This previous weekend, August 18-20th, I was lucky enough to attend the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York and represent BookHive as an exhibitor.
The conference itself ran for three days, Friday through Sunday, with a few early events taking place on Thursday, and featured many speakers, talks, tables, and pitch opportunities. I, unfortunately, was able to attend very few since I was manning the BookHive table.
Every attendee received a bag full of schedules, information, and exhibitor inserts which gave them an overview of the features of the conference.
Each day there were multiple talks available and each talk was organized into five different themes: Getting Published, Platform & Promotion, The Business of Being an Author, Craft, and Genre Studies. This helped to streamline the process of picking which talk to attend for the attendees.
There were three keynote speakers and their talks occurred at the end of each day. The opening keynote speaker was Lisa Scottline, the central keynote speaker was Richard Russo, and the closing keynote speaker was David Levithan (of whom I am personally a big fan). After each of these talks there was also a book signing!
Alongside the talks, on Saturday, there was also multiple opportunities to pitch your book at the “Pitch Slam!” which was sponsored by Book Pipeline. To attend these, an attendee had to sign up ahead of time and be assigned to a specific time slot. The lines for these were quite long but, despite this, several authors told me that they had had very successful pitch sessions.
On Saturday, there was also an optional cocktail reception in the evening designed to help a person to network and create new and helpful contacts. This conference, large as it was, was a great place for making new contacts. I was able to not only reconnect with an old friend, who was attending the conference to pitch their book, but I made many new friends and contacts as well. This was especially true among my fellow exhibitors.
The exhibitors at this year’s conference were: Date with the Muse, Dream of Travel Writing, Pronoun, Editorial Freelancers Association, Gatekeeper Press, Your Book is Your Hook, Sheridan, Historical Writers of America, Gotham Writers, Listen Up Indie Pub, National Writers Union, Inner Fire Outer Light, Lulu, PubSite, Round Table Companies, Wise Ink Creative Publishing, IngramSpark, NYU School of Professional Studies, and Showtime Publications. And, of course, BookHive!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get around to all the tables because I was busy taking care of my own, but the diversity of the tables was certainly impressive. Most of the exhibitors were focused on publishing of some kind, but there were also unions, groups, schools, and companies. There was even a group which was specifically focused on creating audiobooks. My table was situated by three publishing sites: Lulu, IngramSpark, and Wise Ink. By the end of the conference I had become rather familiar with their products and can comfortably say that all three are worth checking out if you have reached the publishing stage.
On top of that, almost all of the tables were giving out fun things like highlighter pens and notebooks. I also snagged this cool mug from Lulu.
I am drinking tea out of it as I write this article. Many of these exhibitors were also offering coupon codes!
Overall, I found this to be a really valuable conference to attend. Whether you are looking to attend as an exhibitor or as writer, I recommend giving it a shot. There is a lot there for everyone, no matter the stage of the writing process you have reached. If nothing else, it is a chance to exchange business cards and twitter handles.
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Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.