Monday, June 1, 2015

BEA2015: Murder at the Javitt’s Center

A small part of the China Booth 

Let’s be clear.  Ordinarily in my life for the past few years, and into the foreseeable future, BEA stands for British East Africa—the scene of my Tolliver historical mystery series.  But in this instance, it means Book Expo America—the biggest annual publishing convention in North America.  It takes place in May, frequently at the Javitt’s Center on the banks of the mighty Hudson.  It is a great favorite with Mystery Writers of America.  You are about to see why?

There were 26 aisles of exhibitors!

The first lift to our spirits occurs on entering the building.  The event is HUGE!  Hundreds of exhibitors from twenty-three different countries.  Many thousands of attendees—from the publishing industry, libraries, universities, critics, bloggers, and on and on.   One glance at the enormity of the convention dispels all the prognostications of doom about publishing being a moribund industry.  The atmosphere crackles with energy.

The MWA booth, just before it opened on Friday

Typical of the line of readers waiting for autographed books

The Mystery Writers of America booth is home base for us.  Thanks to the organizational skills of our administrative director Margery Flax, we have a constant flow of author signings.  This year, in three days, we gave away over 8000 books, which were largely donated by our publishers.

Your reporter with Lucy Burdette and M.J. Rose

There are people lined up to collect books and get them autographed.  The warmth of the gathering of writers is a delight to behold and revel in.

Not our Michael Sears, but Michael Sears nonetheless

The last of the day's authors: Wendy Corsi Staub, Reed Farrell Coleman, and Ken Wishnia.
The number of readers waiting in the line has never let up from 10 AM and 4 PM.
For a few years now, I have volunteered to work the booth for one of the days, and I wouldn’t miss doing that.
Tim O'Mara provides refreshments at the end of a great day.

Those smiles tell it all.

Next year, the conference will be in Chicago.  I am planning on being there. 

Annamaria - the Monday after BEA


  1. I never realized before how much Steven P resembles a smiling Edgar Allen Poe! :) Great reporting, Sis.

    1. Bro, I think you mean Steve Flax. As in love as he and Margery are and as enthusiastic is her support of mystery writers, you may have hit on a cause and an effect. But which is which?

  2. I've never been to BEA, but after reading your report, Annamaria, I'm going to have to change that, methinks!

  3. That sounds a real fun event! And you all look so happy. And nobody was abducted in a taxi.

    1. Caro, any abductions from the MWA booth were, I am sure, entirely consensual. Tim O'Mara's hooch may have had something to do with that. :)

  4. Stan and Zoe, the only thing that could make it more fun would be being there with the you!

  5. Totally awesome and wonderful!!!!! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

    1. Our happy tribe, Thelma! We treasure one others, including YOU!!!

  6. Alright, all this Tom Foolery has simply got to stop. Fun has been outlawed for the duration. No more smiling, no more drinking, no more schmoozing. Books are SERIOUS business, there's money involved, and it's not something to be dealt with lightly.

    The Grinch of Publishing Past, Present, and Future.
    And other times.
    And places.

  7. Okay for you, EvKa. No smiles will appear here for the rest of the month. Gloom and doom is all you will get. The atmosphere here will make the weather in Portland seem like Sicily in June or the Maasai Mara in August. I am quite a good actress. I can even imitate a Scandinavian alcoholic policeman. Just watch.

    1. Oooh, I'm sticking around to see AmA, the Scandinavian alcoholic policeman. THAT will be worth the price of entry.