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What we learned our first year at BookCon

By Andrea Kiliany Thatcher, Book Publicist and Social Media Strategist

While Smith Publicity is old-hat at the more industry-specific BookExpo (formerly Book Expo America), the consumer-facing BookCon two-day event which connects readers with the authors and publishers they love was a new, exciting adventure for us! Having been established in 2014, BookCon has steadily grown in importance to the industry along with the popularity of pop culture "cons" in general (think ComicCon).

We kicked off the day with a blogger brunch where we connected with 30 of the top book bloggers and reviewers in the industry. Through these conversations, we have constantly-evolving insight into the best ways to gain coverage and reviews for our authors. We take our personalized pitching strategy very seriously and are always updating which bloggers are most interested in which genres and experts.

It was very exciting to have lines around the booth for book giveaways throughout the day. 500 readers, book fans and reviewers left BookCon with a book, a fun memory of Smith Publicity, and more information on our authors. We, in turn, were able to see first hand the books, authors and book marketing strategies that are best resonating with readers and reviewers.

Last but not least, President Sandy Smith and Director of Business Development Corinne Moulder presented a talk on Paid vs. Earned Marketing through our colleagues at IngramSpark for an audience of aspiring and independently-published authors. Not only were we able to impart a little bit of wisdom about how to approach book publicity, it's always informative for us to learn what questions new authors have in the ever-changing book industry landscape.

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