Book Expo America (BEA) — so much to say, and so little time.
Before jumping into the nitty-gritty of this post, for anyone who doesn’t know BEA is a publishing event where publishers and all sorts of book types come together to celebrate books.
Like two previous years before, I took the Jacob Javits by storm on Thursday May 30th, rolling suitcase and friend and fellow blogger Miss Print by my side. Since we were registered as Press, we got there early to settle in and pick out our badges. Previously, we’re have to pick up our badges at the registration booths, along with everyone else. But this year, things were a bit different, we had to register at the Press office. When you think about it, it really makes sense.
Even though in my mind it makes complete sense I was a bit worried that it would be packed, causing us to spend some time on (yet another) long line. But to my surprise, upon arriving at the press office, it was relatively quiet. Miss Print and I breezed through swiftly. So quick that we both barely noticed the wifi login information. Well, let me rephrase that, I breezed in and out with barely noticing. Miss Print noticed and took note, but unfortunately the wifi proved fruitless. (We found out later on that wifi in the Javits Center was ONLY available for FREE in certain spots, other spots were NOT free).
After registering and picking up our badges, we made our way to the main hall where we were greeted by two very massive lines. One for Starbuck (see picture below as further proof), and one for entrances into the exhibit hall (thankfully, at this point both Miss Print and I had already had our preferred morning beverages, so Starbucks was useless to us).
Let me just say this: I know and fully understand that people need their morning cup of joe. What I don’t know and understand, is the reason for this line. Every morning the Starbucks line grew longer and longer. I hope for all the people who spent time on the (often) massive Starbucks line had the best cup of coffee of their lives.
Waiting patiently on an equally long line, Miss Print and I anxiously chatted and made friends around us. Why? Because when you’re on a line, that’s snaking around the Javits Center at 8:30 in the morning, making friends isn’t only fun, it also helps the time pass by quickly. You and the people around you are at BEA for one reason and one reason alone: a love of books.
But not just a love of books, a love of tote bags as well. This year it was exceptional. It seemed as if every booth passed was handing out tote and reusable bags. At BEA it’s easy to accumulate at least a ten to twelve bags … a day! And speaking of bags, on the first day Putnam was giving out a black and beige tote bag in celebration of their 175 years. Of all the totes given out and collected, this was the one that served me well. It was deep and sturdy, allowing me to cart even more books around.
Once the exhibit floor opened people rushed, buzzed, swarmed around the many publisher’s booths. Opening up the floor doesn’t only mean the chance to pick up some highly anticipated titles, it also means getting to know the people who have a hand in publishing these books. And let me tell you: Miss Print and I got to know some publishers and their BEA booths very well!
Upon arriving we visited some of our favorite booths: Scholastic, Disney-Hyperion, Penguin, Bloomsbury, Abrams, Hachette, Little Brown, etc.. The book giving and grabbing was in full effect. I think it’s safe to say that within a mere ten minutes I had acquired several tote bags (thanks to Putnam for quite possibly the biggest, and best tote bag ever!) and at least two handfuls of books.
But we weren’t only hitting up the booths for goodies, we were also hitting them up for the “drop” schedules. For anyone who hasn’t attended BEA and doesn’t know what “dropping” means I will now explain. At certain times throughout the day certain publishers will “drop” or release highly anticipated ARCS (advanced readers copies) of their titles. For example, at noon on the first day Scholastic was “dropping” The Dream Thieves, Book 2 in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle Series (why yes! I was at the Scholastic booth at noon, and yes I was one of the lucky ones who did scoop up my own copy of The Dream Thieves.)
Let’s talk about these “drops”. They’ve done these in the past, but it seemed this year was slightly different. In years passed the publishers would simply place stacked on the books they were dropping on the floor of their book, or a conveniently located table. This year, people were lining up and publishers were handing the titles out! It was a great system, except when the lines were snaking around what seemed like half of the Javits Center.
After spending some time on the exhibit floor, walking around the booths we made our way to the Autograph area – a section of the Javits Center where we spent a good amount of time during out three days at Book Expo 2013.
Out autograph schedule was pretty full up so it was VERY important to make the most of our time. As always there were plenty of last minute line decisions, as in ‘this line is way too long, and as much as I want to read the book, it may not be a priority,’ or ‘this line is super short, let’s hop on and possibly discover our new favorite book!’.
Day one of my book expo autograph experience consisted of: Kendare Blake (Antigoddes), Dot Hutchinson (A Wounded Name), Diana Peterfreund (Across a Star Swept Sea), Dan Krokos (The Planet Thieves), Cori McCarthy (The Color of Rain), Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (These Broken Stars), Sarah J. Maas (Crown of Midnight), Teri Brown (Born of Illusion), Erin & Philip Stead (If You Want to See a Whale/A Home For Bird), Lauren Myracle (in booth signing for The Infinite Moment of Us), Kami Garcia (in booth signing for Unbreakable), and (the one and only) Oliver Jeffers (in booth for The Day the Crayons Quit).
