Sunday, March 27, 2011

BEA, BBC here I come!!!

My wallet final gave me permission to register for BookExpo America and the Book Blogger Convention. A big thank you to my wallet. Going to BEA and BBC last year was an adventure. It was a brief adventure. I found out about both too late to get the full experience. I was only able to attend the last day of BEA. Who knows who I could have met and what books I could have come across if went for the entire conference?

This year, when the vacation slips came around I made sure to put in for the last week of May. I didn't have the money for it in January, but I'm like a dog with a bone. I wanted that time off as soon as possible. I'm not attending the first day of BEA because it sounds ceremonial more than anything. But when the exhibit hall opens, I will be there.

The Book Blogger Convention is a one-day event. Follow the link on their web site. The price right now is $120, it increases to $135 if you register after a certain date. I'm not sure of the exact date, but I think three weeks prior and the price increases. By registering for BBC, you also get a pass for BEA. Two for the price of one, who can beat that?!!!

The Book Blogger Convention will be different this year. There is still a keynote speaker, but then we break into individual groups instead of everyone taking in the same information. I think that's a nice change, there were some panels at last year's convention I could have done without.

Is anybody out there planning on attending both? If you can swing it, I highly recommend it. Need a few tips for attending BEA? I definitely needed them last year. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom:

1. PLAN AHEAD!!! Go to the BEA web site and plot out the booths you want to visit. It can be a bit of sensory overload if you don't plan ahead. Last year, I mapped out which publishers I wanted to visit. I went to those booths first and then went elsewhere.

2. Bring a small rolling suitcase with you. This little tidbit would have saved my shoulders. I carried around three big bags of books ALL DAY. There is an area set aside for the suitcases. For three bucks (assuming the price hasn't changed) you can leave your bag there and put your books in it throughout the day. Also, I think they help you ship your books home if you need it. I saw the spot last year and wondered what it was for. Imagine my surprise when I found out at the END of the day. That walk from the Javits Center to Penn Station is very short, but not when you're loaded down with books.

3. Bring snacks and drinks with you. Take it from a New Yorker, the food in that place is expensive!!

4. Avoid taxis, if you can, and buy a metrocard. Buses, trains, and your own two feet are the best modes of transportation. I can't really speak about hotels and airfares because I live within commuting distance. All I can tell you is to book early and shop around for the best deal. If you have family in New York, ask them to take pity on you. If you know any other bloggers attending, perhaps you can share a hotel room.

5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, so comfort is important.

6. Have a business card. This event is all about making connections. You will be meeting so many people, it helps to have a business card. You will want to develop a list of contacts, and publishers want to do the same thing. And be sure to follow up when you get home.

7. Make sure your blog is in tip-top shape. A review policy and contact information are musts. My own blog will be under construction next month. I want to streamline a few things.

8. Take pictures. How many opportunities will you get to experience an event like this? You will want to remember it. I'm planning on buying a camera. My cellphone camera wasn't up to snuff last year.

9. Attend a panel. There will be panels discussing books and book-related content throughout the day. The list isn't up yet on the BEA web site, but it should be soon.

10. One to a customer. Don't be greedy. Last year when the exhibit hall opened, people ran to the bookstacks. You would think they hadn't seen a book in years.

11. If you didn't get it before, please PLAN AHEAD!!!

12. Have fun!! Of course be professional, but don't forget to have fun.


  1. Saw your tweet and came here. I'm going to BEA for the first time this year with NO CLUE what to expect. I appreciated this.

    Jennifer Laurens - YA author

  2. I had no clue myself last year. I should have done more research before going, but at least this year I have more of an idea what to expect. I was tired at the end of the day, but in a good way.

  3. BEA is an awesome force to reckon with that's for sure. I'd also add don't be afraid to talk to those around you. I made a couple of good friends I could meet up with every day to go around the floor with and got to lunch with. It can be daunting, but if you're in line for the same author event why not strike up a conversation--one thing's for sure you'll have something in common for sure!

  4. Lexie - That's a good one. I did a lot of walking but not too much talking last year. That's going to change this year now that I'm going all the days the exhibit hall is open.

  5. You gave some great advice! I seriously second the comfy shoes idea. Save style for the evening and be nice to your feet!

    I'm looking forward to saying hello, either at BEA when I'm signing on Wednesday or else at the BBC, where I will be one of the "speed dating" authors during lunch. This should be a great event. Already thinking about which hat to wear...