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A Reader of Fictions: BEA Adventures

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, June 10, 2012

BEA Adventures

As you probably already know, I took the last week off from work, from reading, from blogging, and made the trip to New York City for BEA (Book Expo America). I flew up on Saturday (though the conference itself did not begin until Tuesday) and stayed with a friend who lives on the East Side, many, many blocks from the Javits Center. On Saturday and Sunday, I partied with my friend, and I'll spare you the details of that, both because I'm not really all that interesting myself, and because it doesn't have anything to do with books. If you want to know more, you can totally tweet me about it though.

Monday, or How I Made Some Blogging Friends:
I decided to attend BBC (Book Blogger Con) on the last day when tickets could still be purchased at a reduced rate. It seemed like a good chance for networking, and would also give me a dry run at locating the Javits and navigating around the building (which, by the way, is totally labyrinthine).

The complimentary breakfast was a choice between a bagel or a muffin, accompanied pretty much solely by coffee. Since I don't like coffee, I poured myself cups of the milk that was intended to be used for the coffee and ate a bagel. I chose to sit at the table for Jenny Han. We also got to talk briefly (the authors were speed dating with the bloggers) with Tricia Rayburn and one other author. You'll have to pardon my completely awful memory. Lunch, too, had this speed dating with authors, and, for that meal, I was at a table with authors I was completely unfamiliar with, although they were all very nice, despite my inability to recall their names now. There were basically two tables for YA authors, and a zillion YA bloggers, so, for some odd reason, those filled up fast.
Jenny Han at the Author Breakfast

Other than the meals, the day was primarily speakers and panels. Jennifer Weiner was the opening speaker. Her speech was pretty amusing, although not too much about blogging particularly, and more about her personal struggles and successes. Anyway, I got the definitely feeling that she uses that speech frequently, throwing in a couple different slides depending on the audience. I was super uncomfortable the whole time, because I really wanted to turn my chair, but the folding chairs in the Javits require Herculean effort to move. I don't know why, but this is true facts.

My favorite panel was the one on critical reviews. Basically, we all should be honest, but avoid libel. I think I'm good for the most part, except maybe that one review where I said that if Jane Austen really were a vampire, then she would totally murder a particular author. That might have been crossing a line. :-p The discussion was fantastic, except for one obnoxious man who will not be getting any favorable reviews from us.

The other panel I attended was on demystifying the publisher/blogger relationship. Honestly, though it was interesting, I am just as confused as I was before. Perhaps if I hadn't been too afraid of offending people and had asked the things I really wanted to know, I would have learned something. Oh well. In case you're curious, what I want to know is this: 1) If publishers supposedly like honest reviews so much, why do bloggers who rarely give reviews below a four seem to always get twenty books a week? and 2) Why do publishers send some bloggers multiple copies of a single title, rather than spreading them out? Also, why do they send books without asking, meaning that some books immediately get thrown out or passed on? This seems like a waste to me. If anyone knows, I would love to understand.

The closing address was Jenny Lawson, who is completely hilarious and awesome. I really should be reading The Bloggess. I snagged a copy of her (mostly true) memoir and got her to sign it. Very excited to read it. :D

Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess

All in all, it was good, but I don't think I'll ever go again. I really don't feel like it was worth the money. However, I did make some lovely friends in a group of Virginia bloggers, so that was awesome. They were definitely some of my favorite people as I went around the conference.

Tuesday, or, How I Would Have Died Without Fake Steph
One of the awesome bloggers I met on Monday was Steph, the blogger behind The Fake Steph. We already followed each others blogs and she was one of the people I was hoping to run into (I'll have a list of awesome people I met at the end of the post with links and all that jazz, but Steph gets a link now, because she did an awesome favor for me, namely let me put some books in her checked bag (at the Javits...this is not about airplanes).

Anyway, I realized pretty much first thing that my schedule for BEA was exceedingly optimistic. I had this giant list of signings I wanted to maybe go to, multiple for most half hours. Yeah, so not happening. You could pretty much get to one signing an hour, unless it was a big one. For some, you needed at least two hours, like the Pitch Dark Days Signing, the HarlequinTeen signing on Thursday, the Chris Colfer signing or Melissa Marr's Carnival of Souls. Thing the first to know about BEA: the lines are ridic.

I picked up most of the books I wanted on Tuesday (35), and it was seriously heavy. I spent all of my time on the floor, and totally forgot to eat breakfast or lunch (bad plan).

From 3-5, I was at the Apocalypsies event, where I met every single one of them that was at BEA. That was awesome, and they're all SO NICE. Some of them even knew who I was, which was just totally mind-blowing. They also gave me some of my only sustenance of the day (a cookie). Also, look how pretty they are!

The Audies, or, How Neil Gaiman Gave Me a Hug
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Audie Awards, which was pretty freaking cool, and definitely the fanciest party I've ever been to. I really wish I'd had a camera, but it didn't fit in my clutch purse.