I was super excited for Lauren Myracle’s upcoming “The Infinite Moment of Us.” I was even more excited to know that she would be doing an in booth signing at Abrams. When Miss Print and I found the line, it was long, but not as long as some other lines we’ve seen earlier that morning. So we hopped on the line, and within a few minutes we had a copy of the book, emblazoned with an “autographed copy” sticker, and a Lauren Myracle’s actual signature! I also had the chance to chit-chat with Lauren (as I told several people on line, she’s awesome!) about life, books, and eyeliner! It was a great convo!
Day two consisted of: Soman Chainani (The School of Good & Evil where I discovered I am a Never!) , Christin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays), Elizabeth Wein (Rose Under Fire), Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl), Alethea Kontis (Hero), V.E. Schwab (Vicious), Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything), Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave)
Lines seemed a bit crazier, a bit more packed on Day 2 of Book Expo. I’m not sure if it was because there were more people being that it was a Friday, or if there were bigger named authors available in the autographing area. Rick Riordan’s line was untouchable, and it didn’t seem to be moving. It was a good think I wasn’t on that line, I had high priority signings: Rainbow Rowell and Victoria Schwab. Rainbow was doing an in booth signing at MacMillan, Victoria was signing in the autographing area. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who really wanted to scoop up Fangirl and Vicious, wasn’t the only one who really wanted to meet these two awesome ladies.
With that said, I found myself on line for Rainbow’s in booth signing a whole hour ahead of time. Yes, I know, that’s crazy. In that hour I could have walked the exhibit floor, I could have possibly waited on an even shorter author’s line in the autographing area. But like I said, this was a high priority for me. And it paid off, Miss Print and I were number two and three in Rainbow’s line. I also discovered that Rainbow and I have the same …. exact…sweater.
At this point I’d like to mention my sweater. A simple beige sweater emblazoned with bright pink seahorses! Not only did I think it was awesome, but almost every single person I met, bumped into, or simply passed commented on it! One publicist even took a picture of it! How awesome is that?! Now, I’m not one to share my fashion secret, but I think I’ll make an exception this time. The seahorse sweater, as I deemed it, is available at your local Target. Yes, you read that right, Target! (that link is a link to the sweater, but not the print. If you click on the sixth box from the left, you will be able to see the Seahorse Sweater in all it’s glory!)
Moving on from the sweater. The second high priority for day two was Victoria Schwab’s line. Showing up an hour early didn’t prove fruitful either. We thought we’d get there early, and be somewhere near the front of the line. We thought wrong. It seem like EVERYONE had that idea.
Victoria’s line was intense. Especially because I was having MAJOR stomach issues that afternoon. Beyond that, there were rumors spreading up and down the line that there weren’t going to be enough books. But no on could confirm or deny these rumors so we waited. As it turned out there wasn’t enough books (sorry to all of those who didn’t get a copy of Vicious). The line was cut off just a few people behind us.
Day Three Consisted of: Alexandra Bracken (Never Fade PLUS an AWESOME tote bag!), Dan Krokos (False Sight), Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling), Romily Bernard (Find Me), Sarah Dessen (The Moon and More), Jan Brett (in booth for Cinders), Rachel Carter (The Strange and Familiar Place), and Robin Wasserman (in booth for The Waking Dark)
Oh, and let me NOT forget my most favorite picture of all:
(Yes! That’s me and the One and Only Oliver Jeffers!)
BEA wasn’t only about the books, it was also about the people who love said books. Besides the many (many) fantastic and talented authors I had the opportunity to meet and chat with, I also met a lot of fellow bloggers. On Saturday Miss Print and I met up with a fellow blogger and friend which we met at last year’s BEA – Cecelia from Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia! She’s awesome, and so is her blog, so you should check it out!
Everyone I met at BEA was awesome! Well, that is except the people who nearly bit my head off just because they wrongly assumed I was cutting the line, when in reality, I just wanted to ask a simple question. You who nearly bit off my head, you know who you are :glares: Anyway, back to the awesome people, quite possibly the rock stars of BEA2o13 – the volunteers who made sure all of our signing experiences where smooth and enjoyable. The volunteers rocked! They were informed, they were on top of their game, and above all they really made sure the lines went as quickly and as smoothly as they possibly could!
BEA 2013 was a real success. I had a great time – not only meeting some talented authors – but also getting the chance to see what’s in store for the future of books! There are some great things happening in the book world, and I overjoyed that I got to take part in a small piece of it.
(All of the photos featured in this blog post were taken by me! Please don’t steal them. Stealing isn’t nice! Photo collages were created at PicMonkey)