Their definition: BEA: Book Expo Of America – an event that takes place yearly for book sellers, media, and publishing houses and authors all to mingle together in promoting books that will be coming out yet this year and possibly next spring.
My definition: Heaven for Book Lovers. ♥
I remember that June day in 2009… I received my first comment on what I referred to at the time as my online book journal and I was stunned. How did they find me? Was it spam? It had to be spam! Yes I would click on the link in their name and I would certainly go to a site that would be horrifying inappropriate and probably virus my computer to a fast yet complete death.
I clicked the link anyway….
This moment in June turned my world around forever. I discovered there were others out there like me… book lovers who loved to write reviews, lots of them…. thousands of them…. how silly of me to think I was the only one.
And that my friends is what led to going from online connections with book lovers, to four years ago taking a plane to New York to meet some of these amazing reviewers in person.
My life has never been the same.
If you are new to attending BEA, congratulations! You just found the ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the key to the Emerald City of Oz, the magic carpet of Aladdin, the platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Crossing.
However – that first time can be nerve-racking. How do you get to the expo? When should you check in? What happens when you get there? Should I take every book offered me? What should I pack? How do I get the books home without breaking into my life savings? How do I find other book bloggers? What should I wear? Where should I eat? …
Today, I am going to share with you my years of trial and yeah… error. Yet thanks to book bloggers who helped me that first year with similar posts… my trip was a lot more organized and successful than it would have been if I had just gone all solo.
Shall we begin? Hop aboard!
So you are going to BEA…. What To Pack?
The expo is AWESOME! This is a chance to not only meet other book bloggers such as yourself, but its also a chance to meet the wonderful Publishing Houses who send you the books to review as well as some of the AMAZING authors who write those books. That said, you should pack and plan to wear to the expo business casual wear. Capri’s, nice shirts, lite skirts, and nice pants/ dressy jeans. Remember – you are representing your blog. You can plan on more casual wear for your afternoon exploring.
Of course… pack comfy shoes. That is one thing you will hear time and again. You may be used to walking in heals but this is a whole new level. You will literally walk for hours at the expo, stand in lines for book signings, stand while you grab a quick bite to eat (if you stay at the expo to eat seating is very limited – more on that later), you will walk to and from events and many times stand at that event. Trust me… you will be thankful you packed comfy shoes.
Sunglasses, a light jacket/sweater, CAMERA, charger, sunscreen….
Flat boxes and shipping tape. If you have room in your suitcase flatten out a box to haul books in. The box is optional – the shipping tape I would say is not. Toss in a roll or two… trust me – when we get to the book shipping section you will understand.
You are in New York and in your hotel. Now what?
Ha. I used this picture last year but it still reminds me of myself year one. You have made it to New York. Congratulations my friend – mental high-five! But now you need to know how to get to the expo.
Every year I have stayed in the vicinity on Times Square and every year I have walked to the Expo and back. I can experience and see so much more by walking then by whizzing by in a taxi. Of course that is my preference… and of course, I am close enough to do that.
SO for starters, find out where you are and where that is to the Expo. See if your hotel has a shuttle… or check out the subway schedules. Basically secure your plan for Expo days.
If you have arrived a day or two earlier than the expo… explore a little. New York has so much to see… there are wonderful shows playing, great places to eat (a fav of mine is Yum Yum… just a few blocks from my hotel and oh so good!), exhibits to see and over all just fun to explore!
Day 1…. The Expo!!!!
Mmmmm Hmmmmm. There it is. The Javits Center in all of its glory. I get up early. I walk a few blocks to a Dunkin Donut and get a BIG coffee. Yes they have a Starbucks in the Javits, however the line is like people have not had caffeine in a month.
So first off…. you go in and get your badge. Go early – get in line… get the badge. The badge is the ticket to get you into the expo. You will need this every day… this is, your magic ticket to all things BEA.
Next up… the waiting game. I personally like to go early – it’s a time to people watch. The first year I went I waited in a long line and when the doors opened (hours later….) I was shoved in with the crowd into a table and handed a book. It was… weird. Second year… I was smarter. I avoided that line like the plague. I hung out still… but talked with people, walked around and after that initial surge of people went in… I casually walked in, not pushed… just taking my own sweet time and seeing what I want to see.
What you are about to experience is amazing. I still struggle to put it into words. There are books – EVERYWHERE. And many are there for you to take…. which leads me to my next point… and this one is important…
Oh The Expo! Oh The Books! Book Blogger Etiquette!
Yes the Expo is fantastic for those of us who love love love books. Yes, I did refer to it as Heaven for book lovers. And yes, I too get excited about all the books, all the authors, all the opportunities to come home with enough reading to last you the year… and that is where I ask you to think before you take.
