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A Reader of Fictions: BEA 2013: Hotels, Shipping Books, and the Conference Itself

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, June 7, 2013

BEA 2013: Hotels, Shipping Books, and the Conference Itself

Alright, guys, the time has come for my wrap up post for BEA. Now, this will not actually say much of anything about the books I obtained at BEA or the publisher parties I attended, as those will be separate posts. Check back tomorrow for a break down of the publisher party experience. Starting on Sunday, I'll have a four vlog series with my book haul, if any of you are actually THAT interested.

To break down a lengthy post into sections, I'm going to separate this into tidbits of advice for having a rocking BEA experience.

1. Don't Stay in New Jersey
Seriously, don't do it. If you look at a map, you might think: "Oh look, there are cheaper hotels just 15 minutes away from the Javits! This is an awesome, money-saving idea." False. Well, maybe we saved a smidge of money, but I'm somewhat doubtful of that even. What we definitely did NOT save was time. Port Authority, the bus terminal that will take you to New Jersey is a nightmare of confusion, and I'm pretty sure that I spent about 10 hours there in the course of four days.

Isn't Port Authority simply lovely? Admire the finger print decorations!

Time in Port Authority often results in anger. You show them, Kara!

Or intense boredom. (Sorry, Steph, but I had to.)

Plus, the hotel didn't even have free breakfast. What the hell, Days Inn? You suck. I need food if I'm getting up at 6 AM in the morning to split a somewhat shady cab to NYC, okay?

2. Room with Awesome People
Honestly, there's only so much you can do here. Sharing a room with people you've only met over the internet is always going to be a bit of a crap shoot, because an internet persona might not be all that similar to a person in real life. However, I totally hit the jackpot with Steph Sinclair of Cuddlebuggery and her friend, Andreya. We all got along great, and that made the trip super fun, despite some of the difficulties in getting to our stupid hotel. If your rooming situation turns into a nightmare, well, that's not good, so just try to be as careful as possible in selecting your roommates.

3. Divide and Conquer
In 2012, I attended BEA alone. Really, I knew pretty much no one who was there in person, and I wandered the exhibit hall alone. I got a nice haul, only missing out on a couple of books I wanted. It was a good time. This year, the lines were longer and the ARC drops were all scheduled at the exact same times (9, 11, 3), making being a solo artist difficult. Thankfully, I had an awesome network of bloggers, and we were able to help one another get to things we wanted or hold lines for signings. Lines for a decently popular author began an hour or more before the signing, and, in some cases, only 50-100 copies of the book were available, so you have to be there early. With a group, everyone can drop off their stuff while a couple people hold the spots in line. This is totally legit behavior, I promise. Lots of people do it.

Remember, though, to always be as polite as possible. A bit of shoving is unavoidable, because people knock into you or appear from an unexpected direction or move back just as you were trying to duck through a hole in the crowd. That happens. Don't push anyone or steal their book on purpose, okay? If you realize other people were in a line before you, respect that, even if the volunteers or publishers creating the line are willing to let you cut. If you're picking up books for your friends, don't grab all the last copies of the book while someone else was clearly waiting to grab a copy.

4. Do I Really Want This?
Obviously, the ARCs are there for us to take, and it's really tempting to take way more than you can possibly read. I'm pretty sure I did, to be honest. However, there were still books that I passed by or that I picked up and then gave to another blogger in a line after reading a sampling. For example, I gifted The Bone Season, The Pretenders, and Frozen to other people in lines with me, because, though I'd been given them, I didn't think I would enjoy the writing styles. Every books isn't for me, and there's no need for me to carry it around and pay to ship it home if I already know I probably won't like it. If you have some time while waiting in a line, try reading the first few pages of the ARCs you've got. If you don't want something, it will find a happy home somewhere else, I promise. Even if no one near you wants it, you can put the book down on a table or something and, believe me, someone will find it and their day will be made.

