Mili Fay having a conversation in front of the Javits Centre in NY City.

Mili Fay standing in front of the Javits Centre in NY City. Can you see all the bags of books she’s carrying?

Let me just state that it was an experience. In my 35 years, this has been the first time I’ve travelled anywhere on my own — without expecting a welcome committee of family or family friends. My solo status did not last long, since my sister joined me the following day, but it was a new experience.

NY was waking up at five in the morning so that I could blow-dry my hair and make myself look neat and “businessy”. I would leave the hotel (145 W 44th St and Broadway — Millennium Broadway Hotel) and walk the 20 minutes to Javits Centre so I would be there by 8 am. Of course, by the time I got to Javits Centre, humidity had its way with my hair and instead of looking businessy, I looked like Ronald McDonald. Eventually, I stopped blow drying in the morning and had more sleep instead.

BookExpo was intense. Educational sessions lasted all day until about 6 pm. By the third day, I was so mentally exhausted that I just stood there, not knowing where I should go. I learned more than I can process (I’m still processing), met some idols, and walked away with a carry-on full of books. They just give away books for free — ARCs and hardcover-just-published copies, often signed by authors.

Rick Riordan, Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes

Rick Riordan presents his new imprint and the first two books by Roshani Chokshi and J.C. Cervantes.

BookCon, I could not figure out. I find BookExpo is better, because it is less busy, more publishers are there, there is information on everything, and books are free. At BookCon, I had to purchase the books I wanted, and I had no idea what was happening. I did enjoy the author interviews.

Magic and Power Fantsy Panel at BookCon, Javits Centre, NY 2018.

BookCon’s Fantasy Authors. Includes: Marissa Meyer, Cassandra Clare, Brandon Sanderson, and Tomi Adeyemi. The Moderator: Daniel José Older.

I have written down all my notes and arranged them in OneNote notebook. I have also uploaded all the recordings of interviews. These are freely available to Mili Fay Art Fan Club Members. You can join the Membership and request a copy.

Would I recommend attending BookExpo?

BookExpo 2018 Children's Authors Breakfast

Children’s Authors Breakfast, including Viola Davis, Jacqueline Woodson, Yuyi Morales, Meg Medina, and Dave Eggers.

If you are in NY, or live near by, and can obtain a ticket (you will have to prove you are in the Publishing Industry), I would get the ticket just for all the free books and autograph copies. If you need more information about the publishing industry, I would also recommend attending this event. I did not find this out until it was too late, but apparently editors could be found at booths at certain times, and what better opportunity to discuss your options with them. I also enjoyed seeing the collective works of each publisher. We (authors and illustrators) are often encouraged to visit bookstores and research publishers to see if our work would fit amongst their work. At BookExpo, I can get a sense of a visiting publishing house at a glance.

Denise Costantino and MerMay 2017

Denise Costantino showing her image featured in Mili Fay’s MerMay 2017 Sketchbook.

What I would not recommend this event for is if you are looking to network with agents and editors. It is far too expensive for you to present your work, and in my opinion this event is geared toward publishers to connect with bookstores and libraries, and negotiate printing and other services. The one agent I and my friend Denise (illustrator of Sweet’s Search for a Forever Home in the Garden State) met explained that the agents that were present were there to negotiate overseas rights and not to look for new clients. She suggested we should visit Writer’s Conferences instead for that purpose. However, saying the above, I did meet several lovely people with whom I hope to stay in touch.

If you have any other questions regarding my BookExpo experience, feel free to contact me.


Mili Fay
July 24, 2018

P.S. I have been absent from my blog for a while, not because nothing was happening, but because so much has happened that I do not know where to start. In the following few posts I will try to catch you up with everything of importance.