Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer


So, as many of you may recall, I spent a big chunk of last week at BookExpo America (BEA). As the show website notes, BEA is “the largest publishing event in North America,” providing “access to what’s new, what’s next, and everything exciting in the world of books.” This was not my first time attending the trade show, but it was the first time I participated as part of a publishing company that was exhibiting there. Which means that I spent a lot of time at the Fig Tree Books booth, chatting with passers-by (thanks to everyone who visited!) and hovering over “our” authors as they signed galleys of their books. (By the way, we had the nicest next-booth neighbor: Cameron + Company/publisher Chris Gruener. Go check out the Cameron + Company books–they really seem to have something for everyone.)

In part because I simply had less time to stroll around than I did when attending the show as a blogger/reviewer, and in part because I was very strict with myself, I left BEA this time with far fewer galleys than I have in the past. Part of the reason I was able to be strict with myself: I have never, ever managed to read and/or write about all of the galleys I’ve hauled home from BEA. Also helpful: extremely long lines that dissuaded me from even attempting to procure certain titles. I’m very happy to have all of the galleys I did manage to take home.

Confession: Not *all* of these were new to me at BEA. Fig Tree’s spring list includes Jonathan Papernick’s THE BOOK OF STONE and Jessamyn Hope’s SAFEKEEPING; the fall list includes Ben Nadler’s THE SEA BEACH LINE and the re-issue of Edward Lewis Wallant’s THE PAWNBROKER, featuring a new foreword by Dara Horn.

But I’m probably happiest about this amazing tote bag. (And if you’ve attended as many literary events as I have, you, too, probably have to be pretty darn impressed by a tote bag to mention it!)


This BEA was definitely more intense (and draining) for me than any other has been. That’s probably because a) I really was working and b) I attended all days of the trade show (and went in a day early to help set up), in contrast with single-day visits in the past. I honestly do not know how people extend their BEA activities late into the night at parties—I had to recover every evening at home (plus, inevitably, there was work to do that hadn’t been handled during the day while I was at the show).9780300189803_p0_v1_s260x420

By last weekend, I was definitely ready to think about my own writing again, and I managed to get some submissions out for Erika even as I started to follow up on some leads/to-do items that emerged at BEA for Fig Tree.

And speaking of my own writing: I’m proud to share the book review I’ve alluded to several times in recent months. I put a lot of work into this piece on Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist, and I’m so very grateful to The Barnes and Noble Review for assigning and publishing it.

And, ICYMI: I also managed to get the June issue of The Practicing Writer out to you all in time for the new month. Am I not amazing?  😉

3 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Clive Collins says:

    Amazing you are, Erika. Thank you for the June issue of TPW and congratulations on placing the Léon Blum piece.

  2. Hi, Erika,
    Thanks for the inside look at BEA! I was in town at the same time as you know but didn’t get to go. Did you stop by the Beacon Press booth? 🙂

    Good luck to you with your writing and congrats on the Leon Blum piece. I echo Clive. You are amazing and so helpful to the rest of us writers.


  3. Erika Dreifus says:

    You’re both wonderful! Thank you!

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