There was an open bar, which is super awesome, although I probably should have been more mindful of how little I'd had to eat that day. Thankfully, my German heritage was up to the challenge.

I met some lovely folks from HarperCollins Audio and Tantor Audio, and made some friends who were also there solo (always an awkward prospect). The highlight of the whole thing of course was that Neil Gaiman gave me a hug (or half of one, while also balancing a plate of food). Yes, I have showered since, because I don't want that to be the last hug of my life. I was totally starstruck for like an hour afterwards.

The awards themselves were interesting, but I don't have much to say on that score, since you can totally look up the winners yourselves. Anyway, the main thing I took away from that is that I should definitely listen to Bossypants, because Tina Fey is the best ever (so knew that).

Wednesday and Thursday, or, How I Got MORE Books
Wednesday morning, I attended the Random House Power Readers breakfast, which was super fancy and awesome. Unfortunately, I was totally feeling sick, so I couldn't really eat any of the delicious food, which still totally makes me want to cry. I was even thinking I might have to miss BEA that day, but I did start feeling better, thank Zeus. Anyway, thanks to the wonderful folks at Random House!

Honestly, I feel like I've given way too many details already, so I'm going to condense this down and say that I got more books and it was awesome. I do want to do a shout out to the amazingness of bloggers, librarians and authors, though. Three books I got I would not have managed to procure were it not for the magnanimous natures of people I met, so I want to take the time to thank them properly.

At one point on Tuesday, I could not walk anymore, so I headed for the Russia booth, because I knew they had chairs (red, of course). A man started talking to me, and we had a lovely conversation, during which he offered me one of his extra copies of Barbara Kingsolver's latest. Did I want it, he asked? Umm, hell yes! I adore Kingsolver's work. Thanks Brad!

Waiting in line for Prodigy, I was talking to an educator in line behind me. She had made it to the HarlequinTeen signing that day (Wednesday...the line was too long for me to get to that one, although I made it to the previous day's) and she didn't want Pushing the Limits, which was the book I most wanted, so she gave it to me. Thank you very much, Lanna!


On Thursday, waiting in line for a book (I don't remember which), I started talking to Donna, who was in line behind me. We were talking about various signings and things we'd been to, and she mentioned that she had multiple copies of The Fault in Our Stars. She is the sweetest because she let me have one, and I am under strict orders not to give it away, which so would never happen. I love John Green, but it was ticketed and I did not have a ticket. Donna, you rock. Also, you can check out her blog here.

Who I Met (and Remember)
April of Good Books and Good Wine: http://www.goodbooksandgoodwine.com/
Steph of The Fake Steph: http://www.thefakesteph.com/
Kim of On the Wings of Books: www.onthewingsofbooks.com/
Kate of Midnight Book Girl: http://www.midnightbookgirl.com/
Nicole of Nicole About Town: www.nicoleabouttown.com/
Tara of Hobbitsies: http://hobbitsies.net/wordpress/
Aly of My Heart Hearts Books: http://myheartheartsbooks.blogspot.com/
Anna of Anna Reads Books: http://www.annareads.com/
Brad of Film Festival Traveler: http://filmfestivaltraveler.com/
Olivia of The Reading Enchantress: www.thereadingenchantress.blogspot.com/
Donna of First Novels Club: http://www.firstnovelsclub.com/
Kassia of The Fictionators: www.fictionators.com/
Some of the Apocalypsies: http://apocalypsies.blogspot.com/

What I Got
Assuming my boxes arrive safely, my book haul is (I think) 55. Awesome, right? I tried to be selective or it could have been more. 12 came home in my carry-ons, so you can see those on today's On My New Arrivals Shelf post. :)


Blogger Kat said...

Dude! Sounds like you had an amazing time - so jealous ;-)

Can't wait to see the goodies you picked up. And glad to see your German heritage served you well!

June 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Audrey (Bibliosaurus Text) said...

I really wish I would have run into you! I was bummed that I didn't, even though we were both at the Apocalypsies event and the RH Power Readers Breakfast. (Sorry you felt sick for that.) Maybe we can meet up in the future at something. Are you going to ALA?

June 10, 2012 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Awww, it sounds like you had so much fun! And I'm so jealous you got to meet Neil Gaiman. Woot! I can't wait to see your book stash! I'm hoping I can make it next year. I really am. I'm worried about the crowds because I don't do well in them, but I'll try. I think. I'm glad you are back though. I missed the sh*t out of you.

June 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Neil Gaiman hugged you?! What?! Ahhh! haha.

Also, yay Apocalypsies! I have holds on tons of those books :)

It sounds like you had a super fun, busy week! I can't wait to see your haul!

I really don't think I used enough exclamation marks. !!! There, that's enough.

June 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger April (BooksandWine) said...

