Now Arriving at #BEA14: AUTHOR HUB

Image - iStockphoto: blnd
Image – iStockphoto: blnd

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Writing on the Ether: Now Arriving at #BEA14: Author Hub

[su_dropcap size=”4″]N[/su_dropcap]EW YORK—One of the closing sequences of publisher-to-publisher communications offered Wednesday from the stage of F+W Media’s Digital Book World Conference & Expo came from SourcebooksDominique Raccah. And it had to do with failure.

Dominique Raccah
Dominique Raccah

Raccah jokes with me that the rest of us really just like hearing her talk about her failures. But nobody was laughing last evening when she went into a litany of what failure had come to mean to her, and might mean to the rest of us.

“Fear actually is the promise of getting it right tomorrow.” That woke up everybody.

Raccah’s lines rolled through the cavernous Metropolitan Ballroom, filled with more than 1,000 exhausted conference-goers.

Dominique Raccah is onstage during this panel discussion Wednesday at Digital Book World Conference & Expo. Photo: Porter Anderson
Dominique Raccah is onstage during this panel discussion Wednesday at Digital Book World Conference & Expo. Photo: Porter Anderson

Dominique Raccah is onstage during this panel discussion Wednesday at Digital Book World Conference & Expo. Photo: Porter Anderson

And I’ll have more from the conference tomorrow, Friday, at Writer Unboxed.

Some of our colleagues who heard Raccah speak are going back into offices today to work on failure. Some of them represent imprints, sales initiatives, marketing schemes, book launches, educational programs, design concepts, and whole publishing houses that will, no doubt, meet with hard, resounding, costly failure.

Logo BEA Author Hub white on blueBut “a failure-free environment is an innovation-free zone,” Raccah told the hushed assembly. “We have to rethink failure. We need better data, better processes, and more transparency around every step in publishing,” she pressed on. In 2008, when things were particularly tough in her shop, she said, she’d found herself “a constant complainer.” And she changed that.

“Failure,” she said, “can be an opportunity to come together, to create and strive together. Failure can be a moment of inspiration. ”

Today, I can give you an example of what she’s talking about.

From PPubperspectives June 3Last June, I ran an edition of the Ether at Publishing Perspectives headlined How London Beat BEA’s Pants Off. In it, I wrote about theLondon Book Fair’s (LBF) AuthorLounge initiative curated by Authoright as a place for entrepreneurial writers to gather, network, hold seminars, and even launch books—Orna Ross and her Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) launched its Choosing a Self-Publishing Service for authors there.

By contrast in the States, we had seen six particularly powerful entrepreneurial authors—Bella Andre,Stephanie BondTina Folsom,Barbara FreethyHugh Howey, and CJ Lyons—spend thousands of dollars to take a booth of their own together at BEA, where there was no AuthorLounge program.

The Indies are Coming from Writing on the EtherI wrote about this here in Writing on the Ether in The Indies Are Coming! to BEA.

You may remember that the follow-up to all this included some very forthright, good-natured response from Reed Exhibitions’ Steven Rosato, who directs BEA.

In comments he wrote for the Ether at Publishing Perspectives, Rosato said:

Not only is BEA embracing and recognizing the entrepreneurial author, but we do an awful lot of great things for them to level the playing field, treating them for what they are: producers of great content that is looking to reach its audience.

Steve Rosato
Steve Rosato

And Rosato is proving himself as good as his word.

If some saw a failure in BEA last year to offer entrepreneurial authors a place at the publishing table like that LBF had provided, Rosato and his team saw the experience as an opportunity to rethink, revise, and renew.

“An opportunity to stop doing something else,” Raccah told the crowd in New York at DBW, “and start doing something else.”

That turns out to be a timely way to describe what BEA and Rosato now are committing to do, right on the floor of the huge trade show in New York. Rather than giving entrepreneurial authors no option except to take a booth like anyone else or have no material presence at BEA, the show this year is generating the dedicated author-services locus that’s been missing in the Javits Center until now.

BEA Author Hub first PDF headerThe uPublishU Author Hub at BEA is being established as an operational, fully functioning home base for entrepreneurial authors at the heart of BookExpo America. Rosato has asked me to program the new development. And I want to tell you something about it now.

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