5. Ow, My Aching Body!
Everyone tells you to wear comfortable shoes to BEA. What they don't say is that even with shoes soft as clouds, your feet will probably still be in agony. Expect to be on your feet from 6 AM to whenever you make it back to your hotel. The Javits is big, and you walk back and forth, which probably adds up to miles of walking. Not just that, but your back, shoulders, legs, neck will all ache. Books are freaking heavy, even if you're dropping them in a checked suitcase downstairs every so often. You WILL be in pain. Sit down whenever and wherever you can, assuming the floor isn't disgusting. Though you might get called a dirty hippie (yes, Steph and Andreya said this to me), your feet will probably thank you for it.

6. The Post Office Is Close and Open Late!
Well, yes and no. The nearest post office is a handful of blocks away from Javits, if you're planning to ship your books home. That's nothing, right? Well, remember that you've been walking and standing all day already. Also, you'll be carrying or rolling bags full of heavy books. It might also be 90 degrees outside, the air redolent with the scent of horse manure and garbage. On a map, it looks easy, but it doesn't necessarily FEEL so easy. Plus, New York city blocks are LONG.

Then there's the whole open a couple hours past five thing. This is a lifesaver when you want to stay until 4:15 to pick up Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. Of course, what you don't know is that they close the materials shop at 5 and most of the service windows too. To buy materials after the shop closes, you have to wait in the long, sluggish line to get anything else.

On top of that, your books might not even arrive safely. My box from Friday arrived with four books in it of about twenty. Next year, I might cough up the extra money to ship UPS. Make sure that you're not stupid like me and do not let the ARCs at that mean the most to you out of your personal bags, even though you're exhausted and your back hurts and you don't want to carry them for another moment.

7. When in Doubt, Ask
Publishers have a lot of books squirreled away in the back. If you're nice and polite, they might sneak you something when you ask. Remember that they're not obligated to give you anything. This is a chance to network and make a new friend. Ask them what they're excited about from their fall lineup, offer them your card, tell them that you're planning to review the book, and all that jazz. Thank them for their time and for giving you the review copy. Thank them even if they don't. You're representing your blog, and you don't want to give yourself a bad name. Most publicists will not be offended if you ask whether there are any review copies of X book at BEA.

8. Panels
Last year, I totally just stayed on the floor, going between signings and book drops. This year, I decided to branch out and attend some panels too, because I felt like a greedy book grabber and thought I should soak up some culture. The first one I tried was the Editor's Buzz Panel for YA, and, I'm sorry to say this, but it stank. The only editor who made the book sound appealing was the first, who spoiled the love interest. All the other editors lowered my interests in the books they were trying to promote. Plus, it ran long, and they only had ARCs of four of the titles (and one of them they only had like ten copies of). So that was a bust. The panel I went to with authors talking about realistic fiction, however, was interesting, and getting to sit and listen was awesome (spare your feet, y'all).

9. Meet All the Authors
As you walk around BEA, you'll spot authors just milling around being a new people. Try not to fangirl all over them because it's embarrassing for everyone. I'm pretty good at this usually, but not if I'm caught by surprise, like when I spotted Kat Zhang and Sarah J. Maas walking by and sort of squeed at them. Oops.

A lesson I learned this year is that if you know one or two authors and chat with them, you'll get to meet other authors, because they all know each other. I was chatting with the fabulous Lindsay Ribar (whose debut novel The Art of Wishing you should totally read), and I got to meet all of these ladies:

From the left, that's Corey Ann Haydu, debut author of OCD Love Story, which comes out in July. She'd just spoken on a panel about realistic fiction, and made me even more interested in her book. To her right is Alison Cherry, whose debut novel Red comes out in October. In the middle is Claire Legrand, author of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, which just got a second printing, and The Year of Shadows, due out in August. Second from the right is Lindsay Ribar, who wrote the gloriously adorable The Art of Wishing (even though she tweeted the other day about not loving The BLANK of BLANK titles - O Author!) and who needs to finish book two so I can read it. Last but not least is Mindy Raf, whose debut novel The Symptoms of My Insanity came out earlier this year. All of these ladies are so nice and sweet and talented, and were kind enough to let me follow them around for half a day.

While at BEA, I also got to have nice conversations with Kat Zhang, Dan Krokos, Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner, MG Buehrlen, and Sarah Beth Durst, though I didn't creep on them with my camera, though I would have had I not been so starstruck! Obviously, I met more authors than this, but these I got to have conversations with, which is awesome sauce.