I am dying of jealousy as per the bit about Neil Gaiman. OH MY GOD. JEALOUS!

So I met you for all of five minutes and that was awesome.

Also I am glad to see someone who will actually read all of their BEA books get a decent sized stack.

June 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Blook Girl said...

Wow! What a fabulous time you had!! I want to hear more about the Blogger Conference. It seems not too many were happy with it. I think it may have been you (my memory!!) who said they felt like lunch meat for the authors.

I'm glad the rest of your visit went well, though. I am SO psyched for next year! I'm gonna have to work on my physical issues, though, if I think I'm gonna stand in lines all day o.O My foot/leg may fall off!

I cannot WAIT to see all of the books you acquired! 55!!! I think I may bring one or two empty suitcases with me next year. LOL.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! <333

June 10, 2012 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

BEA was amazing. I came back so exhausted, but the weekend has helped me recover.

My German heritage has helped me so many times. :)

June 10, 2012 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I know! I was so hoping I would meet you! Man, I can't believe I missed you at RH, but I definitely wasn't at my most social then. Boo!

I'm not going to ALA this year. Next year, I'll probably do BEA again or ALA in Chicago, though!

June 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

AWWWW, honey, I missed you too. It's too bad you couldn't be there.

I'm not going to lie. The crowds were insane. I'm super not a crowd person either. The signing lines are actually almost nice, just so you can 1) sit and 2) be out of the shoving. I just focused on the books and building a tote bag barrier around myself.

June 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

RIGHT? I felt so special.

They're so awesome. I <3 the Apocalypsies. There have only been like two I didn't like. And many that I've loved.

The haul will be live soon! Well, some of it. I'm still waiting for the books I shipped.


June 10, 2012 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

It was the best. He is the nicest person. Also, accent.

Yeah, I totally saw you everywhere, but we were never in line next to each other! I totally realized I forgot to put you in my list, but you are there now...at the front, because I saw you before anyone else!

I hope I'll be able to read them all in good time!

June 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Steena said...

You definitely need to be following the Bloggess, because she is all sorts of wonderful. Let me know when you finish Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Bossypants. Both are such a good time. Glad you had such an amazing time. Has Perseus forgiven you yet?

June 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Nope, that wasn't me that said that. Interesting comment, though. It was just rushed and slow all at the same time. It was nice to get to meet other bloggers, but the time for just chatting was limited. It definitely didn't seem to be worth the money. Also, poorly planned, since most of the bloggers were into YA and there were so few YA authors there.

Yeah, piece of advice: sit down whenever you can. Unnecessary standing is a bad idea. I don't care if I don't look classy. Even as it was, my feet seriously hurt at the end of the day. I would also recommend checking a bag if you can, at least on the first day. I think I will if I'm at BEA again!


June 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I will totally let you know, although I'm pretty sure the only way I could avoid letting you know would be not blogging about it. ;)

Oh. My. God. Perseus was pissed to the max. Seriously, it was the worst.

I came home on Thursday, and went to my parents' house to get him. He hissed and growled at me. He was like a feral cat, totally not pleased to see me. I think he thought I had abandoned him. My dad had to throw a blanket over him and shove him in a box for us to get him back to my house. It was completely awful and heartbreaking. I shut him in 'his bedroom' and left him over night. In the morning, I opened the door a crack to check on him and he was all 'oh hey!' He's been completely normal. SO WEIRD AND WORRISOME.

June 10, 2012 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

Christina, this sounds unbelievable. I love how you described everything, especially the other bloggers you me!

And, you know I need to comment on Neil Gaiman too! Wow. Can't even talk right now. Words are failing me.

I know you mentioned not doing it again, but I would just love to go to a book conference with you one day! ALA Chicago?

June 10, 2012 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks, Nori!

No, I'm definitely going to more conferences. I just don't know if I'll be at BEA next year, because I think there's a good chance I could be at ALA in Chicago. You know me; I don't like to say I WILL be somewhere unless I WILL be. That's all!

June 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but... are the books at BEA free? Since 55 books at once is a lot. :D

June 11, 2012 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Not a stupid question, since I didn't know for sure myself before I went. The books at BEA are free. They do ask that you donate for the ones you get in the autograph lines, but that's it.

At ALA when I went a couple of years ago, all of the books weren't free. ARCs will always be free though. Publishers aren't allowed to charge for the pre-publication book. At ALA, published copies were generally 5-10 dollars, so cheaper, but not free.

June 11, 2012 at 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up! :)

Btw. your GFC is not working... can't follow your blog. :/

June 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hmm, GFC is showing up for me, so maybe it's okay again? I hope so, because I don't know much about that! You can also add it to a news feed in that third option if you'd like. :)

Thanks for following (or trying to)! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

June 11, 2012 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Just give the GFC a moment. It's taking it longer to load than usual for me, but it's showing up.

June 11, 2012 at 9:56 AM  

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