Today, I am super excited to have Audrey, who blogs at Bibliosaurus Text stop by for a guest post.
I just recently discovered Audrey and her blog Bibliosaurus Text through my hosting Mailbox Monday’s last month. If you haven’t checked Audrey’s blog you should hop on over and check it out.
Audrey will be attending BEA this year and I am excited to meet her there. She was willing to do a guest post for me today about BEA and the Top 5 Things she learned from attending.
So, please help me welcome Audrey to Cindy’s Love of Books.
This will be my second year attending, even though I’m only going to be there for a day and a half this year. I remember getting ready for it last year, and feeling the pangs of nervousness and anticipation in my tummy. I really had no idea what to expect. Luckily, awesome bloggers took the time to post tips and past experiences online, which really helped me to prepare.
In order to do my part to help this year’s new attendees, here are five things I learned at BEA last year:
1) Go with some books in mind that you absolutely want to get, but also be open to everything else.
|This is a made up list of books.|
Last year, I spent a lot of time planning all of the signings and talks I wanted to attend. There were certain books I’d heard of, and I was convinced I knew what ARCs I’d be coming home with. I did manage to snag some of my most coveted, like Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath; however, there were some that just didn’t happen. For example, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. This book was HYPED. I went to see Michelle Hodkin interviewed, and she looked at the small box of ARCs, and then at the audience, and there were at least three times more people patiently waiting than she had ARCs for. I didn’t get one. (I did get an awesome Mara Dyer shirt, though, and it actually fits great!)
However, I wound up picking up a ton of great books at BEA that I had never before heard of, and didn’t expect. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think you should get everything offered to you. In fact, don’t do that. A lot of books won’t be a good fit for you, and should go to somebody who will potentially appreciate and promote them. But we know what kinds of books we generally like, right? And those are marketed a certain way. Check out the blurb, talk to the author or the publisher representative, and you may be very pleasantly surprised.
2) For the sake of all that is good, MAIL YOUR BOOKS!
Last year, I was there for all three days. I thought I was smart. I had a small rolling suitcase to leave at the Javitz during the day for drop-offs, and a really big rolling one to help me get everything home. Since I was taking the train, I had far less luggage restrictions than those who fly. At the end of day 3, though, I had a lot of books. It was about 80 books all together. Which is a lot of books. I was determined to mail the books. I nearly did not make it to the post office. No joke. I’m not the world’s strongest girl, and I’m only about 5’2”. To compound things, BEA last year coincided with a period when I was undergoing physical therapy for problems with my neck and shoulders (cataloger strain, or something like that). Carrying those books probably put me back weeks’ worth of physical therapy sessions.
I struggled like an idiot to get those books and suitcases into the post office. Multiple bums offered to help me along the way. A man who had also attended BEA actually did help me at the post office. It was embarrassing, physically damaging, and something I never want to go through again. Moral of the story: mail some books after each day if you can. Media rate is the cheapest, and actually quite affordable. Don’t injure your body and your pride like I did!
3) Make some friends, preferably before you go.
I had only been blogging for five months when I went to BEA last year. I didn’t really know anybody, although I knew who people were. I was a lone girl in New York for only the second time in my life. All around me, other bloggers had friends. I’d see people texting back and forth when there was a publisher putting out new ARCs, or hanging out together in lines and having a great time. While I’m not the world’s shyest person, it took a lot to put myself out there. I felt kind of left out, and was scheming about how much more fun I’d have been having if I were there with a pal.
(Most recent photograph of me, at work)
This year, I’m ready. I’ve been blogging longer, and tweeting back and forth with people, so I can put names to faces and feel like we have enough of an online rapport that I won’t feel like an internet stalker when I say hi. I’m especially excited to finally meet, in person, Hannah from The Irish Banana Review , Christina from A Reader of Fictions, and Julia from Rex Robot Reviews!
And by all means, if you see me and recognize me, come introduce yourself! I’m nice, I promise 🙂
4) Come prepared to Javitz.
Okay, so that sounds really generic. But that’s the best way I can put it. You’re going to be on your feet all day, carrying heavy books. The time will fly by, to be sure, but don’t exhaust yourself to the point that you can’t go do fun things after hours. Keep in mind, food at the Javitz is absurdly expensive. It’s like airport food prices combined with Disneyland prices. I think a cheap ice cream was around $7 or $8 last year. You don’t even want to know about the water or real food. The best option for me was to pack some Cliff bars and a bottle of water. Also, hunt around for food! Sometimes publishers will have treats to promote books. I even got a beer at one point last year from a publisher promoting a book about beer. Just have some stuff in your bag to get you through the main part of the day, then feast on the foods of New York City afterward.
Also, comfy shoes are an absolute must. Don’t wear brand new shoes that are not broken in. Don’t wear heels! When you’re weighed down with 20+ lbs of books, it’s all too easy to fall. Trust me, I did it at ALA in New Orleans last year on my way to the post office with all of my books. I was a bloody mess, partly because I was wearing the wrong shoes.
(The result of carrying too many books while wearing strappy sandals)
Also, I thinking checking in a rolling bag each day is a must. It was for me. Books hurt when you’re schleping them all day, and it was such a relief to have somewhere to unload them. I don’t recommend leaving them in a box in the FedEx or UPS, or whatever it was, room downstairs. You can’t trust people. One girl had ALL of her books stolen from there. Better to have a bag that is tagged as yours.
5) It’s always better to be early than late.
You’re going to be competing with a lot of people for author signings. If you want to go to a ticketed event, you need to arrive quite early to get your tickets. If it’s high demand (and if it has a ticket, it is), plan on trying to get your ticket at least an hour or hour and a half before the daily exhibits open.
For author signings in the signing area, I quickly realized that it’s best to get in line around 45 minutes or so before the signing for the popular ones. That way, you can be toward the front of the line, and you’ll have a chance to either go to a second, less popular signing afterward, or get into another line. Also, you want to get a good spot in line because they can run out of books. This happened to me a few times last year. Not fun, and a waste of your valuable time!
I hope these tips are helpful, and don’t repeat too much of what is already out there, although I suspect they might. These were honestly the biggest take-aways I had from going to BEA last year.
The final thing: have a great time! Not everybody gets to experience this, and it’s absolutely invigorating and inspiring.
May the odds be ever in your favor (when going for the coveted books!).
(Books from BEA!)
Are you going to be at BEA? Please let me know and I will look for you around BEA. See you soon 🙂
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