I survived BEA 2014 — year number 4 for me — and I feel like that’s an accomplishment because OH MY GOD BOOK CON. I THOUGHT I WASN’T GOING TO MAKE IT OUT ALIVE.
I’m finally getting around to my recap because it’s so bittersweet and, honestly, it’s hard to give a recap that adequately describes what it’s like or one that doesn’t come off as braggy even when that’s not my intention. I had a ridiculous amount of fun and good memories and I’m going to try really, really hard to share what went down that week! If you are curious about the books, check out my post about what I picked up at BEA.
Like last year I’m going to make some observations about BEA/Book Con 2014:
* BOOK CON = AWFUL. I get it’s the first year and LOGISTICS and all but it was downright dangerous. WAY too many people in there and I can’t imagine that people who paid just to come to that felt like it was worth it. I wasn’t really there to get books but, even if I had wanted to, the lines were chaos and yeah TOO MANY PEOPLE it wasn’t worth it.. Bottom line: Too many people and not enough space, order or books. If it’s the same next year I will NOT be recommending for my blog readers to go to it.
* As I mentioned last year, there seem to be a lot less books given out via galley drops and this year was definitely the same. And they are so ORDERED now. Lines and tickets and specific times. Before it was just like hitting the lottery if you walked past during a drop. We would all be frantically texting one another to get to the booth for whatever book. I like order but in some ways I didn’t like it because a) everyone mobbed around the booths at the same time just circling the publicists like a pack of wild animals until the boxes came out and b) it kind of takes out the spontaneity of it. But, in the grand scheme, it seemed at least to me to not be as much bad behavior because of the order sooo WIN?
* Last year I also noted that it seemed nobody liked to chat at the booths anymore (unless I knew them) and that was true this year. My favorite part of BEA before was talking to people about what they were excited about and getting some idea of books I would like or some gems that weren’t the big buzz titles. Nothing crazy long but I used to chat for a few minutes and get a feel for what I might I should be looking out for. I know they have THINGS to do but years ago this was one of the best parts.
* This year was very chill for me (literally I did NOT make a schedule except JANDY). I don’t know if I just didn’t have a big wishlist again this year or if there wasn’t much there but I really had a lot of free time this year and only came home with 6 books from the floor (which YAY for my shelves). Also off the floor I was busy but not TOO busy. I mentioned last year I was feeling like I missed out on some organic hang out time and this year I definitely made an effort to do more of that. It was excellent!
I nannied all day and then drove home, got my bags and Will dropped me off at the train station. I was so excited the whole 75 minute train ride! I got into the city, got to my AWESOME hotel (ROW NYC – who upgraded us because April tweeted them!) and then rushed off to have a beer with the lovely Estelle from Rather Be Reading (great blog!). I’m so happy we were able to get the chance to hang out and have great conversation. It was the perfect way to kick off BEA week!
Then I was off to cross of one of my NYC bucket list items off and wrangled a group together to go help me do it! I got lost (still getting my NYC savvy head back) but finally met up at Momofuku Milk Bar with Alexa and Elena and a great group of British bloggers who I ADORE and want them to live here (Debbie, Faye, Caroline and Luna). We had some dessert (crack pie, compost cookies, cereal milk ice cream and birthday cake truffles) and some awesome conversation about books, BEA, working with publishers here vs. UK and more! I wish we could have hung out even longer but they had been up for like 24 hours or more at that point because they had just gotten in earlier. I went back to my hotel to hang out with my roomies (the ladies at Good Books & Good Wine) full of SUGAR.
My day started with sleeping in and then heading off to Hachette for a brunch (with mimosas!!) with the amazing crew at Little Brown/The Novl. I really only know Faye so it was nice to meet the rest of the team. It was great to see bloggers and listen to the team’s really engaging presentation about some Fall books we should know about. I walked away with some AWESOME reads (you can full list see here — my top two = Wildlife & Salt and Storm) and we got a tour to see where the magic happens! I am so very appreciative for them to take the time out during BEA week to do this for us!
Then I trekked to the Javits to get my badge with a bunch of bloggers who were at the brunch and we met up with even more bloggers who were there for Blogger Con.
Then I went to freshen up and I was off to cross off another bucket list item — get some lobster mac & cheese from Macbar. We had a GREAT group that went and it was so fun to chat (and rant!!). Also, the mac & cheese was DELISH.
