Man…where do I begin?
I was excited that BEA &BookCon were coming back to NYC. Since I am a New York native, getting around was extremely easy and convenient.
Rule 1: never go alone
Rule 2: Never Ever buy food there. The Javits Center is disgustingly over priced.
Rule 3: be extra patient
This was my first time going to BookExpo and BookCon and the two left me totally exhausted, physically & mentally. Part of me is still tired from the 5 day event but I also wanted to share my experience as a first time attendee.
Over the years, I’ve watched BEA/Bookcon through the eyes of the industry — from publishers on twitter, book bloggers, pictures and videos. This year, I decided to spend my birthday going to my first BEA/Bookcon and share in the excitement with my fellow book nerds.
My expectation for BEA/BookCon were the Lines. Galleys everywhere. Crowded. Grabby hands. Pushing. Fighting. Sore feet. Aching back. Confusing layout. Authors everywhere. Highly anticipated books. Everything I was expecting came true. For me, BEA was better organized than BookCon was and less hectic. The lines were sorter, the chaos was limited, time wasn’t rushed and you had the opportunity to converse with people who loved books. But on the show floor, I quickly realized my day would amount to…a lot of standing around in lines. Everywhere I went, no matter what time of day or where it was, a new line was forming. People jumped into lines without even knowing what they were for. Celebrities signing books, Getting to hear Hillary Clinton speak, standing a foot away from Chad Michael Murray, Seeing the enthusiasm for Lawrence O’Donnell and the excited chaos for Leigh Bardugo was what BEA/Bookcon were all about and I was glad to be a part of the chaotic fun.
- First thing’s first: food. It is a smart thing to buy food outside of the Javits Center. I went to a local Walgreens and Dunkin Donuts if i didn’t want to bring any food from home.
- Shoes: As a Bookseller, being on my feet wasn’t a problem, so my feet knows what it’s like to work nearly 40 hours a week constantly moving and standing. But standing on lines for more than an hour was tragic. My feet were so sore, walking became a struggle when it was time to go home.
- Galleys. To prevent a billion galleys shoved my way that wouldn’t be read, I made a list of books that I really really wanted to read and focused solely on that. Anything else that appeared interesting I gave to friends who could not attend BEA/Bookcon. there were a lot of galleys being passed out on the floor or in panels— if I didn’t want it, I didn’t grab it. It’s perfectly fine to do that. Someone else is on the hunt for that copy. With all the excitement going around, it is easy to fall into the trap of grabbing every book you see and a lot of people did just that. As I walked around, I would see books lying around and think to myself (“how selfish that person was…someone else could have wanted that book”)
- Books I really wanted: FireBlood by Elly Blake. WarCross by Marie Lu. Wonder Woman WarBringer by Leigh Bardugo. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Dear Martin by Nic Stone. and An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.
- Be kind. I didn’t witness shoving and fighting during BEA, but BookCon was a different story. There were a lot of disorganization going on in different booths that created unnecessary chaos and confusion.
- Network! Since I went alone this is, it was important for me to mingle with educators, librarians, publicists, editors on the floor and get a feel for what the book world is really all about. As a future writer, its important for me to know what i’m getting myself into and what to expect from the reading public.
- Keep calm. and most importantly…HAVE FUN!!
BEA is not a competition over how many books you can grab. It’s a place to reunite or make new friends, discuss writing, books you’ve loved and can’t wait to read, and make connections with the industry you want to be a part of. Many of the books that I managed to get along with ones from my own personal library are going to be donated to different organizations that are in need of books to provide to kids. Being a writer and avid reader, its important to share that love with others who don’t have the financial means to always get new books. That’s what its all about for me.
Thank you for tuning in for my recap. Year One of BEA/Bookcon was a success.
P.S. definitely only sticking to BEA next year 🙂 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