Thursday, May 26, 2011

BEA 2010 Recap and Book Pr0n

Every May, the US book publishing industry has its annual conference, BookExpo America. This is where publishers show off their wares for the up coming year to libraries, booksellers, wholesalers and the general book reading/buying/selling industry. Although I’m not currently employed by the book publishing industry, I still have friends in the industry who managed to help me gain entrance to this year’s conference. Unlike previous years, I wasn’t tied down to manning a (albeit large) conference booth, so I had more of an opportunity to walk the floor, hunt for jobs and get a handle on what publishers planned on putting on bookshelves in the upcoming 12 months.

In past years, and this year, my favorite folks to meet with have been the Orbit Books crew. The staff are always really great, personable, and really have passion for what they do and the books they’ll be publishing. One of the books they were pushing for the fall is Michael J. Sullivan’s Theft of Swords. Sullivan is one of those rare success stories in self publishing, after receiving a great deal of acclaim for his work over the past couple of years Orbit signed him and is reissuing the six book Riyria Revelations series in three omnibus volumes, each containing two books over the course of three months. Orbit (as well as Del Rey) have proven this monthly successive publishing program to be very successful in the past, and one of the other books I picked up, Blood Rights by Kristen Painter, is the first of three books being released over three months.

I also picked up Orbit’s catalogue and some really interesting books are coming out over the next few months. As I said, they have been starting to reissue a lot of their series in omnibus format (something DAW has done very well in the past), such as Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine series and Pamela Freeman’s Castings Trilogy. In the fall/winter, Orbit is reissuing the Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron as an omnibus (Mark Yon had nice things to say about the first book) and the Griffin Mage trilogy by Rachel Neumeier.

I stopped by the Black Library booth spoke to them for a bit and lamented that they publish a lot of interesting looking books, too much for me to read in a timely fashion.

Right next to Black Library was the Abaddon/Solaris/2,000 AD booth, where they were kind enough to pass me a copy of Eric Brown’s Kings of Eternity as well as a catalogue. I really need to catch up with a bunch of their authors. I also found out James Lovegrove is penning another novel in his thematically connected Pantheon series titled Age of the Aztecs, featuring gods of the Americas, which should be a blast. I loved Age of Odin, and still need to read the previous two books.

Fantasy Flight Games also had a booth, highlighting their impressive stable of games, one of which is Talisman, a favorite of mine I’ve mentioned in the past as well as the hugely popular games (board and card) based on A Song of Ice and Fire. What also pleasantly surprised me is that they are launching a fiction publishing program, tie-in novels for their popular games. One that stood out to me is their Arkham Horror game line, the first novel will be written by Legend award winner Graham McNeill (who is probably Black Library’s #2 author just after Dan Abnett). Kind of ironic, as I was discussing with the rep at the show, that this is a Lovecraftian based game and that, of course, Lovecraft mythos started out as prose fiction, then moved to gaming and is now back full circle to fiction, They've also got Tracy Hickman (he of DragonLance and Darksword fame) penning Fireborn/Embers of Atlantis a London-based urban fantasy, as well as William H. Keith (who has written quite a few Battletech novels as well as some military/space opera under the name Ian Douglass) writing cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic stories for them under their Android gaming banner. With those authors, that reads like a good way to launch a tie-in imprint, no? I’m hoping to get copies of the Arkham and Android books for review.

The Paizo booth was well attended and they were showing off their fiction line based off the popular Pathfidner RPG (hence the copy of Elaine Cunningham’s Winter Witch, though I was a bit sad to learn Paul S. Kemp’s novel had been canceled. Paizo is launching a “beginner’s” gaming set, much like the old Dungeons and Dragons red box.

The Prometheus/Pyr booth was, as always, very nice and I snagged up a signed copy (as pictured above) of Vampire Empire #1 The Greyfriar and was pleased to find out the second book is on the way.

I also stopped by the Book Country booth and chatted with the always affable and just plain cool Colleen Lindsay who is running Book Country. Book Country is a writing community, not unlike the Online Writing Workshop (once sponsored by Del Rey), with one difference – Book Country has no registration fee. Colleen said a few agents and editors are part of the community, too. It sounds like a great place which I’ll be joining very soon.

All in all, it was a good show and I hope I made some career contacts that will bear some fruit in the near future.

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