BookExpo 2018 was the absolute highlight of my academic year. Speaking with authors, editors, and other members of the publishing community was more than an ‘educational’ experience – it was inspirational. I know now, more than ever, that I’m where I’m supposed to be.”  – Rachael Kelly