Major book fairs are where mainstream publishers showcase their lists, sell their books to retailers, and make valuable connections.

This year at book expo America, the largest book event in the US, a handful of “indies” decided if the big guys can do it, they can too.

Authors Bella Andre, Stephanie Bond, Tina Folsom, Barbara Freethy, Hugh Howey, and CJ Lyons joined forces to create a booth at BEA to drum up new business. It isn’t cheap – with 100 SqFt booths starting at $4,020, plus all the decorations, signage, and whatever else you want to provide visitors to your booth. We talked to CJ Lyons about the costs and the benefits of their investment.

What made you decide to put this booth together?
CJ: A group of us had been working together, sharing ideas and information, so when I saw an ad in PW (Publishers Weekly) for BEA exhibitors, I took it to the group. After all, given the number of books each of us had published and sold, we represented a catalogue just as powerful as any small press, so why not have a presence at BEA?

How did this particular group of authors get chosen to be part of the collective?
CJ: We actually had gotten together online before BEA. Given our overlap in genres and our collective experiences, it was natural for us to start talking about tactics that worked and didn’t, help each other by sharing information, and other cooperative efforts.

What kind of impact did the booth have?

CJ: The Indie Bestsellers booth had a much larger impact than I ever imagined—all of it positive from what I could see. Not only did it give us added cachet as far as scheduling appointments with industry professionals, we created a bit of a stir that drew more professionals to our booth for impromptu meetings.

All this led to discussions for future strategic partnerships with library systems, distributors, international publishers, as well as well-known publishing platforms. We also were featured by several media outlets and had the opportunity to meet with several top book bloggers. Not to mention meeting our fans and power readers during our signing events.

Would you recommend this for other authors?
CJ: Absolutely! Especially if you can partner to share the burden logistically and financially. The great thing about our group is that we span the genre spectrum, yet also have a nice overlap of readership, so we aren’t in competition, but instead complement each other.


Left to Right:  Barbara Freethy, Bella Andre, Tina Folsom, Mark Lefebvre (Director of Kobo Writing Life & Author Relations), Hugh Howey, CJ Lyons, Stephanie Bond

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