The Magic of BEA
My first time to Book Expo America was amazing! Wall-to-wall books, authors, publishers, bloggers and fans of all kinds packed into the Javits Center in NYC last week for the annual event. Since it was my first time, I was happy to accept tips from anyone who offered them and learned a lot for my future trips.
1. Bring a wheeling suitcase. Since I took the train, it would have been perfect to store all my books into the suitcase and easy to transport my goodies back to my home. Apparently, the people of BEA are wise and well-seasoned and know bibliophiles well as they provide a luggage area for people to check their bags while they browse the wonders of the expo.
2. No need for bags. A lot of the vendors were more than happy to pass out bags with logos of their publishing houses or new releases or authors for people to throw their swag in. When you’re bags got too full you could either dump your loot into your suitcase in the baggage check area or into a box with your name on it that you could then ship to your home if you were flying in from farther away.
3. Make a plan of attack beforehand. With the plethora of info found on the BEA website, the BEA app, or the free schedules provided at the expo, you can easily map your day out to the minute. I saw many people with single-minded expressions plowing their way through the dense crowds in order to get in an autograph line an hour early so they wouldn’t have to wait in line (no, it doesn’t make sense, but don’t tell them that!). In addition to the autograph stations, there were various speakers, signings, and events happening throughout the expo. I mostly just wandered around with a dazed look of awe on my face until I would stumble into something that caught my attention. 🙂
4. Sign up as a book blogger. Apparently, (and I only know this thanks to the well-planned Sheila @ Book Journey who also went to BEA – sadly we missed each other…) you can sign up for BEA as a book blogger and go to special book blogger events. So cool!!! I fully intend on taking advantage of that next year as I totally missed the boat this year and thus didn’t network as I would have liked to.
5. If you see an ARC you want, throw all niceties to the wind and dive for it lest it get snatched from you. Okay, I’m being a bit melodramatic here – but not much! Anyone who has a huge passion for something (such as book lovers at a book convention or Augustus Gloop at the Wonka Factory), is willing to go to pretty great lengths to get something they want. Now I’m not saying people were downright mean or rude, but they definitely didn’t wait for an invitation or follow any polite conventions if it meant they wouldn’t get an ARC or item of swag they had their eye on. One of the talks I sat in featured Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis, (writer and illustrator for the upcoming MG novel Wildwood and also husband and wife) and Lauren Oliver (who was talking about her new MG novel, Liesl and Po). I got there early and noticed a rep set down two piles of each book on the stage. I really, really wanted a copy of both but didn’t feel okay just going up and taking one because someone else had and I heard the rep complain. But then a lot more people just kept taking them and the rep didn’t say anything and then they were all gone and I was left empty-handed. Some people even got them signed! Double sadness. Ah well, next time I’ll ask or simply tackle someone and take their copies. 😉
Overall, though, I had a wonderful experience and am definitely going to attend for years to come! Here are some pictures I took to share with you: