Publishing the true stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan, Canada.
We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by
Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also assist authors in self-publishing their work. Visit our website and buy our books at

Friday, July 1, 2016

Exploring Book Expo America 2016 in Chicago

In May, I was pleased to be invited by SaskBooks (Saskatchewan Publishers Group) to be one of three Saskatchewan publishers to attend BookExpo America in Chicago, IL. BEA is "the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry and is the best place to discover new titles and authors, conduct business and network, and learn the latest trends."

I had never attended BEA before and was delighted to participate, with the help of Creative Saskatchewan funding. I learned more about the book publishing industry in North America and made some great business connections towards the goal of eventually selling foreign and international rights to some of our books written by Saskatchewan and Prairie authors.

I quickly found out that BEA is definitely "the largest gathering of booksellers, librarians, retailers, publishers, rights, licensing, and book industry professionals in North America." We were told that this year's conference was smaller than those of most years because it was in Chicago rather than its usual location of New York City.

This was not only my first trip to BEA but my first trip to Chicago as well, so there was a lot for me to learn and explore. Here's a photographic snapshot of some of my experiences at BEA:

Here's Millenium Park and Lake Michigan, on a clear day's view from my hotel room.

Sask publishing friends Heather Nickel of Your Nickel's Worth Publishing and Jillian Bell of SaskBooks stand in one of the halls of McCormick Place, the huge conference centre where BEA was held.

A blogger's conference was a great start to the event, where I learned more about the importance of book bloggers in getting the word out about new titles.

Book marketing and promotion ideas were shared by these panelists.

The time that people spend on social media is constantly increasing, so publishers need to adapt to that change, says branding authority Cindy Ratzlaff. (This was my favourite presentation of the conference.)

Cindy shared a list of some great graphics tools. 

These bags were waiting for their participants' new haul of free books, informational brochures, business cards, and more.

The exhibit hall had many rows of booths.

More booths, from some of the biggest publishers.

These folks were all waiting for a book launch... Kenny Loggins, who reworked his Footloose lyrics into a children's book about animals at the zoo.

Yes, there's Kenny Loggins in the background, signing his book at the booth a few steps away from me.

Kenny Loggins and his new Footloose children's book.

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was signing his new book as well.

We met many authors, including Kwame Alexander (above centre) and illustrators, including Daniel Myares (above right). We enjoyed a little singalong with Kwame and Daniel before we could happily take home a copy of their beautiful new children's book. 

Oh yeah, I. .. did not meet the Beatles, of course, but I enjoyed these life-sized cutouts at one of the booths. Too cool to ignore, right?

I was most intrigued by this display at the booth of Foreword Reviews. We just might include a couple of our DriverWorks Ink books in their display for the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. 

These U.S. teachers were the lucky, very happy  recipients of some DriverWorks Ink books that I had taken to hand out and spread the word about our great books.
Book Expo America was a fabulous opportunity to learn, make some connections for marketing and increased sales, and share information about our popular and award-winning books. Thank you, SaskBooks, for the invitation and thank you, Creative Saskatchewan, for the funding assistance.

And now with the conference over, there was a tiny bit of time to do a little sightseeing in Chicago.

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