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Guest Post: Being a Bookseller and BEA Expectations

We've been exploring the world of book, writing, and publishing conferences this week, but we thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of a bookseller. Joining us today is Kerri Poore from Politics and Prose!


My newest colleague in the Children and Teens’ Department at Politics and Prose Bookstore has asked me to write a blog entry regarding my expectations for BEA.  While honored, I should highlight the fact that this is a first for me.  I have never written a blog entry.  This is fitting, as I am also attending BEA for the first time.  I have heard about it, been regaled with stories from colleagues and certainly been curious about what goes on at this conference for which I have been warned to wear very comfortable shoes. 
I have been lucky enough to recently attend both NAIBA (North Atlantic Independent Bookseller’s Association) in Atlantic City (2011) and Winter Institute in Virginia (2010).  Given the extent to which I enjoyed those conferences, I have extremely high hopes for BEA.  Upon returning from both of these conferences, I described the experience as being like a little kid in a candy shop. Regulars to these conferences may be jaded by the experience, attend only a few focus groups or workshops, spend most of their time exchanging strategies and ideas with friends/booksellers in the hallways and head home with three or four carefully selected galleys.  Being the neophyte that I am, however, I signed up for as much as I could, hung on to every word of my more experienced colleagues for tips, soaked up the ambiance of being among fellow book lovers and dragged home more books than I could really carry. 
BEA is different.  I get it.  It’s huge.  The Javitz Center is enormous (675,000 square feet).  I am here with my colleagues but it is quite conceivable that I may not see many of them during the duration of my stay.  I fully expect to be blown away.
I am here to learn.  As a bookseller (and not a buyer), I confess that I do not generally focus on who published which book.  I love the book; I sell the book.  Now is my opportunity to delve more deeply into the industry.  I am here to soak up all that I can from our buyer, the publishers, editors and authors. Already I am listening to stories of the publishing business.
I am here to meet authors.  I am eager to hear more about the flourishing young adult market.  I expect and hope to come across some lovely books that can be signed by the author.  In many unexpected ways, meeting and getting to know an author has been a very useful tool for me as a bookseller.  It adds a personal touch to hand selling that I find customers appreciate.  And as such, I expect my bag to be much too heavy every day and for my feet to be incredibly sore.  I am hear to learn more about blogging, tweeting and using facebook to reach your audience. 
Perhaps my expectations are too high and I will be disappointed but I seriously doubt it. 
Somaiya Daud

Somaiya Daud received her BA and MA from a university in DC in English. She is currently working on her PhD. When not writing or studying, she spends too much time on the internet yelling about comics and robots. Her first novel, Mirage, is coming 2017 from Flatiron Books.

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Item Reviewed: Guest Post: Being a Bookseller and BEA Expectations Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sumayyah