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A Reader of Fictions: KC and the Sunshine Chats (3): Preparing for BEA

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

KC and the Sunshine Chats (3): Preparing for BEA

Around the book blog world, there are a lot of awesome discussion post groups, like Book Girls Don’t Cry, They Vent or Reviewer’s Roundtable. The ironically named KC and the Sunshine Chats was born out of a wish to be part of the fun. However, we wanted to mix things up and instead of posting individual discussion posts, we’ll chat back and forth in one post, alternating which blog the post will appear on. We don’t have a set schedule for these, but will probably post one or two a month.

We do know the name is silly, but this is Kara and Christina and we are silly. :)

As some of you may know, both Kara and I are going to BEA this year, and we’re going to have a freaking blast. I went to BEA last year, but this is Kara’s first time going, so, for today’s chat, we’re going to be a bit more interrogation-y as Kara asks whatever she wants about the BEA experience and garners my wisdom.

"I flatter myself."

CF: So, Kara, what would you like to know about BEA?

KM: So many things. You are my Yoda. First of all, what kind of luggage do you bring? One piece or two? What do you take to BEA as far as luggage and totes go? I think I have this figured out, but I just want to make sure I bring enough. I will be shipping my books from the post office (which I will follow you to, I am sure), but I need something to put my books in when I am there. So, what’s the deal with luggage?

CF: Okay, well, first thing you should know is that you can check bags at the conference center for two dollars. Last year, I was all “I don’t need to spend that money,” so I didn’t. Well, guess what? I’m planning to check my rolly bag this year, at least on the first day. Books are HEAVY. If you check the bag, you can go there every so often and dump books off. There’s no need to take any tote bags because plenty of free ones are being given out. I took a backpack last year, so that the weight would be distributed better, but I might not bother since I’m checking a bag. Please note, though, that rolling bags are not allowed onto the exhibition floor!

KM: Good to know about the tote bags! I was planning to bring one but now I don’t need to! That’s more room for other stuff! I was already planning to check a bag at the conference and two bucks is cheap! I am good to go on that.

Next: I’m really interested in knowing how the expo floor is organized. It seems like it would be very disorganized. Is it hard to find all the publishers and do ARCs disappear before you get there? Also, how do you know when there is an ARC drop? How does the autographing area work? Do the authors have the books there with them? Can you just grab books at the publisher booths or do you have to ask?

CF: This is many questions.

1) The floor is organized by number, so if you know the number of a booth, it’s not too hard to find. The big 6 were all clustered together, so they were easy enough to locate. I did miss a signing at Flux, though, because I couldn’t find the freaking booth, so, without the number, they can mysteriously disappear. There’s also a separate area for autographing. It was in the back left of the exhibition hall. Events and talks took place downstairs in rooms, but I honestly didn’t do much of that.

2) ARC drops vary. Penguin had flyers listing when they would be dropping certain titles. I don’t think I saw anything like that from the others, so it was a matter of luck. If you want to know and there aren’t any signs/flyers, ask one of the reps at the booth, and they might tell you. Also, Penguin had more than one drop for most books, so just because you miss one, doesn’t mean you can’t still get it. I think I only missed one of their drops last year (The Innocents - lucky!)

3) The Autographing Area is just a bunch of lines. They ask that you love a dollar per book that you pick up there, since these tend to be nice finished copies. Probably easier to just drop all the money at once, rather than singles per-book since I would feel weird with that many ones. The lines tend to form ahead of time, so if you want a quick wait for a big title, get there early. They also sometimes ran out before the end of the line or ran out of signing time, since there’s generally someone who needs that space.
The Autograph Area Lines
At signings, the authors (well, their reps) have the books and they are free (aside from the request for donation). If you wanted to bring a book, I imagine they would sign that too, but I’m not sure.

4) You can’t just grab EVERYTHING at the publisher booths. They generally have display copies around, and those are not for the taking. However, if you see a pile of ARCs on the floor or a table, those are free for the taking. If you’re not sure, then ask a publisher representative politely. Display copies might be given away on the last day, but I left before that happened. It did happen at ALA. They generally don’t want to cart anything back.