I know, this may go against your very nature of going to the expo. I know this might just have me knocked off your “bloggers I wish to follow list”…. but before you delete me…. hear me out. My second year at the expo I, as well as many of the book bloggers I admire, witnessed something ugly. There was a group of book bloggers – young book bloggers, who were pushing their way through lines, grabbing books, verbally angry if they did not get the book they wanted and all out behaving badly. We as book bloggers were embarrassed. Publishing houses were angry and a murmur started about book bloggers just grabbing books. It was bad bad bad.
My third year at the expo I overheard a girl with a bloggers badge talk about how she was going to recover her cost of the flight and hotel in books and what they were worth. I checked out what blog she was from (it will be on your name badge) and once home I checked out her blog. Sure enough she had the books she picked up and their value posted next to them. I was sick to my stomach.
All this said, please…. represent well. Take books you plan to read and say thank you don’t just grab. It is a privilege that we are able to attend this event, not a right. The publishing houses want the books out there to start a buzz about them as we read and review them. I know we will not get to all of them, but we should be selecting the books we take in the mindset that we will try to read and review it.
How Do I Get The Books Home?
My first year at the expo was an eye opener. When it was time to get a box for my books I went to the conveniently located Fed Ex on the main floor of the expo. I boxed up my books (I can not recall if they charged me for the box or not), taped it shut, filled out the paperwork and $65 later I walked away stunned at the price. The next day I tried the UPS that was located in the downstairs area of the expo. The box was bigger, but it was about the same price to ship the books home. WOW.
So while both of these are convenient, by the end of the expo I had a much better (and cost effective plan). At the end of the day I would take my books to the Post Office. There is one close to the Expo, and there is one up by the hotels by Times Square as well. For $30, and that was including insurance, I could send a LARGE box of books to my house.
Moral of this story, while Fed Ex and UPS are convenient and serve a purpose in a pinch, note they both have around a $20 handling fee tacked on for the convenience.
*Note this is where the box and packing tape come in. At the post office they will charge you for a box and they will charge you to but their shipping tape. I always bring my own tape and when I am done I give it away to another book blogger at the post office who would otherwise have to buy tape to package their books.
Stretching your Dollars!
My first time to New York friends had told me that it was very expensive there. They said that meals could cost in the $50 range and that had me a little nervous. I do not spend $50 on food. Well, as in anywhere you go, you certainly could spend $50 on a meal if you wanted to… but I also found that their pricing varied just as much as where I live in Minnesota…. you can find food at all prices.
I mentioned before that I love Yum Yum (Thai food). That is a must stop for me. For around $15 you get an appetizer, choice of soup or salad, a main course and a desert (the green tea ice cream is fantastic!) You can find pizza by the slice, salads, you name it… you can spend $5 on lunch easy.
The Expo offers food there but it does come with a price. I ate the Chinese food their last year for lunch one day and it was close to $15. I quickly found if you could find a buddy to go out to one of the restaurants in the area. Not only is it a break from the busy expo, but it is a chance to sit down and talk and eat something tasty for a fair price.
Part of the fun of the expo is meeting other bloggers! If you get the chance to connect with others at dinner, events, where ever, I recommend you do so. Introduce yourself and have a blast! One way to do that is fill out the form for the Blogger Connection list and recently I heard about a Blogger Picnic planned!
Have a way to keep track of where you are supposed to be and when!
For many of the Expo attendees invites to open houses and author events may sprinkle through your time in New York and more may pop up while you are there. Keep a small notebook handy to jot down information such as date time and address. This is also handy to capture someone elses information.
Branding…. and a picture please Do you know me?
If you read this blog you probably have a pretty good idea of what I look like. Why? Because my picture is on the right sidebar and used as part of my morning meandering post. Why do that? By putting my face on the blog, people who read me feel as though they know me. For me, I think it increases a comfort with the writer, a feeling you know them and that is why I do it. It also helps when you go to bookish events such as the expo for people to know you. When people approach me, they know me by my face. Many times, I have to read their Blog Name on their name badge (which inevitably is turned the other way… gah!) to know who I am speaking with.
Now I totally get that many of you do not want your face on your blog and I understand that. However…. consider, if you are looking to connect with other bloggers putting your picture up just for this week and the week of the expo. It will help people who read you, find you, otherwise you may pass a loyal reader 20 times at the expo and never realize that is who they are.
Just my thoughts on that.
Also, bring a business card. My first year I heard that and I thought why would you do that? But I made them and found out that many of the bloggers you connect with and even authors and publishers, are grateful to have a way to contact you . When I made the card below, that was my heard at the time and I felt that really identified me with my blog… after all, we do identify a blog layout to a person…. its true! When people chance up their blogs and I pop in to see what they are writing, I am suddenly disoriented and have to check that I am on the right blog. (I know… I am weird )
BEA attendees who have gone before please feel free to add to this list. Newbies, please feel free to ask anything I may have forgotten.
