Yes I went to BEA last week… and it was awesome! It definitely was a mix of exactly what I expected, and a lot of things I didn’t expect. I’ll share my brief experience here – since I only went for the one day – and offer any tips for future conventions. I have to say that the best part for me was getting to meet bloggers in person and spend time with them! Definitely more exciting and fun than getting the books. Before BEA, I started talking to Alyssa about the fact that we’re both from/live in the same state. I found out that Brittany and Amy – you know the famous OTSP trio – were going to be coming up to stay with her for the weekend. They were only going to BEA on Friday; it was perfect for me because I wasn’t fully ready for the full three days yet and didn’t want to go alone.
Earliest Wake Up of All Time
I woke up at 3:45 in the morning to shower and get ready, which felt insane. I left my apartment at 4:30 to make sure I got to Alyssa’s for 5:00 so we could get our asses in gear. It was so great to meet the three of them! Brittany is someone I’ve always talked to on Twitter, Alyssa and I started texting and talking within the past month, and Amy is the person I have for Secret Sister! (Don’t worry, I did the reveal first thing in the morning so this post isn’t ruining the surprise lol) So clearly I was excited to spend the day with these three BEA veterans. Obviously we started out with coffee and breakfast, grabbed the train at 6:30 in New Haven, and headed into the city!
I was kind of in awe of the Javits – I really wish I got more pictures of it! I took one (above left) when we first walked in. The registration table was on the right and lots of people were lining up everywhere to get inside. We got upstairs after grabbing our badges and lined up to get in the exhibit hall (above right). When we got there, we roamed around the floor to see if there were any early galleys around. I grabbed Illuminae right off the bat – hardcover ARC… crazy!
Leigh Bardugo Signing
To be honest, the literal only thing we cared about was meeting Leigh Bardugo and snagging Six of Crows. I mean, duh. This was the first author I was going to meet EVER, by the way. After walking around the floor for a few minutes, we headed to the autographing section to get in line. It was already pretty long at 9:15 and the signing wasn’t until 10:30. We ended up being numbers 36-39(ish) in line and they only had 100 ARCs to be signed. We breathed a sigh of relief and prepared to sit and wait (see picture). Once it hit 10:30, we stood up and got excited. They let a line of people get into the chute/line in front of her, but then it stopped moving for a while and we got confused. Apparently there were about 40ish people who had “avid reader passes” and were able to cut the line. A rep from Macmillan came over and said that two out of the three lines of people wouldn’t be getting a copy of the book, even though they waited for a while. They counted us off again (this time I think I was 17, so we knew we were fine) and told everyone else they were SOL. Needless to say, people were not happy. One lady got a littttle crazy and incredibly rude, pointing her finger and yelling at the messenger. We ended up moving into the next line and missed some of the yelling, but I heard it didn’t get any better. I understand that people would be upset that they couldn’t get the book after waiting for so long, but you have to stay calm and try to be understanding. Anyways, I was so excited and nervous to get to the front! She was really nice and excited when I told her that she was the first author I’d ever met. She signed my book, we chatted for a second, and I moved along. We heard people talking about the signing drama for the rest of the day, so that was pretty interesting…
Roaming Around the Javits
We didn’t have any plan for the rest of the day because our biggest goal was achieved right off the bat. We grabbed a few more books on and off throughout the rest of the day (see picture on the right) and walked around. Amy and Alyssa waited in line and met Mindy Kaling while Brittany and I roamed a bit. It was so awesome to meet a lot of bloggers I’ve followed for the past year. I ran into Jess, Alexa, Kelly, Andi, Sarah (who has ME for OTSP secret sister!), Nicole, Kristina, Lindsey, Asheley, and more! We also saw a lot of them later at our little meetup later on, so we were able to chat a bit more. I was really excited about the books I ended up with! I wasn’t sure what to expect or even what books were available, so I did pretty well for one day at BEA. Aside from the two I mentioned, I ended up with The Scorpion Rules, Zeroes, Until We Meet Again, Juniors, Walk on Earth a Stranger, and Newt’s Emerald. We were pretty much all set there around 3:00, once Alyssa and Amy were done with the Mindy line, so we decided to move on out of there. Alyssa, Amy, and Brittany were all surprised at the lack of crazy crowds and people. They said that usually it’s much more busy and intense. It worked out pretty well for my first BEA, because I wasn’t completly overwhelemed. I was expecting insanity and ended up with only some mild craziness 😉
Bryant Park Meetup & Heading Home
We trekked from Javits to Bryant Park, grabbing some food on the way. We were unbearably hungry at that point after eating nothing but a couple of snacks through the entire day. The plan was to meet up with a number of bloggers in the park, maybe eat some food, and possibly hit The Strand. We all just ended up sitting there and chatting a bit. Some more bloggers (in addition to the ones I already mentioned) – like Jamie, Laura, Danielle, Lindsey, Estelle, and mooooore – came by and hung out for a while. Everyone slowly headed out to get food and we debated what to do next. We were pretty exhausted at that point and already pretty close to Grand Central, so we decided to head home. We got cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in the train station – LITERALLY LIFECHANGING – and made it in time for the 8:30 train. We got back to the New Haven station before 11:00 and I headed home after we got back to Alyssa’s. My day that started at 3:45AM ended at midnight. Looooong, exciting day.
Things I Learned and/or Will Do Better Next Time
- Take pictures, especially with bloggers you were excited to see. I really regret not having more pictures to share! These are the only ones I took. I wish I got photos of the actual booths and exhibits, as well as many more with the bloggers. We took one at the end of the day before heading home (thanks for the excellent photo, Estelle!), but otherwise I was fairly camera shy. Lindsey and I took one (on her phone, not in this post obviously), which was awesome. I just wish I felt more comfortable to just ask people for pictures.
- Bring a portable phone charger and wear comfortable shoes. These are definitely two must-haves. I wore my favorite, most comfortable pair of flats; I also packed flip flops for the second half of the day. I brought a portable phone charger because it’s crazy how quick your battery can go – between scrolling on your phone to see where people are, killing time in signing lines, and travelling on the train, you can definitely use a lot of battery. The portable charger definitely saved my life.
- Introduce yourself and your blog. Don’t feel weird about it! Staring at people’s badges to see where they blog is COMMON. I did this to a lot of people, and countless people looked at mine and said “OH YEAH I’ve talked to you on Twitter!” It’s definitely not easy to put a face to the name; I promise that everyone’s doing it. There were a few people I recognized but felt weird going up to them and saying something. I should have just gone up, introduced myself by way of my blog name, and gone from there.
- Have a plan if you really want one. Honestly, we winged it. We had the one thing we really wanted to do, and roamed around the rest of the time. Whatever works for you! I’m not an ARC-crazy person, so I didn’t feel the need to stalk a lot of booths or wait in a lot of lines. I got what I wanted and relaxed. It was a lot easier that way. Maybe I’d be bit more regimented if I stayed longer and had more time to schedule it all out (this seems a little opposite of what you’d think lol).