Join your fellow WNBA members this Sunday, September 18th from 10a-6p, rain or shine, at Brooklyn Book Festival.
Stop by booth #251 for some swag and to learn about more great literary events in NYC and to meet fellow book lovers and people who work in publishing. While you take in all that BBF has to offer, share your festival experience with us using the hashtag #wnbaBKBF on Facebook, Instagram (@wnba_nyc), and Twitter (@WNBANYC). Please tag us in your festival photos on Instagram.
Sunday will be a great day to revel in all things books and listen to your favorite authors talk about writing and the publishing business. You may even pick up a few more favorite authors when you see what made WNBA’s Great Group Reads list this year.
The very first Brooklyn Book Festival was held September 15, 2006. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and his office organized a full day of readings and panel discussions with authors. Most of the authors were connected to Brooklyn in some way. That year there were five reading stages and more than 60 vendor tents.
Fast forward five years, the Brooklyn Book Festival had grown so popular it was drawing big-named authors and talent. “There will always be a Brooklyn flavor, but it has grown to be very much an international festival, with writers coming from all over the world,” said Johnny Temple, Akashic Books founder and a festival organizer.”
Last year, Brooklyn Book Festival celebrated its 10th year with 300 authors on 14 stages and an estimated 40,000 attended. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was just as excited as festival goers, “As an avid bookworm and lover of the written word, I am thrilled to be part of the tenth anniversary of the Brooklyn Book Festival, the preeminent celebration of literature and literary culture in our nation. Authors from around the world will make this milestone a truly global affair, reflecting the unmatched diversity of our borough and its readers.”
This year will be no different. Fourteen stages will hold 300+ authors from 20 different countries, including Margaret Atwood, Libba Bray, Jessica Valenti, Faith Erin Hicks, and Monica Youn. “Outdoors at the Festival’s famed Literary Marketplace, more than 200 booksellers and publishers create a vibrant literary celebration with books and literary magazines from all over the country. On Festival Day the center of the literary universe is truly Brooklyn!”
With Brooklyn Book Fest going strong for 11 years, I asked members of WNBA-NYC to tell me about their first experiences at BBF.
Andrea St. Aubin: My first BBF was in September 2013, just a month after moving to NYC! I was super excited! It was my first book festival in general, so the idea of being with hundreds of other book lovers was very exciting. It was so much fun seeing all the booths, people, and different publishers. My favorite panel was the one where my favorite author Audrey Niffenegger spoke. I was able to meet her afterward which was awesome! This year, I can’t wait to see M.T. Anderson and Chip Kidd.
Rachel Slaiman: My first festival was in 2010. I was really excited to see how many independent companies there were and how each one differs from one another. I always look forward to the new authors to see what kind of talent emerges to the publishing world.
Hannah Bennett: Brooklyn Book Fest was the first thing I ever did with the WNBA, five years ago! I had only lived in New York for about a month. When I got there, everyone in the WNBA was welcoming, and the festival was my first taste of the NYC book world. I enjoyed the festival so much the first time that I’ve come back every single year since! It’s fun to talk to the people who stop by the booth, everyone from publishing professionals to authors to students, and hear their stories.
Alex Grover: Last year was my first year. I expected something similar to BookExpo America. However, it’s quite different! It’s closer to an outdoor street fair than any kind of industry event I’ve been to, but that difference gives BFF such a nice and indie flavor.
Laurel Stokes: This year will be my first Brooklyn Book Festival! The past 3 years I’ve been away when it happened, so I’m excited this year to finally participate. I expect to be surrounded by thousands of books and book lovers! And I hope to attend 1 or 2 panels and I hope there will be some free books available too! I’m really intrigued by the Culinary Comfort panel and the idea that that the way we eat is a form of our family’s ‘culture.’ Plus, I’ve always wanted to know what goes into writing a cookbook!
Anne Kemper: My first BBF was 2009 or 2010. I only had a couple of hours free, so I just volunteered at the WNBA booth. So while I might have hoped to run into Jonathan Safran Foer, I knew I’d likely just see other exhibitors. This year, I’m really excited about the Security Without Backdoors: The Future of Digital Privacy panel with Manoush Zomorodi leading the panel.
Bridget Marmion: My first visit to the Festival was in 2013, when my strategic partner, Rich Kelley, had arranged for YOUR EXPERT NATION to offer a workshop of our choosing. The YEN event was held in the conference room of the Boro President and attendance was beyond STANDING ROOM ONLY. I’m proud to say that YOUR EXPERT NATION has been invited to present each year since then.
My clearest and fondest memories of my first BBF was the great choices of AUTHOR READINGS, presentations by others in publishing (I love to learn and keep up to date on others’ visions/success), and a conversation with buddy Bill Goldstein (who is the book reviewer on SUNDAY TODAY SHOW, Bill’s Books) about media and self-published books.
Any advice for first time BBF goers?
St. Aubin: Plan your time around the panels you want to see, and wear comfy shoes!
Slaiman: Get there early and take your time going through the festival. It is very big, lots of freebies, and you meet very interesting people from all over.
Bennett: Take time to talk to people at the booths, there are all kinds of opportunities to be involved in the literary world of NYC!
Grover: Take a peek at all the booths–out of nowhere, one might just strike your fancy!
Stokes: Bring lots of water with you! That’s pretty much my tip for anyone who’s planning on going to any outdoor event in the summer.
Kemper: Arrive EARLY for any events you really want to see–they fill up!
Marmion: I absolutely recommend anyone going to the BBF to carefully review the program and offerings. Also, events run concurrently, so you’ve got to map out who/where you want to be and sometimes allow time to travel from one building to the other. Plus, a great number of publishers, magazines and bookstores have tables on the Plaza, so look over the map of exhibitors, so you can determine which editors/publishers you may want to visit, AFTER you visit the WNBA booth so you can easily direct others to the WNBA booth, of course.
Don’t forget to catch Bridget’s panel (after you come by booth #251 first):
How to Help Readers Discover Your Book.
St. Francis College Workshop Room 4202, 180 Remsen St
September 18, 2016
However you publish, you must help readers find your book. In this fast-paced workshop presented by YOUR EXPERT NATION, three publishing experts – marketing director Bridget Marmion, publicist Michelle Blankenship, and SEO pro/social media coach Rich Kelley – share insider tips on how to build relationships, credibility, and visibility long before pub date; find readers online; get guest blogging engagements; do book giveaways; improve metadata; and reach your target audience using all the timeless and newest marketing, publicity, and promotional tools right for you.