Listen up, authors. When I tell you that Book Expo is a must-attend event, take it as complete gospel. All of the top people in the publishing game (except Amazon, for obvious reasons) assemble inside the country’s most magical pop-up library for a stimulating few days of reading, learning and networking. In an industry that is constantly evolving, it is so important to keep up with the trends.

My experience could have been a scene out of Ten Years Later. After I wrapped my autograph session in the New Title Showcase– where I met very sweet and helpful publishing influencers from all over the world!– I wandered the vast grounds of the Javits Center. It was interesting to see the types of books the major publishing houses were pushing; with the exception of Harlequin‘s vast selection of contemporary fiction, my genre was grossly underserved. (There was no shortage of self-help guides or ultra-left leaning political tomes, however). Apparently, this has always been true according to the different authors and buyers I spoke with. I knew there had to be a good reason for those fifty agents to reject my manuscript back in the initial pitching process! 😉

But the real TYL moment came when I was chatting with Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade after he finished his signing of Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny in the Penguin Random House boothNo, we weren’t talking about Trump, we were talking about sports– that is, until the CEO of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, interrupted us along with two of his executives. Then we were all talking about sports, among other pleasantries! Clearly I did not belong in this conversation, but I wasn’t going to pass up this golden opportunity.

In the midst of conversation, Markus asked Brian for a copy of his book. After Brian placed a copy in front of him, I quipped “Well, you are going to need a bookmark!” and shoved one of my TYL ones inside. Markus thanked me, and we continued talking about soccer breaking into mainstream American culture (ugh). A few minutes later, Markus tucked his new book (and its trusty companion) under his arm and bid everyone goodbye.

Now, do you or I really think that the CEO of Penguin Random House will take the time to look up “Bookmark Girl” and offer her the deal of a lifetime? But had I not gone to Book Expo, the possibility wouldn’t even be on the table. Just this experience alone was worth the price of admission.

See you next year at The Javits!

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