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BookExpo America 2018 Highlights

Last week, a group of BenBella staff traveled from all over the country (Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, St. Paul, and Kansas City) to attend BookExpo America at the Javits Center in NYC.

BenBella is a remote company, so quality team-building time is rare and valuable. We spent the week catching up with each other on projects and goals, meeting with local NYC authors, learning from excellent educational panels, and connecting with agents, publicists, printers, and more.

“The most impactful part of going for me was seeing firsthand that the book industry is a huge and exciting one,” said BenBella’s Senior Publishing Associate and first-time BEA attendee Rachel Phares. “It’s easy to get caught up in your individual, day-to-day work and forget about what a dynamic community we are a part of, but this conference—from the general feeling of excitement to the many conversations about the future of our industry, the importance of diversity, and more—was a great reminder.”

We left the city with more than a few highlights to share:

Educational panels

BEA offered a rich lineup of educational panels over the course of the show. The marketing team really enjoyed the Goodreads/Penguin Press panel on their successful campaign for Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. NPD Books’ data-driven talk on the state of the publishing industry today was also quite informative, covering the performance and outlook of print versus digital sales, trends in popular categories, and key opportunities for 2018 and beyond.

NPD Books’ State of the Publishing Industry panel

Author breakfasts

Each morning started with a lovely breakfast featuring a panel of authors—a show highlight for almost each BenBella attendee. We walked away inspired by so many hard-working, eloquent authors writing to make the world a better place.

BenBella team at the Adult Author Breakfast

Day one’s Adult Book and Author Breakfast featured Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Trevor Noah, Barbara Kingsolver, Jill Lepore, and Nicholas Sparks. Day two’s Children’s Book and Author Breakfast featured Viola Davis, Meg Medina, Dave Eggers, Yuyi Morales, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Meeting BenBella authors (and a few other authors, too)

Being in New York also offers us a rare treat: meeting with some of our authors in person. Staff was able to slip away from the show for lunch meetings with a few local authors. Plus, we had the chance to meet some of our favorite non-BenBella authors who were signing their books at BEA.

Editor-in-Chief Leah Wilson, THE GOLDEN SEQUENCE author Jonni Pollard, and Publisher Glenn Yeffeth

Senior Publishing Associate Rachel Phares at Ellie Kemper’s signing

Meetings with agents, publicists, printers, and more

Given that much of the publishing team is now spread out across the country, BEA is the perfect time to sit down with partners to chat about new and upcoming projects. The BenBella booth was constantly occupied as different members of our team met with agents, publicists, printers, and other partners, old and new.

BenBella’s BEA booth/busy meeting spot

Were you at BEA this year, too? If so, share your highlights in the comments!

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