Hi all! Recently Jill from Rhapsody In Books and I were discussing a way for book bloggers going to New York for BEA to connect, plan meet ups, see who else is going they may know etc… She was saying that Bloggers did this in D.C. at the National Book Fest and it worked great.
By doing this you can see who else will be in New York and possibly get a chance to meet them face to face. For those of us who do wish to connect I am creating the form below for BEA attendees to fill out. Most of the questions are optional so if there is something you do not wish to share, just leave it blank. The week before BEA a spreadsheet will be emailed to all of you who have filled out the form so you can see who is going and perhaps connect with them if you wish to do so.
This will be my 4th time going to the Book Expo and I have to tell you that meeting some of the bloggers that you chat with on twitter and frequent their blogs is such a blast and honestly one of the highlights of attending! Every book blogger I have met has been exactly as they are online. Something about us readers…. we keep it real.
If you are going to BEA this year please let us know – and please pass this post’s information on to others you know who are going to BEA. Lets create a great spreadsheet of attendees!
Please feel free to take the button and link back to here to let others know about connecting for BEA 2013!
As you may remember, the last few weeks I have been looking for a roommate for BEA (Book Expo America). This year none of my roomies of the past years are attending, and I think the roommate piece can be one of the hardest parts of going to BEA.
First I have to put out there on-line that I am looking for a roommate…. (muy awkward!) Maybe it’s because I am from central Minnesota, but it always takes me some time to put out on twitter and on the blog that I am looking for a roommate. I remember the first year I went to BEA and I was telling my friend about my three roommates, none of who I had ever met. She looked at me like I was a little crazy…. our conversation went something like this…
Friend: SO…. you don’t know any of these book bloggers you are staying with in New York.
Me: Well, I read their blogs…. and I have seen their pictures. And we have emailed back and forth.
Friend: Uh… huh. SO….. how do you know they are who they say they are?
Me: What do you mean?
Friend: Well… what if one of them is a dude?
Me: WHAT? That won’t happen. Seriously these are long time bloggers.
Friend: But what if say “Bookalicious Blogger” (fictional blog name I think – if not I apologize) is really a big guy named Mack?
Me: …………….. I know, I know… if things were reversed and if you told me that you were going to a state you had never been to before to room with people for a week that you have never met I would think you were nuts.
Anyhoo….. my roommates were AWESOME and there is one thing I have noticed every time I have gone to BEA (this is my 4th year), Book Bloggers are real. I have never met a book blogger yet that I have walked away thinking, “wow… they are so different on-line….” Nope. Everyone has been just like they write – if they are funny on the blog – they are funny in person. They are the most amazing group of people…
So enough on BEA past…. let’s go to BEA present…
After my final looking for a roommate post last week, stating my credentials (I am easy-going, house broken, do not shed, and promise not to take up a lot of space….) I received an email from Stacy from The Novel Life. She was also looking for a roommate and we had met each other in 2011 at a blogger dinner about 20 of us went to one night after an event.
“whew” I thought, I know her! That makes it so much easier.
About an hour later I received an email from Cindy from Cindy’s Love Of Books. She too was looking at the possibility of a roommate.
“Awesome” I thought, last year we were in the same hotel and we had laughed about how we kept running into each other. On our final evening in New York last year my roomies and Cindy’s roomies got together for dinner and hung out.
Then – as Cindy is going into New York earlier than Stacy and I, Cindy took the reins and went to planning. I won’t lay out all the details and the emails back and forth while we tried to decide on a place but I will say that Cindy put a lot of work looking into hotel rates vs. renting an apartment and finally we wound up right back where we were last year. It’s perfect. We know the hotel, we like the continental breakfast choices and it is close to the Javits Center.
Now that the hard part is over (I always get nervous about the booking, signing up for BEA registration (always afraid I am going to do it wrong and get there and I don’t have what I thought I did…, the hotel planning…. and then the flight). NOW I get to think of the fun part, seeing fellow bloggers that I enjoy getting together with, seeing the books, seeing authors I adore, publishing houses I work with, and new people I will meet. AND it is New York and Alison (Alison’s Book Marks) and I are already talking about taking in a show.
Can not wait!!!
what to wear.
Good morning everyone!!! Day 14 today of my cleanse and I am feeling good – definitely notice a difference. I am waking up earlier and I don’t think I am as tired. I added chicken and fish in to my diet on day 10, and even that was no big deal. Coffee…. I miss a little bit but I am going off the cleanse Thursday evening when my friend Heidi and I are going to our cabin for a couple of days for the Beaver Bay Days celebration in Beaver Bay and Silver Bay Minnesota. (It’s tradition – and the have a book sale!)
