Sunday, May 30, 2010

5 Impressions from BookExpo America

I spent the past ten days in New York City, a few days to work on business and several days to enjoy Book Expo America, and the Book Blogger Convention.

The entire time was dizzingly busy (except for that day I took to sleep), emotional (well you know, LOST ended during that time!) and wonderful. So much happened, that I thought the best way to share some of it with you would be to condense my thoughts and feelings into 5 main points.

It's All About People
The highlight by far, for me, was meeting and seeing so many people I love. I was finally able to meet Beth Kephart (thought I feel like we barely got a chance to speak and my brain was scattered with exhaustion when we did.) She is every bit as wonderful as I suspected and on our panel at the Book Blogger Convention, I felt quite clumsy in all my responses compared to her wise and gracious ones!

I also got to meet bloggers I have long admired, such as Angie from Angieville who is exactly as cool as you would think, Ana from the Book Smugglers who is as adorable and fun loving as she seems, and Wendy from CaribousMom who is just as smart and nice as she comes across on her blog. I was also thrilled to discover that authors like Heidi Kling and Diana Peterfreund are just as nice in real life as on Twitter.

And of course, I got to see old friends, Lenore, Nicole, Natasha, Deborah, Jen, Jenn, Swapna, and more. Additionally, I was so glad to have the chance to meet publicists I've worked with for a long time, like Paul Samuelson of Sourcebooks, Erica Barmash of Harper Perennial, and the adorable and lovely Caitlin Summie of Unbridled Books.

Seeing friends is what makes BEA such a fantastic time. We all love books and most of us love books in a way that's a little lonely. It's so much fun to be able to share our enthusiasm in a group!

Books, Books, Books
Let's not kid ourselves, though! Books are a huge part of BEA! It was endless fun to visit several publishing houses throughout the week as well as all of the author signings and books being given away on the exhibition floor. I picked up several titles I'm excited about and I'll highlight a few in a later post. I mailed home probably over 100 pounds of books. Yes, I know, I get it, I'm insane.

Book Bloggers are Hot
This is my third BEA, and the first year I feel like everyone really gets book bloggers. The first year I attended BEA (the last time it was in Los Angeles, sob!) very few people had a concept of what book blogging is. This year, I think they were overwhelmed with book bloggers. Harper hosted a reception for book bloggers, Unbridled had breakfast for us one day, and the Author/Blogger reception that was a part of the Book Blogger Convention was packed. I had people stopping me to discuss what I reviewed on my blog which pretty much shocked me, as there were hundreds of book bloggers at BEA this year and I thought the poor people at the booths seemed a little worn out!

BEA Needs to Charge Less for Booth Space
Or something. They condensed two floors onto one floor this year and it was crowded and I'm pretty sure, a huge fire hazard. They moved the autographing area to the main floor and when you have huge names and celebrity authors this is not such a great idea. In fact, it was at times really miserable!

I am More Interested in Hearing from Regular Authors than Celebrity Authors
I attended the breakfasts both days, and the children's breakfast was fantastic. Cory Doctorow made excellent points about YA literature and made me all teary, Mitali Perkins was EVERY bit as fantastic as I've been imagining and gave a wonderful heartfelt talk, and Richard Peck made me laugh. But the adult author breakfast was less interesting to me. I thought Jon Stewart tried too hard with the humor (the muffin bucket joke was funny at first, no need to go on about it), Condoleezza Rice was pretty fantastic, and Mary Roach quite funny, but this was the least interesting of all the author breakfasts I've been to at BEA. I really doubt anyone will ever top Dennis LeHane and Azar Nafisi, though.

So there you have it! A few side things...New York City is so expensive I was longing for Southern California, I got to meet authors Tess Gerritsen and Laura Joh Rowland--both of whom I have loved for a long time, Howard Gordon (of 24 fame) wrote a book and is SUPER nice, and it's INCREDIBLY difficult to carry 40 pounds of books down 5 flights of stairs.

So....what did you do while I was gone?


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