Although it's a bit late, I am finally getting around to posting about my experiences going to my FIRST Book Expo America event EVER. I went for the children's book day only, which was on Wednesday, June 6th.
I just have 2 words to describe it: EXCITING, and CRAZY.
First, for those of you who don't know what Book Expo America, or BEA, is all about, here's a quick description:
BEA is the largest annual book trade fair in the USA. Book publishers use BEA to tell librarians, book sellers and buyers, and basically anyone involved with or who loves books about their upcoming titles. You can find out information about them here: http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/.
Before I let everyone know of my first experience there, I want to share the lessons I've learned this time around so that hopefully anyone who is thinking of going next year will have a great experience there. Not that I didn't have one, but I think it would have been much easier if I had done these few things:
1. Bring a decent camera. All I packed with me was my little junk phone, which is one of those old flip phone jobs. Although it DOES take pictures, it doesn't take very good ones, as you'll soon discover when you see them. You'll want to take lots of pictures there, because there are lots of authors floating around to meet, talk to, gets books from, and get autographs from.
2. Bring a lunch and lots of water. I did pack some snacks and ONE bottle of water. The water went FAST. The snacks? Well, the snacks were in the same bag as the one I started cramming books into. So you can imagine what they looked like when I got a chance to eat them. So a simple lunch, preferably one that doesn't need refrigeration, is key. And snacks. Durable ones. And lots of water. Which brings me to my next lesson learned...
3. Bring BAGS! Lots and lots of bags. So how many did I bring, you ask? I brought TWO. One of them was a plastic bag which had the aforementioned snacks in it. The plastic bag didn't last long once I started putting books in it. I also had a cloth bag my sister in law, who attended BEA with me, gave me, but one cloth bag wasn't enough to hold all the books I wanted to bring home. Fortunately I aquired another cloth bag at the author breakfast I went to Wednesday morning. Someone suggested to me that I bring suitcases next time, check them in the baggage check in area, and then as I fill up the bags I am carrying (and I'd bring at least two bags you can carry easily and that are durable), I can dump the books into the suitcases and then fill up on more books.
4. Check the itinerary carefully. Planning my attack would've helped me find out things that I either missed or found out about too late. I did a little planning, but I still wound up missing a couple things I REALY wanted to check out. BEA is huge, so you're bound to miss something anyway. It's inevitable. But I'd do as much planning as you possibly can before you get there.
5. Go for the whole conference. I could only take one day out of work, so I could only go for the children's author day on Wednesday this year. It was very hectic traveling to New York City, going to BEA for one day, then trying to drive back home and get some decent sleep to go back to work the next day. Also, there is so much going on, as I said earlier, that you don't want to miss anything. For instance, if I had stayed for Thursday, I would've been able to see Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, and that's one person you don't want to miss.
So there are my lessons learned. Now, on to the fun stuff.
Like, the books!
OK, so in addition to my camera having not so good pictures on it, it appears that my USB adapter that I plug my phone memory card into isn't working either. *sigh* I'll have to post all my pics another time.
For now, though, I'll say that I managed to bring home a bunch of books, ARCs or partial ARCs from BEA this year. An ARC, for those who don't know, is an Advanced Reader Copy. Just about all the books I have from BEA are books that aren't even out yet, which is definitely exciting because I get to read them before most other people do. And I will, of course, in the good spirit of a BEA attendee, be reviewing all those books. I'll most likely post my reviews on Goodreads, since I want to reserve this blog for my own writing experiences. If you're not on Goodreads, I'd definitely recommend it. You can connect with other readers, get reader reviews of books, and connect with the authors themselves. When I post a review of one of my ARCs, I'll leave a link here so followers of my blogs can check them out. For now, head on over to http://www.goodreads.com/ and create an account there.
One last thing. Just to show how awesome the BEA experience was, here are some of the authors I saw while I was there, and their new books:
Lois Lowry - Son (last book in The Giver series)
Chris Colfer - The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Eoin Colfer - Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian (last book in the Artemis Fowl series)
John Green - The Fault in Our Stars
Maureen Johnson - The Name of the Star
Mo Willems - The Duckling Gets a Cookie
R. L. Stine - Goosebumps Wanted: The Haunted Mask
Just to name a few.
OK, signing off for now. I'll try not to be a stranger. Look for my book reviews soon. I've already finished Chris Colfer's The Land of Stories and the partial of Kevin J. Anderson's Clockwork Angels, so I'll be putting up those reviews on Goodreads shortly.