KM: Wow. This is a lot of info. It’s also very good info. I figured there would be display copies. What I was concerned about is getting my hand slapped if I grabbed something from a pile without asking. Looks like that doesn’t happen there. So yay!

Is there time after the day is done to do other stuff? Do you always stay there until the very end? It closes at 5, right? Did you do any sightseeing when you were there last year? I’d like to see Central Park and Times Square at least while I am there. Is there time enough for that?

CF: BEA does close up at 5 PM, so there is time to get stuff done, though you will be rather tired. I did leave earlier on the last day (so early I got standby to an earlier flight home), and I think on one other day. I pretty much left when I had gotten to the signings I wanted to attend. Sure, I could have wandered more, but I was tired. There should be time to get to those, but it depends how much walking you can handle on a given day.

KM: Not much, honestly. And my feet do tire easily. I will try to stick it out for as long as I can but I am not going to kill myself. If I can’t do it, I can’t. It’s my first time in NYC so I wanted to see some of this stuff but maybe it would be better saved for another trip. I don’t want to get sick, and my immune system is WHACK.

What about food? I’ve heard that food at Javits is pricey but I would bet it’s pricey everywhere. So what did you do for meals?

CF: Well, the first day, I accidentally skipped eating and felt like I was going to faint. Don’t do that. I had some nuts, two pieces of chocolate and a cookie acquired throughout the day. Eat a good breakfast and stop for lunch. There is food at Javits and it’s sort of airport prices, because they know you’re trapped. I ate there one day, and I was okay with a 7 dollar giant baked potato, since they’re super filling. You could always bring a lunch or snacks with you, though then you have to carry them.

KM: I will probably just eat there or nearby. But I will definitely eat as I am hypoglycemic and my blood sugar gets pretty bad and I get shaky. I haven’t passed out yet, and I don’t want to start now.

Shoes and clothes. I am concerned about what kind of shoes to wear. I have a pair of comfy shoes, and I think I am just going to roll with those, but how did you dress? I’ve heard business casual is the way to go but I saw lots of bloggers in dresses, and they are so cute, but totally not me. Though I have one I could bring. Basically, I want to know what clothes and shoes you brought.

CF: I’m really wishing I could remember what shoes I wore last year. I think ballet flats. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, because you’re going to be walking ALL the time. You can sit in some signing lines, but otherwise on your feet all the time. I wore a lot of dresses and skirts, ranging from casual to fairly professional, mostly because I like an excuse to dress up. I maybe wouldn’t wear jeans, but you could probably get away with it. I’ll probably dress the same this year, but I might wear flip flops, because they really are most comfortable to me, though I don’t know because some people are mortally offended by them, which I totally do not get.

KM: I would love to be able to wear flip flops. But I can’t wear them for very long because I need a shoe that makes me have an arch do to my flat ass feet. I won’t wear jeans. But I was wondering if I could get by with khaki pants and it looks like I can, so yay. I don’t feel comfy in dresses because I hate my legs. I know, I’m weird. But I’d rather wear pants or cute shorts. Is it okay to wear dressy shorts if I can find any?

CF: I have really high arches, and I like flip flops because they mold to my feet. Or I’ll suffer with my less comfy ballet flats. We’ll see on that. My mind is sort of boggling at the idea of dressy shorts, but maybe? BEA isn’t packed with fashion plates. There are some women who have no fucks to give about clothing.

KM: LOL! You don’t know me. I can make anything dressy with the right shoes and accessories. :D Ah yes. Sweatpants and spandex. The fashion statement of women with no fucks to give.

CF: Well, not quite THAT bad, but...plenty of floral monstrosities.

KM: Bahaha. That’s almost just as bad. Grandma pants. YES!

I’ve heard the third day isn’t really necessary to go to. Would that be a good sightseeing day or did you go for all three days?

CF: This will depend on you. Look at the list of signings on that day and see if they are ones you can live without. Likely, you will at least want to leave earlier on the final day, so that probably would be good for sightseeing. I did go on day three, but I think I was done by 12.

KM: Good to know. I think this is probably what I will end up doing because I’d bet I will be sick of Javits by then, but we’ll see.

I’m sure everybody wants to know about transportation and so do I. How often did you use cabs versus public transportation, and how the hell do you read those transit maps and schedules?

