BookExpo America 2017

BookExpo-logo-stacked

A few weeks ago, we made our way to the BookExpo of America (BEA) at the Javits Center in NYC. The book fair took place over a three-day period and there no mistaking that 2017 brought a whole new feel to the expo.

This year, BookExpo America took on smaller events, doing away with some panels (i.e. Book Bloggers’ Convention and the IDPF annual conference) and advertising their collaboration with BookCon. What’s the reasoning behind this change, some might ask?

Two potential explanations:

  • It’s becoming a more intimate setting for the behind-the-scenes publishing professionals to convene and conduct meetings about the past year and what the future holds for their company and each other.

AND/OR

  • Downsizing to entice fans to attend BookCon.

In an interview, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle described BEA as a host for events to bring the industry together. With the publishing market changing regularly, BEA has become one big meeting amongst publishing professionals of all sorts to uncover new tactics to market their new releases, find new distribution vendors, and query upcoming projects. Professionals are attempting to become more relevant to today’s market using BookCon to incorporate pop culture as a marketing tactic. BEA advertises itself as a way for professionals to fish for their next up and coming title, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to show others what you have been working on all year and to catch-up with other publishing professionals that you might only get to see once a year. BEA has become a great place to bounce ideas off other people who are experiencing the same challenges you are to make next year even more successful.

There are many reasons why publishing professionals attend the exposition and book selling traffic is not one of them anymore. No matter what your reason for attendance is, BEA is a place for relationship building. Whether you are looking to connect with your co-workers, your authors, readers, or meet new publishing professionals like yourself cultivating an intimate setting for these relationships to bud and prosper has become a goal of the organizers behind BEA.

A prime focus has been getting authors to meet with their fans in a more intimate setting. Therefore, downsizing BEA in preparation to partner nicely with BookCon seems to make logical sense. There has been discussion about BookCon being the gateway for readers and authors to coexist together in the same space, steering away from the professional aspect of publishing. A relatively new event, BookCon capitalizes on the author/reader relationship and building more of an intimate fan base for these authors. It takes away the digital screen we all too often hide behind and promotes a more human and organic connection between authors and readers. There is a large range of authors who exhibit at the convention, bringing in a mixture of both adults and children attendees. BookCon has become a better way to market pop culture mixed with storytelling. Increasing the intimacy of BEA will flow that same intimacy into BookCon.

All in all – BEA had another successful year and BookCon will be looking to a promising future going hand-in-hand with the expo.

Write on.

The Audies, 2017 Edition

I’m a little late to the game, but the finalists for the Audie Awards were announced recently. If you don’t already know, the Audies are like t he Oscars for audiobooks. They have been awarded annually by The Audio Publisher’s Association since 1996. There are a bunch of categories in which authors and narrators are applauded and honored for their outstanding work. The actual award ceremony is always held during Book Expo of America in May, which this year is in NYC.

audie

You can see all their categories and their finalists here, but I have highlighted a few of my favorite categories below:

Fantasy

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey

The Hike by Drew Hagary

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

Mystery

Crimson Shore by Preston & Child

The Crossing by Michael Connelly

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens

IQ by Joe Ide

Romance

Dirty  by Kylie Scott

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Glitterland by Alexis Hall

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Sci-Fi

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuval

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Write on, listen on!

 

Audiobooks Making International Waves

Audiobooks are a great source of extra income for many authors, an extra revenue stream that otherwise wouldn’t be there. The audiobook market within the United States is a booming industry, increasing each and every year. Putting their success here in America aside, the possibilities for the future of audiobooks is still endless. According to an article in The Japan Times, audiobooks in the U.S. account for 10% of book sales- amounting to a $160 billion industry. But, this isn’t the case internationally. For example, in Japan the audiobook industry caps off at $5 billion. On the international scene, audiobooks have so much left to do and leave so much to be excited for in the future.