I was just on Twitter this morning and seen a conversation going that said the Book Expo for 2013 dates had changed. I for one, am thrilled – that means that I do not come right back from New York and go right into the MS 150 bike ride. I will actually have a week in between which is sweet! It does however wind up smack in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend, but if I remember right, before this year it did too.
In other awesome fun news…. it is the Bookies Queen Event tonight. SSSQQQQQUUUEEEEEE!!!! This is our yearly book club event where we dress up in formal wear and give speeches and songs or whatever to put our bid in for Queen of The Bookies.
Why? A silly little thing we picked up 6 years ago from a book we read called Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King. It was supposed to be a one year thing but it became a tradition and we really get into it, finding dresses at sales or second-hand stores. I am hoping the dress I found is ready today, I found it at a second-hand store and it had a faulty zipper but I have it in the shop now so we will see. If that one does not make deadline, I have a back up. (A lady in waiting is always prepared!) Pics will be available tomorrow, in the meantime here are the links to the past couple of years:
Ok so much to do I am sure I will have pictures up tomorrow…. Have a great day!
Anybody else wondering if I write reviews any more?
Ok… Just checking…
Seriously though, it feels like I have not written a book review in weeks. Probably – because that is true. I did not get any written during BEA and since I have been back I have been in a haze of keeping up on the house, the weather (oh rain… GO AWAY!) working, catching up with friends…
All good things, and I am reading – but I sit down at night to write a post and my eyes glaze over and I wind up playing a couple rounds of Scrabble on Facebook and going to bed.
And now today – I am going to talk about the books from BEA because I should… and I want to. And tomorrow, if the big Blogiversary celebration here and seriously – come – you are invited and it really is a big deal. I have all sorts of giveaways (some will be BEA related!) and it is always a good time. Here is a link to last years party…. SO MUCH FUN! OH and bring a guest this year – for sure (More on that tomorrow morning)
Anyway – back to the books. Here is my BEA haul – thank you to my friend Heidi and her awesome daughter Camryn who came over and dug through boxes with me.
There it is…. and I have some major organizing to do in the book room…. seriously. Hope your day is wonderful! And really hope to see you tomorrow…. it is going to be so MUCH FUN!
Friday afternoon, I posted my first BEA recap which pretty much covered Sunday when I first arrived in New York and the Simon Schuster YA event. Today I want to share about Monday, June 3.
Monday was the Book Blogger Conference at the Javits. Gail (A Ticket to Anywhere) who was my roommate, and I, walked the 5 blocks to the Javits from our hotel. Once inside, we got in line for our badges for the week. And from there, in line to go into the breakfast that was the kickoff to our day and a “speed dating” event with authors. You chose a table that the author you wanted to chat with would be at – and then three authors rotated through your table while you ate. I have to break here and share my favorite in line to breakfast comment I heard from the blogger standing in front of me and Gail.
Blogger girl (chatting to friends): SO have you read Insurgent yet?
Blogger girls friends/minions (Gail’s fun word of the week): (a mix of yes and no’s and “huh?”)
Blogger girl: I thought it was good but I am so in love with _________________ (no spoilers for those who have not read it yet) and hope that is who she chooses. *sigh*
Blogger girls friends: * a mixture of head nods and mumblings of agreement
Blogger Girl: I really liked Divergent, but loved Insurgent… I can’t wait for the next book, what do you think they will call it? Detergent?
Ok – so anyway, I sat at Table 7 which was going to have Justin Cronin, author of The Passage and the author of the highly coveted by me, The Twelve. If I left BEA with one book, that needed to be the one. And so yeah, I hung out with Justin Cronin.
Yup, me and Justin. Justin and me.
After the breakfast portion of the day, Jennifer Weiner spoke about books and bloggers and life stuff. She was pretty funny. At lunch we had the authors at the tables again and looking over my itinerary I seen that at my table 7 was going to be a Craft author. Crafts are so not my thing so I checked the schedule and moved to table 12 with Alison from Alison’s Book Marks where Erica Robuck would be the author. I read Erica’s book, Receive Me Falling back in 2009 and loved it. She said I was one of the first bloggers to read and review her book. What is cool about Erica’s story is that her first book was self published, and now this second book, Hemingway’s Girl, was purchased and published by NAL Trade. NICE!
Erica and I
After lunch I took a break from the afternoon sessions as out evening was packed, so I went back to the hotel – chilled for about an hour, changed into my clothes for the evening and came back for the closing talk with Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, whose book is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. (Listened to on audio and reviewed last month).
** Later I talked with fellow awesome Minnesotan Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness about the afternoon break out sessions and here are two things I can take away from that I will apply:
1. Do not put your full reviews on Good Reads…. put a part of the review and then link it back to your blog for people to read the rest. Huh. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it makes sense. Until now, I have posted my full reviews on Good Reads.
