Book Expo America

Rebecca and I spent the past several days in New York attending Book Expo America, the largest book-industry trade show in the US.  We had not been to a BEA in several years, and we enjoyed the opportunity to see all our publishers in one place.

We flew in on Monday night and had a great pizza dinner at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square with our Tor editor Pat LoBrutto and our agent John Silbersack.  The first time I ate at John’s Pizzeria was 13 years ago, on my 35th birthday, during a book-signing tour for Ai! Pedrito! (27 cities in 28 days…argh), where I set the Guinness World Record for “largest single-author booksigning.”  Back then, the publisher’s rep took me to what was supposedly the best pizza in New York City —and we make a point of going back there every time we’re in Manhattan.

Since I had just delivered the final manuscript for Hellhole the day before, Pat was going to read it on the train ride home.  Back at the hotel room we received a package from ProgRock Records, containing the very first copies of the new Terra Incognita CD, so we could show it off.

Next day we had breakfast with Tom Doherty and Linda Quinton of Tor Books and Jim Killen, the national SF/F buyer for Barnes & Noble, and then found ourselves with the rest of the day off.  We visit NY frequently, but almost never take any time for sightseeing; we spent several hours riding a double-decker bus all around Manhattan, then we ate dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant.

Our BEA business officially started on Wednesday.  We had coffee and conversation with Steve Saffel, former Del Rey editor who is now working with Titan Books. Then we wandered the floor to see the exhibits and meet people, including Brad Meltzer, Karen Miller, Ellen Datlow, L.A. Banks, and Scott Brick.  The Writers of the Future coffee table book is nearly finished, and we looked at a mockup copy on display; the first time I had seen it with all the pieces put together.

We had lunch with our agent to discuss various projects, then it was back to the show floor to look at more exhibits.  For dinner we went with John Goodwin of Galaxy Press to a new restaurant on the Lower East Side, which was just opened by Emery Huang, last year’s Gold Award winner of the Writers of the Future Contest.  (I had presented Emery with his award at the ceremonies, and when he learned we were coming to town, he invited us.  Baohaus specializes in unique Taiwanese buns of braised pork belly, skirt steak, or spiced tofu.  It was delicious.)  Rebecca and I crashed in the room, enjoying the air conditioning after a very hot day.  We watched The Book of Eli on hotel TV…unbelievable and contrived, with a few good moments…

Thursday we returned to the BEA show for a signing at the Orbit booth, where our publicists brought out the first production copies of Terra Incognita #2, The Map of All Things.  Seeing this book for the first time, as well as the second Terra Incognita CD for the first time, was very exciting.  I was supposed to do the signing for an hour, but the line was so busy that we gave out all of our copies within fifteen minutes, so we had to turn many fans away.  Afterward, we had sandwiches with the publisher of Orbit and our two publicists to discuss plans for the Terra Incognita series and future projects.

At the show we also met two of our former publicists, saw displays of upcoming titles, picked up a few gifts.  We returned to the hotel at the end of the show, relaxed a while, had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant where Rebecca and I brainstormed the outline for Star Challengers #2, then watched The Hangover on HBO.  Off and on over the week I did edit about 100 pages in The Key to Creation, but I’m looking forward to quieter days at home next week.