Nicole & Emma’s Five Tips for Book Expo America (BEA)

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Hello Readers!

It’s that time again. The weather is suddenly warmer. The birds are cheerily chirping. And Book Expo America is right around the corner!

For the past three years fellow blogger and in real life BFF Miss Print and I have taken the Jacob Javits Center by storm (along with hundreds of others) for Book Expo America, or BEA for short. BEA is a trade show  that gives all of us bookish-folk the chance to, not only meet some really great authors and industry people – but the chance to preview some of the hot new books that are coming out this season. It’s a really great chance to network with authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers. It’s a good chance to meet new people and quite possibly your next favorite author/book.

So with three years already under out belts, Miss Print and I thought it would be fun to pass along some of our BEA knowledge to all of you BEA newcomers.

After brainstorming a bit, Miss Print came up with a great concept: instead of going into long drawn out explanations, we’d answer five basic questions, and then we’d open it up to discussion. So please dear readers, if you have questions please feel free to leave comments asking – either here on The BookBandit Blog or on Miss Print’s blog. We’re excited to answer all of your burning BEA questions!

1. What should I bring to the Javits Center?

There are some key items, I feel, all BEA attendees should bring with them. Firstly, some sort of rolling suitcase. It doesn’t have to be huge, I found that a small one is sufficient for me. Miss Print and I made the mistake of only bringing re-usable tote bags with us. And even though they technically got the job of carrying and carting our books around, it was too heavy.  Besides a small rolling suitcase, I would suggest a small snack or tw that you can easily carry with you in your purse. Depending on how you plan your day,   lunch time may not come until late afternoon. If you could last long periods of time without food, than you may not need snacks. Besides snacks you may want to bring a bottle of water. I’ve brought one with me for the past few years, but personally have decided not to this year because I didn’t drink it. If you don’t feel like bringing snacks or water, fear not. There are food vendors all over the Javits Center – from coffee to ice cream.

There are some other basics that I feel are important to bring: cash. If you’re stuck on a line and you’re dying of thirst but didn’t bring that bottle of water, you’ll need a few bucks to purchase a drink from one of the many kiosks. A portable charger for your cell phone. For the past few years I did not have this handy gadget, and by the end of day my cell phone was dead 😦 . With a portable cell phone charger you’re cell phone will have a bit more of a boost. Business card saying who you are and what you do. They are good to hand out, not only to publishers but also the many people you will meet there.

2. What should I wear?

Remember that Book Expo America is a professional trade show. I say dress business casual with a comfortable flair. In the past I’ve worn skirts and dresses with a comfy pair of flats. Still, if you’re not a skirt/dress wearer pants will also work.  And when I say pants I don’t mean sweat pants or hole-y jeans. If you do want to wear jeans, I suggest a brightly colored pair topped with a pretty blouse/shirt. Above all things though, you should wear a comfortable pair of shoes. More than likely, you’ll be at the Javits Center all day, and more than likely you will be walking the floor and standing on one of the many author autographing lines, so be prepared to stand for the better part of the day. You’ll appreciate those comfy shoes, believe me.

3. How should I plan my day?

My suggestion is to prioritize. Find out what is important to you – walking the floor and picking up ARCs, meeting some of your favorite authors by hanging around the author autographing area, of taking part in one of the many sessions. Once you figure that out, time your day based upon that. However, if you are going with another person or a group of people, it’s important to compromise: there will be things/events that you will want to go to, but that other person or persons may not want to. Compromise, and if you really cannot, be okay with splitting and meeting up.

Beyond that, take advantage of BEA14’s mobile app.  It’s a free download that will come in handy. Especially in keeping track of everything that is going on.

4. What should I expect?

Expect books. And I don’t mean one or two of them. Expect a small rolling suitcase filled. Expect to meet fellow bloggers, librarians, publishers,  colleagues. Expect that you will be tired after just a day at BEA. And if you’re going for all three days, expect to be exhausted. Expect to take advantage of the bag check area (you’ll want to drop off books several times a day so you’re not carting them all around with you). Expect to change your schedule several times a day. And finally expect to have a great experience at BEA14.

5. What’s the one thing everyone should remember when planning BEA?

Remember to go with the flow.

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