CF: I am not much help here, sadly. I only took the buses/trains with my friend who lives in New York, so I am just as stymied as you are. *trembles* I cabbed back and forth to BEA last year, since my friend’s apartment is in the Upper East Side and going by public transit would have been 45 minutes at least each way. Yellow cabs are nice because they charge a flat rate. I wouldn’t recommend getting in one of the non-yellow-cabs. I hear they overcharge and they seem really shady. Be warned that catching a cab at about 5 from Javits is really difficult, and there are some directions they refuse to go because that’s cabbie shift change (like over bridges). You might want to plan to eat somewhere walkable afterwards or head to the post office to ship books, and give traffic time to settle down.

KM: You do know want to get in the unsanctioned cabs in ANY city, believe me. They are just as bad in Orlando. Though for people that don’t know anything about cabs, please remember that!

I can do that. I will probably be hungry and want to ship my books anyway, so maybe we can all hang out because we are going to be at the same hotel.

CF: And, to warn you guys, those guys KNOW that it’s hard to get yellow cabs outside of the Javits at around 5 and they will hassle you to get in. I was waiting to cross the street and this one guy kept badgering me to get in his black car. I don’t THINK so.

KM: Oh, FFS. So basically they are hawking their wares outside the conference center. SUCKY. Well, I can be plenty rude so hang with me. :D We’ll both have to put on our bus faces. LOL.

CF: Haha, being rude to those guys is not a problem I have. I’m pretty sure I finally had to go “Hell no would I get in your car.”

KM: Go Christina. I hope I get the chance to see this side of you there. So...

Are bloggers really that grabby there? I heard someone got bit last year. Is it really that crazy?

CF: Well, I didn’t personally get bit or bite anyone. (KM: I hope you didn’t bite anyone, bahaha!) I didn’t see any particularly questionable behavior. You probably will get shoved and stepped on when you head for a drop of something good, but that’s generally accidental. There are a lot of accidental bumps/shoves, because everyone’s way wider than they are used to, because of the tote bags full of books, and there are just tons of people around the popular booths. Things do get snapped up quickly, but, for the most part, any rudeness seemed unintentional. I, for example, accidentally cut in a line last year, because there was a huge gap. I apologized profusely and started to head to the back, but they told me to stay. If someone does something they shouldn’t, politely see if they know they’ve just caused a problem. The lines can be really confusing, so don’t assume they’re trying to be a jerk.

KM: Will do. I am going to try to be on my nice behavior those days. Not exactly easy for me, but I know that if I have a bad attitude, bad shit will keep happening and I need to be sweet for my anxiety. LOL.

CF: And at least you will be running around with your friends. I was all alone last year, so I expect it to be much better now!

One last piece of advice: everything at BEA takes longer than you think. When you look at the list of signings, you will probably want to go to several an hour. You probably can’t, unless you just go for the small authors. The multi-author signings begin to line up about an hour before the signing, as do big authors, like John Green, Kristin Cashore, Melissa Marr.

KM: Good to know, considering I wanted to go to the Maria V. Snyder signing and she is pretty popular. I don’t get too crazy over the authors like some bloggers do. For me it is all about the books, so I will probably just go to the signings you guys go to, other than Maria. But I am sure this is helpful for almost everyone else that is going.

CF: Basically, you have to sort out your priorities. Know what you want most and make sure you get that. Go for the other things as time permits. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

KM: Peace out, biznatches! :D

If you’re going to BEA and have any other questions or advice, leave them in the comments! If you’re not going to BEA, sorry but there’s always next year! If you have any suggestions for future Sunshine Chats, let us know in the comments, because we would love to accommodate you.



Blogger Lynn K. said...

Have a good time, ladies!

Everything sounds so foreign because nothing like that ever happens here and the cab system is totally different. o__o

P.S. Christina, you'll have to teach us how to pronounce Kara's last name after this. xD

April 24, 2013 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

Excellent round up of BEA!

Last year I wore flip flops on the last day and I wish I would have done that for all the days. So much more comfortable!