2. Twitter is pretty much the best way for bookish communications/ linking posts/ and connecting with authors, publishers, fellow bloggers…. I needed to hear this. It is hard for me to do Twitter because I just dont take the time for it. I am trying now to be more open to Twitter and the possibilities of blog building it has.
So… Monday evening. Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and I made our way to Scholastic’s invite. I was uber excited as I had never been to Scholastic before. Alison graciously walked me through the Scholastic store which was truly drool worthy with all the great books I either have read or want to read…..
Their party was…. AWESOME. I am not just saying that either. They had popcorn and a cotton candy machine. Horduerves and lemonade, ice tea, or cola. It was a wonderful Middle Grade/YA get together! Once there we sat with Kathy from Burmuda Onion and Julie from Booking Mama.
And more was yet to come.
Scholastic had their authors each take a turn talking about their newest book. Then they read from the book, each author taking a character part. The result? HILARIOUS. James Dashner (author of Maze Runner, Scorch Trials…) was a hoot. He was so funny and always seemed to be given the funny parts such as “cranky grandmother” or “angry aunt”. And he played his parts well, even once saying he channeled Mrs. Doubtfire. His newest book Infinity Ring sounds fantastic!
Maggie Steifvater (author of Linger, Shiver, and Forever, just to name a few) is not only talented beyond belief, she is cut and funny and someone I think would be a blast to hang out with. Raven Boys is much coveted!
The one that surprised me the most was Eliot Schrefer, who’s book Endangered will be released this November. The book is about the Congo and a girl who is trying to save the endangered bonobos. I knew I did not want to read this book. I have such a soft heart for animals and animals hurting really breaks me up. As Elliot talked about his research with the bonobos, and then read an exert from his book… leaving us with a cliff hanger…
my heart stopped and my eyes welled up.
Then… they showed a picture of the cover:
Damn. Now I have to read this book, and did get an advanced reader copy at BEA.
Next stop (and yes, this is still Monday) was the Harper Collins party. As always, a blast. It was so fun to connect with blogger friends, authors, and Harper Collins peeps. I so enjoy this event every year! AND – it was time for my annual pic with Alison from Alison’s Book Marks. We have a funny tradition now of having a picture together at this event. We met at BEA in 2010 and connected over books and then in 2011, chatted again at the Harper Collins Party and this year, we hung out quite a bit which was a lot of fun.
and here we are in 2011…
and again in 2010…
Alison’s hair stays the same… I am always changing it up…LOL… now seeing these pics, I want to go short hair again. Its also funny, now that I look at these that we are always on the same side.
Later that evening, roomy Gail (Ticket To Anywhere), two other gals (forgive me… I have lost names and blogs in my head somewhere) went to an Irish pub for dinner. Gail and I are both Irish so this was so much fun and our waiter, Pearce (like Bronson) has such a thick great accent that I wanted to miniaturize him and keep him in my purse to take out for later get togethers.
I was so tired in this pic with Gail. It had been a LONG Monday but filled with such great events!
Stay tune – BEA Recap 3 is coming (The Expo!)
and be sure to check out BEA Recap 1
Just this afternoon I have returned from the Book Expo in New York. What a whirlwind week of books, book events, author events, blogger friends and get together. This is truly one of the highlights of my year and I highly recommend it to anyone who is debating if they should go. YES. GO.
Over two or three posts I am going to share with you the BEA experience I had this year so hopefully you can see it through my eyes. One of the cool things about BEA is that each person has such a unique experience. As people start to post about the books and events there is no doubt in my mind that I will be shocked to see a book I covet that I did not know was there. There will be bookish get together that I did not know about as well.
I arrived on Sunday morning flying from Minneapolis to Chicago to New York. The first time I have ever flown alone. (True story!) I shuttled to my hotel, dropped off my bags and walked around the Times Square area until I connected with my room-mate for the week, Gail from Ticket To Anywhere. Together Sunday evening we went to the Simon Schuster YA event.
These 5 books and authors were presented at this wonderful party that has delicious horduerves and drinks being served. Oh course I was super excited to hear from Lenore Applehans, who blogs at Presenting Lenore and has her first book coming out – Level 2!!!! (I am so excited!!!)
I even did a little video but thought I was recording and I wasn’t so tried again… and only captured a bit of what she was saying:
All the authors and their books sounded wonderful and as each person spoke I would nudge Gail and say “Oh I want to read that book!” At the end of the night we were presented with a swag bag with a copy of each book!!! SQQQUUUEEE!!!!!
Dont these books look wonderful? You might think I am being bias by featuring only Lenore and that is a little true – but it is also due to the fact that I was finishing up some work business on the phone on Sunday evening and I had to keep popping out of the event so the only one I was able to hear talk in their entirety was Lenore.
