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The Three Things I Learned at BEA

By Mindy Reed, MLIS, MA

I had the pleasure of attending Book Expo America at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City the first week of June. There was palpable excitement as we walked the aisles of the exhibition hall, filling free tote bags with advance copies of books.

I have attended this trade show in the past, but this year was noticeably different. This year, smaller was better. Certainly the big boys with their elaborate displays were there, but small presses, small publishers, editors, designers and printers held court on the main floor. Entrepreneurship was everywhere.

For the first time, agents, editors and reviewers were open to successful small press and self-published authors. The three keys to that success: Platform, Research and Networking.

Platform: What qualifies you as the authority on a subject? Are you an academic, professional, public speaker or historian? Do you have a Web site, blog or newsletter? Define your credibility and build your platform.

Research: Who is your market or competitor? Know what has already been published and what makes your book unique. Define your audience—not only what books they read but what magazines. What do they watch on television, listen to on the radio, and shop for in stores? How can you be a commodity for them?

Network: Interact with other published authors, independent booksellers, writing groups and conferences. Build a support group and fan base.

These three insights will go a long way to your publishing success.

—For ten years, Mindy Reed, a professional editor, librarian and researcher with her company The Authors' Assistant in Austin, Texas, has helped authors polish their manuscripts for publication. You can reach Mindy at or at 512-907-1821.



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