Audio publishers, like Audible, are just beginning to figure out how to be successful overseas. Recently, Audible launched an international initiative in countries just like Japan. In these countries they offer unlimited audiobooks for a monthly fee. The pay per book model that we have in the United States and the United Kingdom just doesn’t work in most other countries. There just isn’t enough awareness or accessibility to audiobooks that are needed for such a model. So, publishers are starting to get creative.

world

The use of smartphones and their apps are greatly changing the audiobook landscape in countries like Japan. These apps offer easy access to audiobooks that once wasn’t there. In Japan, many people use public transportation and are looking for things to entertain them on their long commutes that don’t pack a lot of weight- downloadable audiobooks are the perfect answer. Febe, a downloading site, was launched in 2007. The site offers over 19,000 books on a variety of topics and genres. Since it’s launch, the number of users has increased from 2,000 to about 180,000- proving that if the content is there and accessible, people will use it.

There is still a long way to go with cultivating a real audiobook culture overseas, but the future is very promising. Audio publishers have found that the key to stimulating interest in audiobooks abroad is to use famous people, poets, or authors as readers. Since it’s a relatively new market, there needs to be something that pulls the listener in to giving the whole audio thing a try. This poses a slight problem because production costs of making an audiobook are already pretty high, let alone needing to commission a celebrity to do the reading. High costs along with low recognition of audiobooks are audio publishers two biggest obstacles when thinking of expanding abroad. But if the audio trend does catch on, the risk will be well worth the reward.

The Success of Content

The more content there is out in the world and the more accessible it becomes, the more people will read or listen to that content. This is true with the audiobook industry. In a January 10th article, Marketwired published some interesting results about library trends for 2016. When I worked directly in the audio publishing world, I constantly saw the rise and power of the library. As more audiobooks were becoming available to them and the more they made those audiobooks accessible to their patrons via electronic borrowing  sites, the more sales increased weekly, monthly, and yearly. Now, as a literary agent I continue to see the rise of these sales within libraries and their borrowing sites and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop any time soon.

audio

In 2016, there was a huge increase in borrowed audiobooks thanks to digital sites like Overdrive. There was a 34% increase in audiobooks borrowed from local and school libraries’ digital catalogs compared to 2015. The growth is attributed to many things- an increase in digital bookclubs hosted by librares, more people listening to audiobooks (which jumped 67% on Overdrive), more young adult readers using library services, and an increased participation from international and multi-language readers.

The most popular library borrowed audiobooks for 2016 were:

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Keep writing, because people are reading. Keep creating audiobooks, because people are listening.

Write on.

The Path to Children’s Publishing

Children and Young Adult literature is one of the toughest genres to write, and most importantly, succeed in. The interests quickly change, the audience is smaller and more direct, and the ideas/concepts addressed really need to be engaging (I’m talking out-of-the-box extraordinary here) for it to catch the eye of a young reader. With the technology available to children today, a book really needs to scream “PICK ME UP!” for children to put all other things aside and choose to read on their own free time.

Children publishers certainly know this too. Selling a manuscript to them is only welcomed with more challenges these days. Editors aren’t looking for ‘good’ content anymore, they are looking for the next ‘big thing’and won’t settle for anything less.

childrens-publishing

Scholastic is the King of children’s publishing. Every children/young adult author dreams of seeing their name listed on their website. That’s why I was pretty thrilled to see an article this morning about their predictions for 2017:

Hot titles will focus on kindness. It seems like everywhere we turn in 2016 the media is filled with bad news- stories of bullying, hatred, and lack of acceptance. Scholastic editors hope that through literature, maybe we can show our youth that the world isn’t really all bad and that just maybe literature can be that one thing that bring us all together under one common roof.

-The year of big book anniversaries. 2017 will host a handful of really exciting book anniversaries that will bring these modern classic to the forefront once again- good content never gets old. These anniversaries to watch out for are the 30th anniversary of The Magic School Bus, the 25th anniversary of Goosebumps, the 20th anniversary of Captain Underpants, and the 10th anniversary of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. 

-Children still want to laugh. Children seek out literature to laugh and escape reality for a bit, one of the may lessons us adults can learn from our children.

