As a writer some months mean more than others and for me April (National Poetry Writing Month) is tops because I usually participate in NaPoWriMo, a 30-day poetry writing challenge. June also rocks because the first week of the month ushers in Book Expo of America (BEA) which takes place in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center. It is a non-stop four-day book blitz where you can attend conferences, meet, greet and network with authors and grab some of the best book swag known to man! Writers are on-hand to sign and give away books that are coming out (you get to read them first before anyone else and review them for your blog!) and also meet their fans.
This past week was my fourth BEA and it always feels like the first time. An actual first for me this year was being able to attend the Blogger’s Conference. It was an all-day networking and learning affair that began with a keynote address from one of the most popular and beloved authors we have right now. Jennifer Weiner has written over 10 fiction titles, had one of her books made into a movie, developed a sitcom for ABC Family and has appeared as a guest on scores of national TV talk shows to speak about her work.
I found her keynote to be funny, engaging, authentic and very educational. Here are some of the best take-aways she gave for writers:
- Always promote others
- Ignore your critics
- KEEP WRITING!
- Speak in your OWN voice
- Tweet like your mom is not online
She also talked about the importance of blogging in the digital age when it comes to promoting books and she had one line that I thought was really cool, “Bloggers can be passionate, while their print peers have to be objective.”
For Jennifer’s complete keynote address click here: Jennifer Weiner’s keynote.
In between all of the speeches and presentations was the chance to network with fellow bloggers and authors. I made some great connections and even got to chat with Jennifer and talk-up my upcoming novel. She asked me to send her a link when it is published! Whoo-hoo!
Another highlight of going to BEA this time around was the chance to connect with a blogger I met on Twitter last year. Jennifer Poe (hmmm, cool literary ladies named Jennifer seem to be a theme in this post, huh?) writes a wonderful blog called Imported Chocolate that caters to women of color who love to travel. We have been visitors on each others blogs, but just met for the first time in person at the expo! What fun we had! My only regret was that we didn’t take a picture together. We were so busy gabbing about books and meeting our favorite authors that I guess we forgot! No worries. I think I have met a life-long friend, as we are now sisters in blogging and writing. YAY! She even got me to step out of my comfort zone and read some Young Adult (YA) titles. I can’t wait to see if I’ll like them! I really think this first meeting will be the beautiful beginning of a friendship built on a bookish foundation!
As Jennifer P and I were walking the expo floor we ran into author and activist Kevin Powell. He was on my list of authors to see and was very gracious as he signed his new book, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and The Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays.
I’m telling you, four days (I only attended two days due to pending meetings) of books, blogs and beautiful beginnings left me breathless and beat! But in a good way! But before I leave you…
NOVEL UPDATE: So I promised to keep you all updated about the publishing opportunity I spoke about in my Shades of Green and Gray: Embracing Challenges to Become a Better Artist post and here it is! For those who don’t know, I was a finalist along with six other writers to have my novel published by a small press who only publishes 2-3 titles a year. I thought my chances to get one of the spots was pretty good, but I didn’t make the cut. I was disappointed, but I received some great feedback from the publishing house and they liked my work so much that they offered to mention my book on their social media channels when I self-publish it. You can’t beat that with a bat!
Also, I connected with a mid-sized press at the Book Expo who asked me to submit my novel to them! So it looks like I will have another crack at traditional publishing after all. What an amazing week! As always I am moving forward, traditional deal or not, but it is a blessing to have other options as well.
So my advice to you bloggers is to get out there and attend as many publishing events and readings as you can. You never know who you might meet!
Stay blessed and happy blogging!
© 2012 – 2014, TamekaMullins. All rights reserved.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Oh, what a tremendous experience you’ve described here, Tameka, and what opportunities are coming your way through this. Do keep us updated on the progress of your novel. Wow! Getting a chance to be traditionally published is quite the feat!
I’ve decided to self-publish mine and am heading down that road. I created a Facebook page called The Glade which will record my progress from time to time. If you haven’t “liked” it yet, I’d love it if you would stop by and visit.
Blessings to you!
Thanks Martha! I love going to the Book Expo. It is a lovely escape and what’s not to love about being surrounded by books, bloggers and other authors!
CONGRATS to you on self-publishing. Whoo-hoo! I am straddling the line right now because of these opportunities, but what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how you get to press, but that you get there and that your work is the best it can be! I will surely go and like your page. You know that I’m one of your biggest fans! God bless you! I know your book will be a success! Hugs!
One of the best things I like about you is you keep yourself growing. I was so happy when I first read about this and you attended it. And you met several famous people, wow!
I was raring to hear about your novel. I’m glad you’re really at it. I’m so proud of you… miles to go but I know you’ll reach it 😉
Lots of love :*
I appreciate your kind words and support as always Melissa! God bless you! I am certain all of your dreams will come true as well because you always put yourself out there! I appreciate that in you mamita! 🙂
What a really great day, I can relate to that wonderful moment when you get to spend time with people you respect in a field your interested in. Tameka my wife is starting to get into writing and doing all kind of research for an idea.. much tougher then my photography lol.. Lots of respect for you folks who pick up the pen!!
Congratulations Tameka and thank you for all the wonderful tips, for us bloggers!!! Sending love and prayers your way…. 😉
It was a great day Jim. Being at the expo is like being at a carnival for writers! So many wonderful attractions! Good luck to your wife. I’m sure her writing venture will be successful. Both of you are amazingly talented!
Thanks so much Lisa! Have a wonderful week of blogging!
Nice informative post, thank you for sharing.
Look at you…hobnobbing with the elite!! LOL
You look great by the way!
WoW! How cool is this! The Book Expo sounds like so much fun. Would love to attend one of those, but it’s so difficult with my crazy work schedule and long hours. So many opportunities are opening up for you. I am very happy for you and wish you all the best in whatever endeavors you undertake. Thanks for the tips too.
Hi Free Ebooks. Thanks for visiting Lyric Fire! I appreciate the readership.
Hey Andy! I love being around books, but when I can meet other authors that’s a plus too! LOL! I would go to the Book Expo if there were no people and just a room full of books to look at. I’m a bibliophile to the core! 🙂
Yes, some amazing things are happening and I’m blessed to be in contention. Taking things day by day though and trying to be patient and positive. Thanks my friend. I always appreciate your comments.
This whole post was chock full of exciting moments! I would love to attend a conference like this in the future and I’m happy you’re in a location where it happens basically in your back yard for access. It sounds like it was a wonderful experience and I love that you received encouragement as well as connected with someone you had met online. That gives me hope it will happen for you and I one fine day!
Lastly, I am thrilled you’re hearing encouragement from the traditional publishing world, honey! Never give up, right? I am continuing to hold that dream and belief for both of us that it will happen and unfold beautifully.
Much, much love to you, darling girl. <3
Thanks so much Dawn! Yes, NYC is a great place to be for a writer as there are a lot of events and venues for scribes here. For that alone, I am truly blessed to be here. I am like a kid in the candy store when June rolls around!
It is nice to hear positive feedback, but I am moving forward whether I get that traditional deal or not. I love the energy that is flowing though! I am positive that your literary dreams will soon manifest. I am always pulling for you girlie! Hugs!
Nice pic i didn’t put mine up yet, love your blog.
Thanks so much for visiting Sonya! Sorry I missed meeting you at BEA. Hopefully I will see you there next year! Cheers!