Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A good reason for writers to get away from their desks

Sellf-Publishing book Expo, Manhattan, Saturday November 15th

In a previous life (roughly 1969 to 1989) I was a magazine editor and advertising copywriter in Manhattan.

Fresh out of college, I loved the creative energy of the Big Apple. I soon came to hate office politics and the crowded streets, sidewalks, stores and restaurants. Getting around was an ISPITA (Industrial Strength Pain In The Ass). Although I was born in daBronx, I am a creature of the suburbs. Mass transit has no appeal to me. I like to drive my car to wherever I have to go, and park in front. That doesn't happen often in a city of 8.5 million.

I moved away from New York to comfortable Connecticut in 2001. I don't miss the crowds. I don't miss the restaurants. I don't miss the subways. I don't miss Broadway, Times Square, Central Park, the Empire State Building, Miss Liberty or the Staten Island Ferry.

Actually, I probably don't miss anything in the city of my birth.

I still go back twice a year, not for sentimental reasons but because Manhattan is the media capital of the world and the center of the book business and I am part of that business, or the book business is part of me.

I go to Manhattan for Book Expo America in May and Self-Publishing Book Expo in November. I am older now than when I commuted from daBronx, Flushing or Scarsdale. I no longer have to be at a desk before 9 AM so I can easily get a seat on an uncrowded train AND get the senior citizen discount.

This year's Self-Publishing Book Expo will be on Saturday, November 15th. Mid-November is a great time to be in New York -- much more comfortable than August, yet you probably won't need a heavy coat.

After previous stays at the Sheraton New York and the Hotel Pennsylvania, the 2014 SPBExpo will be at
the Roosevelt Hotel, 45 East 45th Street. That's super-convenient for people like me who will be arriving at Grand Central Terminal. Hours are 9:00 am–5:00 pm. The main NY public Library and a zillion stores and restaurants are nearby. SPBE provides a great opportunity to have a tax-deductible weekend getaway. If you will be flying or taking a train to Penn Station, getting to the Roosevelt is no big deal.

SPBE "is a learning center for published as well as aspiring authors. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain valuable information about how to successfully self-publish and market their books. Key members of the publishing community offering a variety of services to authors will be on hand, as will representatives from all facets of publishing and the media. Top-notch pros will lead a wide variety of seminars and panels on diverse subjects including how to raise the funds necessary to publish, build a team, work effectively with an editor, market and publicize your work, create an ebook and much, much, more."

The exhibitors change from year to year. There are always some companies I did not expect to be there, and some I do expect do not show up. Some exhibitors leave after one year, others skip a year or two and then return.

Admission to the exhibit hall is FREE to all. Exhibitors include authors selling and displaying their books, and companies showcasing their products and services. SPBE features a series of informational sessions hosted by important, knowledgeable people in self-publishing. The sessions are designed to broaden attendees' knowledge on a wide array of topics, expand audience reach and assist in making crucial decisions for a book’s success. ​Sessions will run concurrently throughout the day -- so check the schedule carefully. In the past some sessions were so popular that people were standing in the backs of rooms, or even in the hallways. 

Ticket price for admission to as many sessions as you can fit into your schedule is $125.00. If you are a self-pub newbie, or even a veteran, it will be money well-spent.

You will learn from at least three groups of people:
  1. Experts (and questioners) at the informational sessions
  2. Exhibitors
  3. People like you wandering around
Info and reservations at selfpubbookexpo.com. 

(above) It's probably too late to become an exhibitor to promote and sell your books, but you can ask. Maybe your table and stack of books will attract someone who'll want to give you a million-dollar movie deal. Maybe not. 

Mixing and Mating? In the past, attendees were overwhelmingly female, so SPBE could be a good opportunity to meet a smart, good-looking lady. Photo above shows Isobella Jade, model and author of Short Stuff. Isobella says she's a bit under 5', 4" tall. When I was four years old, I was a model, too, and was even shorter than Isobella. The tall guy on the right is Jason Kuykendall, Jeff Bezos's Kindle man in New York. Jason was impressed that I could pronounce his last name and knew the name was Dutch. I was impressed when Jason told me I could format a Kindle book myself. That tip more than paid for the round-trip train ticket and the overpriced chicken wings in Grand Central Terminal. (BTW, it is "Terminal" -- not "Station.")

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