I am going to write more soon…. I wanted to write more tonight but honestly… I have been up since 3:30 am to catch my flights and I am a bit wiped out. More tomorrow…. promise
Good morning! Oh wow… I did not mean to be absent from the blogesphere while in New York. I can’t explain how this year is different from last years other than I think I was wiped out before I came to New York and feel like I have never really caught up. AND every day since stepping a toe off the place in New York I have RAN from event to event…
Which I promise upon my return home I will give details and pictures… I am just a little fried right now and as I type my roommate Gail from Ticket To Anywhere is saying “Are you actually writing a blog post?”
Which I am….
a little one.
So today is the last day of BEA and I have had a blast, met up with friends, met some fun authors and event got lost in New York for about an hour (sorry Alison!)… more on all that later -
What I did want to share is if you remember last year Reagan from Miss Remmers Reviews and I took over the info booth…. well, Reagan did not attend this year….
however, I thought it would be fun…
to do it again:
So there I am … alive and caffeinated in New York. Thank you for hanging in there with me, we will return to our regularly scheduled blogging whatevers upon my return home.
Good morning! It’s really really early by the time you are reading this I should be flying to New York, my flight left Minneapolis at 5:45 am. Book Expo Of America… here I come!
Today I wanted to share with you something a little different than I normally do in the mornings. While many book bloggers are currently flying from all over the world to New York…. many of you are still at home keeping the blogs fires lit. What I want to share with you this morning, or I guess really, what I have asked Danielle from There’s A Book, to do this morning is share with you a very fun event called Armchair BEA.
Take it away Danielle!
Hi Sheila and Book Journey Readers!
What an exciting week and month in the book blogging community! Book Expo America, Armchair BEA and Audiobook Month all packed in together making more than enough bookish goodness to go around.
I’ve long been a fan of Sheila’s site and especially her enthusiasm for all she’s involved with. So, when she asked if I’d be interested in guest posting on her site about one of the biggest events happening in the book industry, Armchair BEA, I was so excited.
For those of you who might not be familiar with Armchair BEA first off let me say you absolutely should check it out! In a nutshell here are the basics of what makes up this great event:
If you’re a book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention in New York this June (June 4 – 8, 2012), you don’t have to miss all the fun – this virtual convention is the place to be! The Armchair BEA site includes news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more!
This is the third year for Armchair BEA and it’s more exciting than ever. Armchair BEA began as six book bloggers (Tif from Tif Talks Books, Florinda
from The 3 R’s Blog, Pam from Bookalicious.org, Chris from Chrisbookarama, Michelle from That’s What She Read, Emily from Emily’s Reading Room and myself) looking for a way to enjoy the week without feeling too bad that we couldn’t actually attend the event in person. To be honest, we all originally thought of calling it the “BEA Pity Party,” but decided it would be so much more fun to make it a fun event centered around the books, authors, publishers and bloggers we love. What we didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming response from the book community. With only two weeks of planning before BEA and Armchair BEA started that first year we had over one hundred participants, close to a dozen sponsors, an agenda filled with activities and even one Twitter party.
Since that first year we’ve added more organizers (Amy from My Friend Amy and Julie from My 5 Monkeys), increased the number of participants from one hundred to over five hundred the second year, added partners (Edelweiss and Book Expo Authors Studio Podcast) and included nearly ev
ery major publisher in our Sponsors listing. Last year was a whirlwind packed with behind the scenes exclusives and an additional Twitter party.
During our third year we’ve grown to include more than any of the original founders would have ever predicted. What began as a way to escape the feelings of missing everything going on in New York has become the event to participate in. This year, in one of the biggest surprises thus far, we’ve now partnered with Book Expo America. The partnership is one of the biggest steps toward bringing everyone involved with Armchair BEA closer to the event happening in New York and we couldn’t be more excited.
No doubt Armchair BEA has become something each of us organizers looks forward to ea
ch and every year. I hope if you haven’t already decided to join in that you’ll consider it, even if you happen to be attending BEA! Armchair BEA is definitely the event of the year and we’d love to have everyone from the book blogging community participate!
So there you have it… it looks (and sounds so awesome) and I am hoping that many of you will pop over to the Armchair BEA site and applaud the hard working bloggers that are working behind the scenes, as well as a few like Danielle that are at BEA making connections to Armchair BEA.
By 1:00 pm central time I will be popping through the New York airport trying to find luggage and a taxi to get in the vicinity of my hotel…. check in is not until 3 but I can drop my bags there and then I think I am connecting with Mari from Bookworm with a View and my roommate, Gail from Ticket To Anywhere. Sunday 6 – 9 pm is the Simon and Schuster Open house.