Speaking of starstruck, here's Steph talking to one of her favorite authors Richelle Mead, while Melissa de la Cruz looks super bored in the background.

10. Signings
Signings are pretty great, and there are tons of them all the time at BEA. If you're going for the first time, there's something you need to know: you CANNOT go to them all. Unless you're going for pretty much unknown titles, you can't go to more than about one signing an hour, because the lines begin sometimes more than an hour before. Crazy, yes, but when there's no telling how many copies of a highly desired book the publisher will have brought, getting there early is the only way to ensure that you get one. For example, there were only 100 copies of Antigoddess by Kendare Blake, and they went fast.

If you're going for number of books, then drops are your best bet. Attend signings only for the things you want the most, because they are a huge time suck for the most part.

11. Meet All the Bloggers
What's better than turning internet friends into IRL friends. I'm terrible at remembering to take pictures, but here are some lovely ladies that I got to see at BEA this year:

Steph of Cuddlebuggery, Kara of Great Imaginations, Giselle of Xpresso Reads, Micheline of Lunar Rainbows, Mandee of Vegan YA Nerds, Bailey of IB Book Blogging, Hannah Hannah Irish Banana, Asher of Paranormal Indulgence, Steph of The Fake Steph, April of Good Books and Good Wine, Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner, Rachel of Rachel Reads, Gillian of Writer of Wrongs, Gaby of Queen Ella Bee Reads, Shelver of Bookshelvers Anonymous, Jen of Jenuine Cupcakes/YA Books Central and other people I'm probably forgetting, because I have the worst memory ever.

Apparently I took only one picture of myself while I was at BEA, so here I am with my even-prior-to-BEA IRL friend Nori of Nori's Closet. We were in grad school together. What what!

12. Totally Worth It
Sure, BEA is filled with hassles and stress and back pain, but, y'all, there's a reason we're all already planning to return next year: it's fun despite all that. Getting the books, making new friends, meeting up with old ones who live around the world, and thousands of people all chatting about books is simply wondrous. There were parts of this trip that made me want to cry or scream, but, as I look back, what I'll remember most are the good times and beautiful friendships. This is why, even though there were times our whole group wondered why the hell we spent so much money to be there, we're all planning on going back next year (and staying near the damn conference).



Blogger Ashley said...

This makes me super happy and I love how much fun you had.

Point number four is very important to me lately "do you really need this?"

June 7, 2013 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Super shitty about the shipping and all that but I'm glad you still had fun. Can't wait to be hopefully join you guys some year. :)

June 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Glad you had a ton of fun at BEA! I can't wait to go next year :)
-Scott Reads It!

June 7, 2013 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger GillyB said...

WOOT there's my name. It was awesome to finally hang out with you. This recap is awesome. BEA was awesome. Your tips are awesome (and all a thousand percent true). AWESOME.

June 7, 2013 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Aww, I love the picture of you and Nori :) I miss you guys!

I'm so glad you had an awesome experience overall!

June 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger MG Buehrlen said...

USPS is the debbil. You still get first dibs on the next YABC mailbox. :)

June 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Hell yes! I loved my photo and I love reading about your experience. :D I can't wait for next year! GAH. I want to go back NOW.

June 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

What a fantastic recap post!! It sounds so awesome and I really, really need to try to make it next year! I love the pics of Kara and Steph!

June 7, 2013 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, I'm so sorry about your books. That sucks eggs. But I'm glad you had fun. This post is awesome, btdubs. I really know now about how I'm going to stand up the BEA when I get some friends to go.

I love the pictures as well. Melissa del la Cruz, her face is priceless.

June 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Steph Sinclair said...

Oh, Port Authority, how I hate thee. Truthfully, I should just point everyone to your post when they ask me how BEA was. LOL. I'm starting my write up now!

June 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Your posts are making me even more excited and determined to go next year! I just got hired this morning, so I'm going to start saving ASAP!

I'm definitely eager to get my hands on some awesome books and meet authors, but the socializing with other bloggers scares the crap out of me! I am so socially awkward, it's not even funny. I just hope I'll meet up with someone I recognize and not frighten them away with my awkwardness!

June 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Ashleigh Paige said...

