(library/bookseller) conferences

gatherings where book people learn about upcoming books

What are the major conferences where my book will be promoted?

Who attends these conferences?

Booksellers, librarians, teachers, bloggers, authors, illustrators, and other industry folks. NCTE is geared more toward teachers, BEA toward booksellers, and ALA towards librarians. Publishers set up booths that look like mini bookstores in order to showcase their recent and upcoming titles. Authors make appearances in these booths for about an hour each in order to sign copies of their books, which are given out for free to librarians, bloggers, and anyone else who has paid to get into the conference.

Should I go?

Well, it’s a lot of fun! You’ll get free books and meet other authors. You can try to set up a time to meet your editor and her team while you’re there. If ARCs of your book are available, your publish might set up a time for you to sign them and give them out. But if your publisher doesn’t pay your way, you will have to pay for a ticket to the event, airfare, food, and hotel stay. That’s a lot money.

Will my publisher pay for me to attend these conferences?

If your book is a lead title, your publisher might pay for your ticket to the event, airfare, food, and hotel stay. If your book is not a lead title, your publisher will probably not pay for any of this–although they might pay your ticket to the event even if they won’t pay for travel expenses. Ask your editor! But be prepared: some publishers will ask authors NOT to come, or at least not to hang around the booth, so that the publisher can make sure the focus on the books they have already planned to showcase.

How can I get put on a panel for one of these conferences?

I think they take proposals* (*please see the comments section), but your best bet is probably to have your publisher set you up. Again, that’s not likely to happen for every debut author.