Then I was off to the Epic Reads party which was a BLAST. Very informal, fun event — they know how to throw a party. Lots of mingling with authors and publicists and bloggers! There was a fun YA trivia game and my team was AWFUL at it but we had Garth Nix on our team soooo OH WELL? I got to meet some authors I love like Jodi Lynn-Anderson (OMG I FANGIRLED bc Tiger Lily!!), Corey Ann Haydu (loved chatting with her + her book is a fave of this year so far) and I met Amy Ewing (debut author of The Jewel) who is the sweetest ever!
There was also a super fun photobooth which we had fun in! I had A LOT of fun at this party and secretly laugh when people are like “Oh you are going to be a book event…that must be fun. Do you sit around in circles and read?” YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.
Christina, Me, StephMargot, Christina, Me
Thursday was the first day of the actual Book Expo and, man, did it start early! I forget how late my nights are and how early the mornings are at BEA after a year. We made our way over to the Javits Center where the Harlequin Teen breakfast was being held. I love this event — breakfast and there is a round robin of authors/editors/publicists who move to every table in a speed dating sort of way. It was far too early for me to take too many pictures but I met Jennifer Armentrout and Adi Alsaid and saw Julie Kagawa again! It’s such a nice way to learn about the Fall books and learn what goes on behind the scenes at Harlequin Teen and see what they are excited about.
Then Rachel and I walked around for most of the morning together because we had similar signings we wanted to do and because we didn’t get to hang out nearly that much and then I headed off to lunch with the lovely Lauren from Penguin and that was a great conversation and break from Javits craziness. Then I went back and wandered. The most exciting thing book/author-wise for Thursday was getting to see the always fabulous Lauren Oliver and getting her upcoming book Rooms. I got to see a lot of bloggers on the floor and meet people I’d been dying to meet. Honestly, Thursday DAY was really chill. I think I left with like 2 books? But not before running into MORGAN MATSON. I’ve been chatting with her and loving her books for years so that was a nice moment!
Then we went back, freshened up (because it’s hard not to look like a hot mess after a full day on the floor) and headed off to the Macmillan Cocktail Hour! Another informal, fun event to chat with other bloggers and see some of my favorite publicists. I even got to chat with the president of the children’s division and he was a really nice guy who genuinely cared about the blogger/publisher relationship and appreciated what we all do!
Then we hailed a cab (you get to be a pro by the end of BEA) and we were off to the YA Party (hosted by the lovely Liza) which was a lot of fun despite the fact my feet where like, HEY LET’S STOP THIS NONSENSE AND GO TO BED. Seriously, half the time while socializing I was thinking about how bad my feet hurt and how I hoped I didn’t look too pained. But it was FAB to meet so many bloggers and authors — a very fun crowd. There was a fun ice-breaker event and some AWESOME raffles (ISLA was a raffle BUT ALAS I DID NOT WIN!!!! Curses). I also met a debut author whose book I CANNOT WAIT FOR — We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach!
Gaby, Tiffany Schmidt (author of Send Me A Sign & Bright Before Sunrise), Jenni, Amy Zhang (debut author of Falling Into Place!!), Alexa, Kat, Katelyn, Scott Westerfeld (his new book Afterworlds is coming out this Fall)
Friday was the most exciting day. For you see, I had ONE MISSION AND ONE MISSION ALONE. To procure Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun (which I DID!!!). But before that I had some fun adventures on the floor with some friends. Friday I saw A LOT more bloggers and it was glorious and there was lots of hugging and book talking and lots of OMG IT’S YOUUU’s.
Two cool things before the Epic Meeting Jandy Nelson Moment:
Best marketing promo EVER for Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost (road trip novel!!). We wanted to take a picture with it and what do you know the author was nearby!
Then we snagged a picture with a cover model at the Simon & Schuster booth!
Then THE MOMENT I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR: Meeting Jandy + getting my hands on I’ll Give You The Sun. Jandy was SO SO lovely and I guess my crazy fangirl tweets made her know who I was so that was the icing on the cake. Pays to be a creeper I suppose
After Jandy, I was like BOOM don’t care what else I do or get. So I did something I have NEVER EVER done at BEA…I went to TWO panels. First of all, MY FEET WERE SO HAPPY. Why have I never done that before?? Second, it was nice to get to hear authors you love speak.
The first panel was moderated by darling Margot and it was about worldbuilding which was fascinating to hear some great authors talk about! Michael Grant, Scott Westerfeld, Brandon Hull, Heather Demetrios and Kiera Cass were on that panel. They all had different approaches which is a good reminder that there is no ONE way to do things. Margot asked great questions and the authors shared quite a bit. I wish I had taken notes but alas I did not feel like it.
Next up was the REAL YA panel which was like a Dream Team group and the stuff my fangirl dreams are made of. E. Lockhart!! Gayle Forman!! Jandy Nelson!! And Meg Wolitzer who I don’t know yet but I LOVED listening to her. I loved what these ladies had to say and they are just smart, well-spoken and engaging!
Then we waited around a bit to see Gayle which NEVER EVER gets old for me. It is SO hard for me to keep my cool around Gayle. I have no problem around other authors but I’m in awe of Gayle as an author/I want to be her friend in a non-creepy way as a person after getting to talk to her many times. And then she said, “we should take a selfie” to which I totally tried to play that cool and ran off afterwards like I SELFIED WITH GAYLE FORMAN which made me giggle because you can’t ever take the fangirl out of your core I don’t think. I swear, I’m totally profesh and an adult though.
Then it was off to COCKTAIL PANEL with the girls at Forever Young Adult (one of my long time favorite blogs) and a great group of bloggers which is a yearly BEA tradition for us. As always, there was AWESOME conversation and laughs. I love those girls something fierce and it was a great way to end a day at the Javits as always.
Then it was off to the Book Blogger’s Picnic which is a great hangout time outside of the Javits. (Thanks Alexa and Andrea for starting this tradition!!). Our time there was really short because it started raining and then I left to go get SHAKE SHACK and call it a night.
Saturday was an early morning that started with donuts and mimosas with the LOVELY Bloomsbury team. I adore them all. It was a great time to chat with bloggers and talk with the people we work with at Bloomsbury. Plus Sarah J. Maas and Jessica Day George were there so that was pretty awesome! Fun fact: Erica from Bloomsbury was one of the first publicists I ever met or talked with or worked with back when she was at Harper on the adult side. You can bet I welcomed her to the dark side when she came into YA publishing.
Then it was off to the Javits for the Diversity Panel which was AMAZING and I was so lucky to snag a seat. It was inspiring and it just proved how important it is to take these Twitter conversations about change and DO something.
Then it was off to check out Book Con to kill some time before grabbing coffee with Morgan and Elena. Like I said, Book Con be CRAY so I quickly walked around (as quickly as one can in a mob), saw some friends, met new friends and then hightailed it out of there.
I tried to be stealthy and take this picture of Margot in the Epic Reads booth during the Book Con Day of Hell but she apparently has spidey senses and KNEW. Love Jeremy and Jeffrey!
Then I had coffee with Morgan before her signing and Elena and it was wonderful just to be able to sit down and chat with an author I admire and whose books I MEGA LOVE. It’s so nice when an author is just as wonderful in real life. The conversation was excellent and I was sad it had to end. Morgan really inspired me to start on the story that is in my head and heart and just see what happens. Especially when I told them both the premise and they said I WANT TO READ THAT. I need to get that story down. I do.
Then it was off to Brooklyn for Lenore’s birthday party! It was such a nice time to chat with some bloggers and authors and meet new people! I got to chat with one of my favorites for a bit — Leila Sales. Met the LOVELY SJ Kincaid. There was good food (and lots of it) and general merriment. Lenore also has the best birthday dance ever and I need to steal those moves. Fun Fact: Lenore was one of the first bloggers outside of the Philly area I ever met. And of course I was having a meltdown when I met her because I thought my car was going to get towed. So proud of her for making her publishing dreams come true and cannot wait to read her upcoming sequel.
Then it was time for my last and final event before I headed home: the Book Blogger Pub Night (hosted by the lovely ladies who hosted the Blogger Picnic). This was A BLAST. I was tired and kind of wanted to curl up in bed with a book in the hotel room but I’m glad I went because I had SO much fun and got to hang out with so many people I loved! AND I GOT TO SEE THE BEVY AGAIN BECAUSE I BARELY SAW THEM THIS YEAR. Lots of laughs were had!
I had a GREAT time at BEA 2014 and really enjoyed spending time with friends, making new friends and talking books. I think the more years I have under my belt I enjoy it even more because it’s become a very chill thing for me. I literally had NO schedule this year (except JANDY). Last year I at LEAST wrote down a couple things I wanted to do on the train TO BEA. For me, I’m learning I like this go with the flow attitude for BEA and concentrating on the couple of things I really want. It was nice to have lunch or coffee with people or see a great panel rather than be worried about what I was missing on the floor (something I REALLY struggled with). I feel better coming home with a more manageable pile because I know realistically what will happen after BEA having done this for a few years before.
I sincerely enjoyed meeting all of you and seeing good friends again!! Can’t wait until next year!!