I will continue to pop in as I can… I had big plans to have more posts ready before I left but my week got away from me and now I am hoping to get a few reviews up this week as well, but for sure you will hear about my day to day happenings at BEA!
Their definition: BEA: Book Expo Of America – an event that takes place yearly for book sellers, media, and publishing houses and authors all to mingle together in promoting books that will be coming out yet this year and possibly next spring.
My definition: Heaven for Book Lovers. ♥
Before my love affair with book reviewing, I had never heard of BEA. In 2010 when I first did finally hear about it and what it was… I only knew one thing…. I had to go.
For me – this was HUGE. I didn’t plan trips alone. I didn’t just go off on a whim, to states I had never been to before, but this had to happen. I connected with a couple of bloggers on-line that I planned to be roommates with to cut that cost down. And I went. LOVED IT. Went again in 2011….LOVED IT! And now I am on schedule to go again this next week. I can’t explain the magic of being surrounded by books and book lovers for almost a full week. All I can say is that if you are ever considering going, GO. Don’t hesitate.
So what got this little girl from Central Minnesota to go to New York and feel confident enough to do it? Well, honestly, Book Bloggers. In 2010 a group of book bloggers decided to each take a day for a week and write a post about what to expect at BEA. I devoured everything I could about the subject.
I am going to pass on to you now what I learned either on my own, or through others, but all of it valuable if you are new to the BEA experience. Some of this I wish I had known going in…. I am happy to pass it on to you and hope there is something you can take from this.
What to pack?
At the Expo I would suggest wearing business casual – jeans and a nice shirt, capris or springy skirts for women, cargo style pants… remember you are there representing your blog. Pack one outfit a little dressier for an evening out… maybe a pair of dressier pants or skirt with a couple different tops. Definitely pack comfortable shoes, even if you are like me, and wearing a heel doesn’t bother you if you are on your feet all day. You will walk the exhibit floor many many times for hours each day. You may be walking through New York as well to check out the sites. Myself and Reagan walked almost everywhere… not only did it save money on taxi’s but we could see things so much better than from inside a car.
Also – a little trick I picked up for myself, pack a couple unfolded boxes in your suitcase and your own packing tape. The shipping companies (I will get to them below) will charge you for the box – and if you use the post office (which I will recommend) they will also have you buy the tape.
What to expect?
So this is a picture of me year one…. LOL, ok not exactly me, but yeah…. pretty much. When we got to the Javits Center that first day people were lined up hours before it opened and of course, we got in line and hung out there. When the doors did open I was pushed with the crowd into the center and right into a table where a book was jabbed into my hands. “What is this craziness” I thought. The book was I Am Number Four. I had never heard of it. Now, it is a movie…. crazy, crazy stuff…
After that – year two…. day one… looked like this:
Yup. Reagan and I did not get in the line at all. We walked around a few exhibits on the outside of the main center. Then we seen this abandoned Info booth with tall comfy chairs. I told Reagan I was going to sit there, she said we shouldn’t but I said whats the worst that will happen…. they ask up to move? The funny thing is, we started answering questions. AND for awhile we had a line of people waiting to ask their question. AND funnier yet, we knew the answers, so we were actually helpful…
Where is the children’s breakfast?
Where can we get maps of the exhibit area?
Where is Starbucks?
Can I still get tickets to Author breakfasts?
Where do I register?
When can I get into the exhibit hall?
My point in sharing this is to let you know to just have fun. Once the doors open people rush in and you are in within minutes of the mob and that is much nicer.
Once inside… have fun, everywhere you look you will find exhibits, in many cases, ARC’s of books as well. Choose wisely… don’t hoard. If you are not going to read it, don’t take it. These publishing companies want to get the word out about their books and they want them in the hands of those who will do it. Not just bloggers, but book sellers. AND please be polite, going to the Expo is a privilege, not a right. Say thank you when receiving a book. Don’t push or grab. Seriously, I seen some bad behavior from bloggers last year that was just embarrassing to all of us. This may seem harsh – but if you are not mature enough to go….. don’t go.
Make a point to see the publishing houses that send you books. Meet with them, introduce yourself… build on that blogger/publisher relationship.
The books being handed out change frequently. If you have a list of what you are hoping to receive an ARC of, watch your publishing booths for it.
Oh and the autograph area, that is so fun. Books handed out by the authors and they are signed. LOVE that. Be sure to notice the box that says recommended donation per book $1.00.
Of course – you will see bloggers too…. but that… is another topic.
Oh yeah, and I know this post is late so I apologize, a business card is wonderful to put into publishing houses hands that you want to connect with, as well as exchanging with the bloggers you meet. I get mine through Vista Prints…. 500 cards, custom two-sided…. $34.00
Authors, and Publishers, and Bloggers…. oh my!