I also recommend getting to BEA early each day to check your bag in the upstairs baggage place rather than the downstairs one. It'll save you a trip up and down the stairs and I think the one upstairs was better monitored. And definitely yes to not bringing your suitcase on to the floor :)

I didn't personally witness it but when I was in line for a signing some girls were talking about a kerfuffle over Beta on the first day but that was really the only thing I heard about.

I think BEA prefers that you do not bring your own books to the author signings because they want to keep the line moving and that slows it down. I don't think they would say anything though if you brought a book or two but I wouldn't recommend bringing an entire collection of books.

I'm so bummed I'm not going this year but you guys will have lots of fun!!!

April 24, 2013 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh geez. I'm terrible at pronouncing names, particularly Kara's names. We'll have to have her do a lesson. Haha.

How does the cab system work?

April 24, 2013 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awesome! I think I will wear flip flops then. I mean, what can they do to me really?

Oooh, okay. Upstairs baggage check. Got it. Getting there early makes sense too, because they got really full!

Over Beta? Really? Most people hated that book. Ironic that.

Well, I was thinking if you had a finished copy of the book they were signing, you could bring it instead, but I doubt they'd be fans of other books, and certainly not more than like one.

Awww, you're not going? *pouts*

April 24, 2013 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Ann Kristin said...

I recommend sneakers, it saved my feet last year (along with some foot soothing cream from Lush). Also recommend getting in line early for the entrance, the line starts at 7am and grows quickly.
Have you heard about the shuttles BEA arranges? When you get the welcome packet, there should be a list of shuttle stops (most near hotels in NY). The shuttle is free and stops right outside Javits, it's very convenient. :)

April 24, 2013 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, I would maybe wear sneakers, but I just can't stand to wear them with my cute skirts and things. Vanity is a weakness, but it's mine. Also, flip flops are generally more comfortable to me than sneakers. I'm weird, I know.

I've not heard about the shuttles. I was staying with a friend last year, and our hotel is in Jersey this year. Good to know though!

April 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Great post ladies!! I wish I was going!! Maybe next year. *sigh* You girls are going to have such a blast.

April 24, 2013 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

You should just come. :-p

April 24, 2013 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

I hate this post. It makes me want to cry. Though it also makes me feel like the whole thing is pretty overwhelming, I'm not huge on crowds and it seems this event brings out some crazies. I will be thinking of you ladies and living vicariously through you! I hope you guys have a blast and Kara it seems like you are very well prepared now!

April 24, 2013 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

I remember that there are some places to eat near the Javits center but outside it but none are super good :P When I was there for comic-con, we went to a nearby pizza place that was certainly cheaper than the Center proper. I also always carried a granola bar with me in case.

Have all the fun!

April 24, 2013 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Amber (Books of Amber) said...

I'm going to have to wait until I'm rich, so while I wait I shall sit here and live vicariously through you two and all the other lucky people who are going this year!

April 24, 2013 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Really great post! Thank you so much. :) I'm going to BEA for the first time this year and this post was sooo helpful. :)

April 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Hi, Lynn! It's Mal-in-zak. Pretty simple and the way it looks! :D

April 24, 2013 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Thanks for this info! I will add it to my brain arsenal!

April 24, 2013 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Giselle said...

Such a helpful post ladies I felt so lost and some of these question I would not have thought to ask and would have been left clueless and lost haha--low how the heck I was going to hold all those books all day! I'm more excited about authors and meeting others bloggers than the books for me because NO ONE ever comes here. I have never met an author in my life so to me they're all untouchable movie stars that I'll probably fangirl over (in my head, don't worry!). So excited to be going with you all--especially Christina that will be our mother for the week and coach (or scold) us on what the fuck we got ourselves into! :D

April 24, 2013 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I really hope I never have to go to BEA...I don't think I could handle the stress and overwhelming-ness of it. Too many books!

April 24, 2013 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Lush rules my world. I am the earth and Lush is the sun. Especially their Freeze body wash. I use it for EVERYTHING.

Huh. Will have to look into the shuttles. I am staying with Christina in NJ but maybe we could save money having a cab drop us off at a shuttle spot?

April 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I wish you were coming, Amy!

April 24, 2013 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Haha. I am never well prepared. :D I wish you were going, Jenni!

April 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Thanks, Casey! I am sure we will figure something out.

