Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Sunday Salon -- BEA Prep

This is not my first year to attend Book Expo America, I attended last year when it was much closer to me here in Southern California! At the time, everyone I talked to gave me a very puzzled look when I explained I was a book blogger. I'm looking forward to this year when it seems that book bloggers are taking over the show!

Anyway, I've had some questions, so I'm going to share my experience with you...feel free to do with it what you like.

I dressed business casual for the event last year and was pleased with this choice. It must be remembered that BEA is not a fun conference, it is a business conference (that just so happens to be loads of fun!). I really can't remember seeing anyone in jeans, but that doesn't mean they weren't. I just know that I would have been uncomfortable in them. I am all about blending in!

What Should I do with All my Books?
Yes, you will get books. Publishers will have ARCs (advance reading copies) and even some finished copies of books that they are promoting. Same rule of thumb applies as to reviewing, try to take only what you are interested in reading so that others can have some, too! :) There's also some swag, such as tote bags, buttons, stickers, notepads, etc. There will be a shipping area available, you might want to snag some boxes to unload your books in. I'm less knowledgeable on this particular part of it, b/c I just dumped my books in my car last year.

Signings happen in two areas, the main autographing area and in booth. In the main autographing area, there are little boxes out for a dollar donation. I have no idea if you're supposed to give a dollar for every signing I didn't really see anyone do that. But in any case, they will have some big name authors there signing and the biggest names require a ticket. Hence the reason so many of us are getting up early on Friday to try to get tickets for Suzanne Collins' signing of the Catching Fire ARC. But last year, I was also able to easily go from line to line and get several autographs in a time slot. One thing to keep in mind is that you will receive the book at the signing. Do not bring your books from home. The authors are busy and only have time to sign one book for you and they will be giving you that book. The schedule will change unfortunately, some authors you may be hoping to see may have to cancel and be replaced. Just be aware! But the cool thing is that you may stumble on some great authors you weren't expecting! I saw Anne Rice that way! (but I had to stand in line with a creepy guy that wrote p0rn for college kids--no not exactly sure what that is either--and he had no idea what a blog was)

Last year the workers at the convention center went on strike. During BEA. So this is my piece of advice. BRING SNACKS. Bring food you can eat quickly on the run. You don't want to waste any of the precious minutes you could be chatting with authors standing in line for overpriced food. Plan big dinners and plan to eat light during the day!

Other Stuff
If there are still tickets available, I recommend the author breakfasts. They happen before BEA really opens and it's a chance to actually hear from the authors. I didn't buy food this year because last year I felt really ripped off when breakfast was nothing more than a 15 dollar bagel and glass of orange juice. I know a lot of other people didn't on my recommendation and I hope they aren't mad at me!

I also think this is a great post about the don'ts of networking!

Wanna Meet Me?

I want to meet you! I'll be signing at the Firebrand booth on Friday from 4:00-5:00. Please stop by! Also, on Saturday I'll be on the panel about book blogging at 2:00 p.m. in room 1E15. Look forward to seeing you there!

Not Going to BEA?

You can still catch the Book Bloggers Panel by calling into Blog Talk Radio! Make sure to do it in Eastern time...2 PM!

Also, Rebecca of The Book Lady's Blog is putting together a fantastic BEA Pity Party for those who can't attend. It will be held on Twitter and have giveaways and everything! It will be held at the same time as the BEAtweetup, so should be lots of fun!

So...if you are going to BEA, what are you most looking forward to? If you aren't going to BEA, what do you most want for us bloggers to share with you about the experience?



Hagelrat said...

I'd love to attend something like this, I suppose they must do some in the UK somewhere.

Lenore said...

Great advice for first time attedees like me. I've been to the Frankfurt Book Fair a ton of times, but it is a rights fair and I've heard the atmosphere is very different. And we never have the wealth of authors that BEA has!

Can't wait to meet you, but you know that already :)

Charley said...

Hmm, I think my boss will be there somewhere.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

This will be my first BEA, but the set up reminds me of Comic Con that I went to which was also at the same venue as BEA is. Amy, how many books did you leave with? I had a friend that picked up 70. I assume bringing a big bag is a must.
Can't wait to meet you!

Alea said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I'm packing right now and was unsure about dress and also good tips for the food. I'm going to email myself this post so I can hopefully read it again Thursday as a refresher! See you there!

bermudaonion said...

Great post, Amy! I'm really looking forward to meeting people - bloggers, authors and publicists!

The Tome Traveller said...

Thanks for this great post Amy! It is going to be such fun, can't wait to meet you!


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Thanks Amy for a great post! There were a couple bloggers yesterday on Twitter talking about going shopping this weekend to pick up books to get signed. I didn't know if I should have interuppted and told them they shouldn't bring them. I still have to finalize my outfits but think I was on the right track. Unfortunately, my comfy shoes are not going to match my clothes. Oh well.

Alea said...

Same here Natasha nice pants and sneakers.... lol what are you gonna do you know! Ha! Yeah and that is good to know about the books, I'm bring some for an author carnival I'm going to earlier in the week but two of the authors will also be at BEA if I miss them there so it's good to know if I don't catch them the first time to just leave them at home!

Literary Feline said...

I hope you have a great time, Amy. It sounds like there will be quite a number of other bloggers there. I can't wait to read everyone's experiences of the event. It's too bad the Book Bloggers Panel is right smack dab in the middle of my work day. :-( I won't be able to catch it. I do wish you a wonderful time.

Marie Burton said...

speaking from a blogger who really wishes she can be there but can't be.. (I am in TX, & I don't plan on visiting NY anytime soon... )
I would just like to get the word out that Book Bloggers are here to stay! And despite that Avon Books post, we are a force to be reckoned with. Nope we may not sell books per blog, but as a whole we definitely get the word out. And for those readers who read a specific genre that they are passionate about, such as Historical Fiction, I feel that reviews via blogs are the best publicity for them.
Somehow the bigwigs need to be made aware of that in their marketing dept. and they can help support themselves and the bloggers by sponsoring more giveaways!! (hee hee)

Monica @ Monniblog said...

BookExpo Canada got cancelled due to a lot of big publishers pulling out. This sucks for us at work since we plan a book & magazine fair and that was the best place that our programming director could network. Ugh. Have fun at BEA anyway, and remember it IS a business conference (as you mentioned).

Ti said...

I'm not going this year but this was a great post. Lots of good info. You are going to have such an awesome time!

S. Krishna said...

Even though I'm not going, this was an interesting post! Thanks!

BookClubGirl said...

I can't wait to meet you and all the bloggers Amy! And for those who can't listen to the panel live, don't worry, you can listen to it at any time after it airs.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

Even though I am not going to BEA, I enjoyed reading this post. I think that sharing anything that you find interesting as a blogger will be helpful for us. I am very curious how the reception will be for you guys at the bloggers panel. I would love to attend something like this and will consider attending next year.

Britt said...

I'm so jealous! :D

Priya said...

Lucky! And Suzanne Collins is giving away copies of Catching Fire?!?!

Angiegirl said...

All good info. Thank you! I'm so excited.

lilly said...

Awesome post Amy! Thanks for all the tips, they are definitely very useful for a person like myself who has not been to BEA yet and it'll be my first.
I am definitely meeting you there because it would be a shame if I didn't since that might just be the only opportunity considering we live on two end of the U.S., you in CA and me in NY.
It'll be fun, I can't wait.

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