-Research is more important than ever. With more and more ludicrous information becoming available on the internet, editors are interested in teaching children to discern fact from fiction. Non-fiction titles will have a crucial role in this in 2017.

-Classics will be reimagined. Old tales will be retold in ways we have never seen them before. Keeping up with children’s imaginations is easier said than done.

Keep on writing, so our children can keep on reading.

A Bright Future for 2017

I cannot believe how quickly 2017 is approaching! I feel like I was just basking in the summer sun, toes buried in the sand, watching the ocean waves roll in. Or maybe that was just last nights dream? Either way, 2017 will be here before we know it- literally. This morning, I was browsing through some recent publishing deals and let me tell you, 2017 is going to be an awesome year. We are leaving behind one successful publishing year and rolling seamlessly into another one. Below are a few of my favorite books to look out for in the new year by major publishers:

penguin

THE BAD MOOD AND THE STICK by Lemony Snicket, with art by Matthew Forsythe (Little, Brown Children’s) to be published in Fall 2017.

THANK YOU FOR COMING TO HATTIESBURG by comedian/actor Todd Barry- a memoir/travelogue (Gallery) to be published in March 2017.

SWEET  BABY JAMES: A POP-UP LULLABY by singer/songwriter James Taylor- a three dimensional picture book with scenes that bring the lyrics to this popular song to life (Blue Rider Press) to be published Fall 2017.

TEAMMATE by  David Ross, former Chicago cubs catcher (Hachette Books) to be published May 2017.

NO MIDDLE NAME: THE COMPLETE JACK REACHER SHORT STORIES by Lee Child- which will include all Jack Reacher short stories and a new novella (Ballantine Bantam Dell) to be published in May 2017.

WHO THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA: AND OTHER QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD HAVE ANSWERS TO WHEN YOU WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE by Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Obama White House deputy chief of staff for operations (Twelve) to be published in March 2017.

In order to keep on writing, we need to keep on reading.

 

The Wrap on Audio 2016

Believe it or not, 2016 is coming to a close- the perfect time to reflect on successful audiobooks.

Audible recently listed the 20 highest rated audio books of 2016 (highest rated does not necessarily mean highest sales for this list). Audible determined their 20 highest rated titles by looking at audiobooks with at least 500 customer ratings and 150 reviews.

headphones

Some notable books are: 

(Pick a couple you like and give them a listen, make it a fun New Year’s resolution!)

1) Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, narrated by the author

2) The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines, narrated by the authors

3) Reign of Madness: King’s Dark Tidings, Book 2 by Kel Kade, narrated by Nick Podehl

4) Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike by Phil Knight, narrated by Norbert Leo Butz and the author

5) Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry, narrated by the author

6) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

7) Digging Up Mother: A Love Story by Doug Stanhope, narrated by the author

8) Morning Star: Book III of the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds

9) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, narrated by Thandie Newton

10) #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk, narrated by the author, Jack Welch, and Dave Ramsey

11) Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, narrated by Bill O’Reilly and Robert Petkoff

12) The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne, narrated by Luke Daniels

13) The Silver Thief: The Cycle of Galand, Book 2 by Edward W. Robertson, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds

14) The Beast: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, narrated by Jim Frangione

15) Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party by Dinesh D’Souza, narrated by James Foster

16) Tattered Remnants: Zombie Fallout 9 by Mary Tufo, narrated by Sean Runnette

17) Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, narrated by Elizabeth Evans

18) Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Audra McDonald, Cassandra Campbell, and Ari Fliakos

19) The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer

20) The Wrong Side of Goodbye: A Harry Bosch Novel, Book 21 by Michael Connelly, narrated by Titus Welliver

The bestselling audiobook on Audible this year was The Girl on the Train. The bestselling children’s audiobook was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The best selling non-fiction book was The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

The best news of all is that Audible members increased their listening hours by 1 billion between 2014 and 2016.

Keep on writing, and keep on making audiobooks… because people are listening.