April 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I am so far from rich it's ridiculous! You just have to save if you want to do it!

April 24, 2013 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I hope to see you there, Ashley!

April 24, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm pretty sure Amber's from the UK, so she would have to be a good deal richer to make it. :-p

April 24, 2013 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, yeah, I'm probably just going to eat there or take snacks, because I will not want to be doing extra walking!

April 24, 2013 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

LOL Christina will totally be the mother hen. I see that too. I just thought about asking all the questions I rarely see answered, to be honest. There is a lot of great information out there, but I still have those little things that niggle me that I need answered as someone who likes to know it all before I go. I'm glad I got that taken care of!

I am so glad to be going with all of you too!

April 24, 2013 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Don't cry, Jenni! We still love you, even if you hate us and refuse to come play.

April 24, 2013 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

LOL haha. I thought that too until the opportunity for me to go came up. I took it! :D

April 24, 2013 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yay! Hope we run into each other (not literally, though)!

April 24, 2013 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

*lols forever at the idea of me as any kind of mother* I don't think so. That's why I wanted Kara to ask me questions: so I would know what would actually be helpful to a BEA newbie.

April 24, 2013 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger AnimeJune said...

One thing I'm doing, since I'm from Canada, is packing an EMPTY suitcase into my larger one. It's cheaper to fill it with books and claim an extra suitcase on the return flight than to ship them all ground rate across international borders. I'd recommend this to any other international or overseas visitors to BEA.

April 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM  
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April 25, 2013 at 4:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ridiculous but cool name. ;) And argh, just reading this interrogation makes me want to bawl my eyes out because I'm missing out on BEA for yet another year. I guess you could cut me some slack because I don't even live in the same country, and I'm still in school, but oh well.

Oh my gosh. Violence at a BOOK conference! Bahaha. I guess we book-people can get pretty crazy. Hope you two don't get bitten or stomped on or shoved away on purpose by anyone! Those cab drivers should really just take the hint before they face the wrath of both Christina and Kara combined!

You gave some great tips, Christina. Now I shall be prepared when - WHEN - I get the chance to go to BEA! Thanks!

April 25, 2013 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Micheline D said...

Wow, this was incredibly helpful! Thanks SO much for posting this ladies!! Tons of this stuff I wouldn't have thought of and then been totally lost once there. I wanted to wear flip-flops, but I'm scared of getting my toes murdered by other peeps stepping on them. Thing is as far as comfy shoes go, it's that or sneakers. I might have some comfy flat shoes but gawd knows how comfy they'll be after HOURS standing up like that o.O I wonder if dressy capri pants would be ok too but then if I rock sneakers...that's BAD. No floral monstrosities for me that's for sure LOL

The signing and layout bits were really helpful too! Like Giselle, authors are kind of like rock stars to me too so there are a few I'd especially want to meet - Maria V. Snyder being on of them :D So exciting anyways, can't wait to be there & meet everyone!!

Thanks again ladies, this was brilliant.

ps-don't know where the fuck I've been (under a rock I guess) with this KC & the Sunshine Chats, but I have some catching up to do >.<

April 26, 2013 at 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They might have buses from the convention center, possibly? I know that they arranged buses during ALA Seattle. We just walked, EVERYWHERE. I never want to do that again. It's horrible being poor, haha. Also, yes, the walking thing. We had plans to go out during the evenings but we were so beat we just came home and died. I'm excited for you guys! Have fun!

April 26, 2013 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Jen Ryland/YA Romantics said...

LOL -- I think I came home with about fifteen tote bags last year. They're everywhere!

As for food, I say eat breakfast for sure and then bring snacks. The food in the Javits is underwhelming and expensive and you can't just walk outside the Javits and find food -- about the only place in NYC this is true. If anyone gets low blood sugar just tweet me, I will have a handbag full of yummy snacks.

The shuttle is excellent and there is also a cross-town bus that stops right outside and will take you east to the subways etc. It did save me some $ on cab fare.

"Sort out your priorities and then have fun" is the best advice of all. Study the schedule and make a plan but then be flexible and just enjoy yourself.

Christina, I look forward to seeing you again, and maybe I'll also see Kara, Giselle, and Ashley :)

April 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM  

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