Phew! I’m back from BEA and so exhausted from everything that went into trying to not miss a single second of the show. It was basically go-go-go at all times Wednesday through Friday but I regret nothing…especially as I look at my amazing book haul and even better pictures!
Since I’m back I wanted to take a moment to first give you my perspective and then give a few tips for anyone going for the first time. Wednesday was a half day and for a newbie it was a nice easing my way into the show since I had no idea what to expect. It was a catch 22 though because there wasn’t a ton going on that day. So I appreciated getting my feet wet but at the same time there wasn’t nearly as much going on as the other days. Don’t get me wrong though – I still got amazing books and my coloring book from Newbourne Media, which has proven as awesome as I expected, made the day pretty amazing.
Thursday and Friday were overwhelmingly fantastic from start to finish. I not only got books from authors that I love, I also got to meet many of these authors. I’ve said for years that authors are my celebrities so this was just wonderful to me. These included Gayle Forman, Tahereh Mafi, Elin Hildebrand, Jodi Picoult, Justin Cronin, Jill Shalvis, and Marissa Meyer.
Author Marissa Meyer – author of The Lunar Chronicles
So here are my tips for other newbies in the future:
Get there early! Below is just one example of one of the lines. We drove to the conference every day because I’m only a few states away so the first day we got there early and scoped out a great parking spot. Then every day thereafter we literally parked in the same spot because it was such a great spot. But even if not driving getting there early is a wonderful idea – the line to get in starts early as do the events every day. Which leads me to my next tip.
Plan ahead! Look at the schedule of both what galleys are dropping when and which authors are signing when and where. All of this information is key! There is both an autographing area at tables as well as booths which mean the Publishing booths – authors can and will sign at both. I had no clue that there was a difference, I assumed it was all one place. There were multiple times that because I planned ahead I was able to do some smart planning and pick up a quick galley on the way to getting in line for a signing I knew would be much busier. Each day Publisher Weekly puts out a ‘daily’ magazine that they hand out and we read while waiting to get in, with updates to the schedule. This was vital because schedules change and this changed MY schedule.
Be kind and courteous. To absolutely everyone. Even if you don’t know who they are. I mean, you should be anyways obviously. But this is key here. It’s not cool to be rude to people just because they can’t do something for you. It’s even worse to act like people at BEA OWE you something. Swag and free books were really amazing to get but I witnessed some people acting like they just deserved to get them. While others were clearly touched when they randomly got gifted with something fun. Definitely be the latter. Extend that kindness to those in lines too – a good line is a fun line. We held the place for those who needed to run quickly to grab something because that’s just good line etiquette, but also good karma!
My favorite bookmark from Harlequin – an example of fun swag I got.
Explore! Look beyond the big Publishing booths. There were a ton of booths there – and not just of books. There were fun booths, like Litographs and our new favorite Obvious State, that we featured last week. There were great booths like Newbourne Media I mentioned earlier with the coloring books, there were booths with amazing leather bound bookish journals, there were just awesome booths everywhere!
Oh, and along the lines of preparing – bring water and snacks with you. Food is expensive there. I found I also didn’t want to miss anything to take a time out to eat. The food you should be protein-ish too so you don’t pass out or anything!
Also, while you should be nice and courteous don’t be afraid to approach people. Because I was paying attention while in line for other things and I watched these two authors be super nice I was able to speak to them and grab a quick picture! The main picture on this post is Jess, Dottie, myself and author Sonali Dev hanging out in line together waiting for another author. That was a great experience to be able to just chat with her for about 30-45 minutes. Jess and I had met her before so we were comfortable enough to approach her there. I’m definitely not saying to seriously accost authors because they deserve their own space too. But by being respectful and nice it could work out well for you too.
Laini Taylor – author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Ransom Riggs – author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Regardless of if you follow my tips, just remember to have fun!!
May 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm
I’m hoping to go next year, so this post was really helpful. I’ve been reading as many ‘helpful tip’ posts on BEA as possible. Are you going next year? I wanted to go this year, but then I went to YallWest instead, and though that’s further, I had at least someone to stay with so I didn’t have to worry about that. I’m getting more and more nervous about going to BEA alone, so communicating more to people who do go is on my to-do list. I love your pictures. AHH YOU MET LAINI TAYLOR! She’s amazing ,isn’t she? Also, I meant to get Ransom Riggs to sign my book at yallwest but I wasn’t brave enough to go up to him in the author green room, and I missed out on his actual signing. 😦 Oh well. Maybe next year. Who knows. 🙂
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May 17, 2016 at 4:07 pm
I know you addressed this to Melinda, but I’m going to jump in and say don’t be afraid to go to BEA alone–you’re never really alone at BEA. You’ll meet wonderful people on the lines and make some great blog friends. But when it gets closer and have any questions give us a shout. Next year will be my 6th BEA and I live in NY so I’m our blog’s official tour guide and planner 🙂
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May 17, 2016 at 7:14 pm
I’m so glad this was helpful! I didn’t know what to expect this year but had wonderful help in the form of Jessica. I so want to go next year but it’s up in the air, if I can I definitely will. I had so much fun this year and had no negatives to report! I’ve heard great things about YallWest too though and if I had someone to stay with I might have made the same choice in your shoes. One tip I have for you that I didn’t put on the list that just ocurred to me is join the Goodreads group for BEA if you haven’t already, that would greatly ease any worry I had if I were you. It’s very helpful and people there are super nice as well as giving tips for going alone and meeting people who are also going alone. Laini and Ransom both were SO NICE to me when I *slightly* accosted them. They definitely could have been rude to me and I would have understood but they were insanely nice.
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May 17, 2016 at 2:37 pm
A very lovely post. THANK YOU.
Looks like you had wonderful first day. No Book Blogger Conference?
You were brave to drive. 🙂
I missed this year but had fun reading posts, and I participated in the ArmChair BEA which was a lot of fun.
ENJOY all your books and your memories.
Found your site on Goodreads in case you were wondering where I appeared from. 🙂
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May 17, 2016 at 7:21 pm
No Blogger Con, this year I think it was pricey as opposed to in the past from what I understand.
Ooh, ArmChairBEA is something I will have to look into if I can’t go in the future so thanks for that!
Will be checking out your blog 🙂