One of the best things I was told that first year I attended was to not overbook yourself. As a newbie to New York I had an agenda…. I wanted to see an exhibit, I wanted to go to a show…
That first year one on my roommates and I (*waves at Esme from Chocolates and Croissants*), stayed an extra day after everything ended. That was the best thing I did.
The reason you do not want to overbook yourself with commitments too early is that new offers may come up. You could meet up with a group of bloggers friends who all want to go out to dinner, or you may get an invite to hang out with authors or publishers and it would be sad if your favorite author invited you to come and hang out with a group and you have to bow out because you have tickets to Wicked…. (not that Wicked would not be incredible to see on Broadway!)
Both years that I have attended I have had something going on every night and occasionally two things. The publishing houses have get together, I went to dinner with my roommates and a group of new authors which was so much fun because they had questions for us like how to do giveaways or promote their books which was so cool because one of those authors has since made a movie deal with that first book. AWESOME. I also connected with many other bloggers who would get together for dinner…. oh and that bonus day? I took in the Harry Potter Exhibit, and the first year seen Mama Mia, and last year Mary Poppins.
And still… I bought a ticket for my first time this year to an authors breakfast and two weeks later received an invite to a brunch being hosted by one of the publishing houses… same day and same time as the author breakfast. Uhh… yeah, I am going to the brunch.
**Absolutely make time to connect with your fellow book bloggers…. it is so fun to meet in person and you could make friends for life. (Reagan (Miss Remmers Reviews) called me this past February on my birthday and sang to me over the phone)….. priceless.
Make a Schedule and check it twice!
Packing a little notebook/agenda with you is a great idea. You can capture information for upcoming books, and addresses for possible meet ups. It is useful for putting where you need to be and when. When you are invited to Publishing houses you want to have the times written down and addresses…. this will also help you so you don’t double book or you can at least look at times to events if you need to try to make two…
Seriously, BEA and all that surrounds it makes me laugh and say “Is this really my life, dinner with authors and cocktails with Publishers?
Stretching the dollars!
That first time I was going to BEA a friend of mine here in Brainerd told me “Food is expensive there, you can easily spend $50+ on a meal. That freaked me out a bit. Well, I can honestly tell you that yes, if you want to go out and have a great New York experience, you certainly can and find high price and meals worth taking pictures of (uhhh…. I have), however I found prices to be not that different from where I live here. Your going out to a nice dinner (without drinks) will cost between $8 and $20. You can also stop and pick up a slice of pizza or a burger for a few bucks…
In the hotels I stayed in the past two years they had continental breakfast so I would eat there and grab an extra banana or apple for my bag I carried to the Javits Center. The Javits has food available but it is a bit pricey! I would recommend bringing a bottle of water with you and maybe an energy bar or granola. Outside the Javitz and not too far walking distance are many restaurants that are nice too for a lunch break and a chance to sit down.
Also – coffee drinkers like me, grab your joe on the way to the Javits… the line that wraps around Starbucks in the early start up hours has been known to be up to a 40 minute wait. Been there.. done that….
How do I get my books home?
No doubt even if you are new to the BEA experience, you have heard about the wonderful opportunity to take home some much coveted reads? As you travel the hallways and aisles you will pick up some books. I can not even imagine any book lover being able to pass on them all… and that leads to the next question… how do you get them home?
The Javits Center offers Fed Ex and UPS in the building for your convenience. On the main floor you will find Fed Ex and I think the first box (and only box) I sent through them that first year was a standard size box and I paid around $45 to have that shipped. My next box I took downstairs (by where you register that first day) and that is UPS. The beauty of UPS is that they let you grab a box in the morning (no charge) and fold it tape it and write your name all over it and leave it down there on a long table and you can add to it all day long. Once full, they have people right there that will assist you and ship it. That 2nd box cost me around $32.00.
Then… I learned that there was a post office not all that far from the Javits. You can fill up a book bag or two and then go to the post office and ship from there. (This is where the tape and boxes I mentioned in your packing come in). For a large size box at the post office with insurance I paid around $18.00 media mail. It takes a few days longer that UPS or Fed Ex but by the end of the week I returned home, the boxes were there. Here is a link to a map of the are around the Javits.
That’s about all I have for now. I am sorry I am posting this so close to event time… I have been planning it for weeks but life and stuff…
For those who have gone before, please add any advice you can think of to the comments below. I appreciate your input and I am sure I am forgetting much
Oh and one more thing, remember that year two picture of Reagan and I at the info booth, over an hour later the dude that was scheduled to be working there showed up and I got a picture:
Oh and P.S. If you are going and want to connect, let me know. I am going to email out my cell number to my regular readers who wish to meet.
Here are a couple other BEA posts I have seen recently: