I just completed my first BEA — Book Expo America– and it was just as overwhelming as I expected. For weeks I received links to panels and events and autograph signing schedules and I was completely blown away by it all. I had no idea what to plan or how to plan so I decided that I would just get there and figure it out.
Three days later, I think I can say I did. Maybe.
First, the exhibit floor was massive with rows and rows and rows of exhibitors. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t even see them all. I was too busy standing in line.
Yep, you heard me right. BEA is all about standing in line.
No we didn’t have to stand in line to see Olivia. She was just wandering the aisles.
This photo doesn’t give a good picture of the number of lines and the lengths of some of those lines. This was taken on the last morning so the conference had thinned out quite a bit. There were twenty-some-odd lines to get autographs from a vast array of authors. This photo was taken in the autographing section of the hall, but some authors signed in their publisher’s booths. Like Alle Conde signing CROSSED.
My daughter can thank me later with all those chores I ask her to do.
But the majority of the authors signed at the tables and had thirty to sixty minutes to sign autographs on their books, which they handed out as long as they had copies — or ran out of time. I was lucky enough to get signed books from Courtney Allison Moulton, Scott Tracey, Lisa McMann, and one of my favorites:
David Ezra Stein with his book Interrupting Chicken. God love him, he was gracious enough to take a picture with my second grade daughter’s Flat Stanley.
But even with all the basking in the presence of some awesome authors, the highlights of my BEA experience were the YA and MG Buzz Editor Panel discussions. The editors picked the “buzz” books coming out in the fall and then told the audience why they picked them and what excited them about the books.
YA Buzz Books:
*Au Revoir Crazy European Chick is the book I’m dying to read but didn’t get an ARC of. It’s described as Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita.
MG Buzz Books
The Unwanteds is the MG book I can’t wait to read ,and thankfully, I have TWO ARCs, one signed to my nephews. 🙂 This book is being described as Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.
BEA was an awesomely overwhelming experience but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. After spending a day wandering around trying not to look like an idiot, I started to get an idea of how it all worked. By the end, I knew where all the major publishers were, the locations of the stages and where to find the panels. With all of this new confidence, the next time I come back I think I’ll know what I’m doing. Maybe.