BEA 2013: The Experience

book-expo-americaI’m not even sure where to begin. For two days, I experienced Book Expo America in New York City. It was overwhelming, crazy, confusing, amazing, and fun.

So let me begin with this: I would do it again.

I would definitely do things a bit differently, but I am happy overall with how I did.


bea snooki

Snooki and me

The bus Thursday morning was running late after both traffic getting into the city and a pretty heinous accident in New Castle County, Delaware. I was originally scheduled to arrive in NYC at 9:45 but arrived around 10:45. That meant that I lost an entire hour of things I had planned to do. I came prepared with Excel printouts filled with my top picks of events, giveaways, and signings, with one top item for every hour. I followed that schedule as much as I could Thursday, which meant I got to do quite a bit.

  • I took a picture with Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and she signed a sampler of her book, Baby Bumps. I have never watched Jersey Shore, but I wanted to see someone I had seen and heard a lot of. She was very put together and well spoken, which made me think that a lot of what people saw on the Jersey Shore was a character, and not her.
  • I was probably a lot less selective about what books I grabbed the first day. When people are grabbing at books, it’s hard to not to feel like it’s not something you should get too. And people aren’t kidding when they say that BEA is heaven for book lovers. What do you mean all these books are free? I want them all! I’d list which books I got the first day but they are in the mail. I shipped the books home from the FedEx in the Javits Center because I was simply too tired to walk to the USPS office. I accidentally shipped my schedules though, so I was without them for Friday.
  • I got Foreign Gods by Okey Ndibe, who is being touted as a colleague of Chinua Achebe of Things Fall Apart. I explained that I am both a book blogger and a book club leader and he offered that if I let him know with enough time in advance he could come to a book club meeting. It was such a generous offer and I hope to take him up on it.
  • As overwhelming as everything was, I found myself wandering around a lot. And after a few laps without a real purpose or being too shy to really go up and talk to people, that is when it started feeling underwhelming. I realized I had begun focusing too much on the books and the excitement instead of remembering the people.
  • I got a Harry Potter poster of the redesigned cover art for the first book signed by the illustrator. Apparently, he had been given the option to also redo the inside art for each of the chapters but he decided to leave them alone. Good decision!

Rick Riordan shirt


bea schawb

V.E. Schwab and me

Friday started out on time for me, but I forgot things in my hotel room so that was a bit stressful. I ended up not quite following a set schedule but still somehow managed to be more strategic about which events I attended.

  • I attended the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast. It was really cool to hear Mary Pope Osborne and Rick Riordan. Octavia Spencer did a great job being the master of ceremonies. Veronica Roth was extraordinarily nervous. It made me feel embarrassed for her. We got Randi Rhodes: Ninja Detective, a paperback copy of Divergent, a Magic Treehouse mug, and a t-shirt from Riordan’s series.
  • I also got to meet V.E. Schwab and her Tor editor, Miriam, while in line for Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. It was great talking with them. I feel like I learned a lot. In fact, if you really want to time with an awesome author, line up with them. You get so much more time than in the quick passing at a signing. I got the opportunity to ask them both questions, about how Ms. Schwab got into writing, how Miriam started with Tor, and more. I later got to see them both again at Ms. Schwab’s signing for Vicious. The book has such a great reception that they actually had to cut the line off!
  • I met a few other bloggers while in line and overall I think I did better with talking to people. I can just be struck with shyness sometimes and I still feel like I didn’t do near enough networking like I really wanted to. I think that is something that I would definitely like to do differently next time. Those that got my little playing cards really liked them. I think that they definitely stood out in a sea of business cards.
  • I used my Front of the Line pass to see Cassandra Clare. I got a ticket to see through Stephanie from Cover2Cover blog. It was almost funny how many of us used our Front of the Line passes for her. I am not a huge fan of Ms. Clare but I really had had enough of standing lines at that point. My shoes worked out really well; no blisters, just general soreness. Ms. Clare’s outfit truly was something.

    bea clare

    Cassandra Clare

  • After Clare’s signing, I still had about an hour to kill before I needed to go catch the bus, so I sat in on the Publishing Hackathon. It was really cool! These whiz kids had created teams and in a really short amount of time developed programs to combine technology with books. The winning one was called Evoke. The way I would describe it is almost a Pinterest board for book characters that users can help add to. Then it gives you a web connecting a character with similar characters from different books to help users discover new books. Some of the other programs dealt with geographical areas, using GPS or allowing users to search a specific city for stories that take place there, another one that would use your browsing history to recommend books, one that would use real-time social media updates to recommend books, and another one that encouraged people to judge books by their covers. The judges were various important people from investors, authors, and the co-founder of Reddit. They asked the teams really good questions that totally made sense once they were asked but were not ones that I would have thought to ask.
  • The bus was over an hour late. I ended up getting home quite a bit later than I had originally planned. I was tired, sweaty, and stinky. But I am happy that I went!
bea day 2

Books from Friday

I will explain which books I got in detail once my big package from Thursday arrives! Did we meet at BEA? What were your favorite parts of BEA or of Armchair BEA?


6 thoughts on “BEA 2013: The Experience

    • Thank you, I’d love that! I still have your handout…I was thinking about that crazy line for Ms. Schwab! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your BEA!

    • hahaha I’ll be honest, I really only ended up there by accident. A good accident, but definitely an accident. I don’t think I was the only one there just to sit down, but I did feel like the majority of people knew a lot more technology and fancy science stuff than me. 😛

  1. SAME! Do it a little differently for sure, but absolutely must repeat this experience! I was a little less selective the first day, too, because I knew I could share with my co-workers…and then the space those books needed! LOL. I did try to look at summaries for things I’d never heard of, though! That sucks about shipping your schedule! Did you have the BEA app,a t least? The Children’s Breakfast was one of my favorite things about BEA! Veronica WAS nervous, wasn’t she? Rick was AMAZING, though. Love! I really wanted to wait for Holly Black, but the line was crazzzzy. So glad it’s up on Edelweiss! It’s so cool that you were in line with Victoria and her editor! Nice! I can be very shy, too, and I tried, but it still took over a lot this past week!

    • Yeah, the first day I definitely fell for all the marketing! I just got the big box of books yesterday, and while there are maybe 2 that I’m questioning my decision to get them, I think overall I’m pleased with what I got. I did have the BEA app but it really didn’t work well for me. In fact, any of the messages it pushed out to me wouldn’t work for me to view them.

      I lucked out with Holly Black because I was actually just joining the Richelle Mead line when someone else mentioned that it would probably be a good time to start lining for Holly Black. I made a quick decision that I’d rather see/get the signature of Holly Black than Richelle Mead and line jumped.

      I think next year, I’ll have like a little pitch worked out in advance to help break the ice and improve my networking. 🙂

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