Don't fangirl too hard at authors? Okay, I'm going to need someone to help me out with that because I'm so easily starstruck. I'm usually That Girl. Maybe I can get better in time for next year. ;)

Also, Kara's picture is the best. A++! Even Steph's booty pose, funny as it is, can't match a good old flipped bird.

June 7, 2013 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Micheline said...

Awww thanks for the shout out, SO glad I got to meet you IRL too :D It was awesome to have another Brandon Sanderson lover to fan-girl with ā™„ I loved this recap post too, especially how you offered up advice. I DEFINITELY agree on the avoiding NJ hotels next year - what a pain in the a** And your right WTF was up with no breakfast LOL, we needed that extra energy! I was similarly (mostly) picky on what I grabbed as far as books went. If I'd never heard of it or it wasn't my usual genres, I left it for someone else who hopefully wanted it more! I am disgusted and sorry that one of your boxes had THAT many missing/damaged books though :( What a bummer, but at least next year we'll all know to AVOID USPS...like the plague! Thanks for sharing!!

June 7, 2013 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Glad you had fun! These tips are so helpful, especially the tips about how to talk to the publicists who are at BEA (I never did manage to figure out how to strike up a conversation but now I know! :D). My back killed me at BEA (I shudder at the memory) but yes, in the end, BEA was totally worth it.

June 7, 2013 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Shelver506 said...

AWESOME recap post, Christina. Informative and fun at the same time! This would definitely be a post I'd bookmark when researching BEA for the first time. And it was amazing to meet you in person. :)

June 7, 2013 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Lisa Mandina said...

Glad you had a great time! So sad I didn't get to go this year. I think having been last year I know just how much I missed out on by not getting to go. Unlike you though, I had to have my picture with as many authors as I could meet! :-) I was lucky that my sister lived in NYC, and so I stayed with her in the Upper East Side. The USPS by her house was very nice and all my books made it home.

June 7, 2013 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I want to go to BEA someday so badly. One day, one day! So excited to hear that you're going to do vlogs of your haul...I know how disappointed you were about the missing books. Sucks so bad.

June 7, 2013 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Amber (Books of Amber) said...

Is that Steph's hair she's pulling in that first pic of her, or is she poking her eye out due to boredom? XD I'm glad you all got along so well!

I'm so jealous of everyone who went to BEA this year, it looks like you all had an amazing time!

June 8, 2013 at 5:58 AM  
Blogger Alessandra said...

Lindsay Ribar in your picture looks a lot like Jackson Pearce. I seriously thought it was her.
I'm glad you had a great time at BEA!

June 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for all the input, chica! I'm hoping to go next year, so I'm sure I'll be re-visiting your post and others. :) I'm still so sorry about your box.

June 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

All of the curls in that picture! I love reading about all your adventures through this crazy process!

June 10, 2013 at 6:49 AM  
Blogger Debby said...

I love this post! Thank you for writing it like this, it's going to be really valuable for all of us bloggers planning on going for the first time next year. Thanks! :)

June 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

Aww, that thing where all my friends look completely lovely and I'm making the weirdest face everrrrr. :D

June 10, 2013 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Ribar said...

Proven fact: all genie-authors look alike!

June 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes, even so I managed to grab a few I probably shouldn't have, but I tried.

June 10, 2013 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

So shitty. Everyone should go next year!

June 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Maybe I'll see you there!

June 10, 2013 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes! We had an awesome time of awesomeness. Woooo!

June 10, 2013 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Too bad we couldn't all be at the same conference!

June 10, 2013 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...


June 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Girl, you are crazy. I need the year to recover from this year's experience.

June 10, 2013 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger fakesteph said...

It was so lovely seeing you again this year! This year was totally different for me from last year. I had a plan and I was constantly seeing people I recognized. It made a huge difference! Hope to see you next year!

June 18, 2013 at 3:39 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Weee! You totally should go if you can!

June 18, 2013 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, we do have all the curls.

June 18, 2013 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

OMG, you're going next year?!?!

June 18, 2013 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, that's not the one where you were REALLY making a weird face.

June 18, 2013 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes, glad we ran into each other! I am planning to go again next year, so hopefully so!

June 18, 2013 at 8:55 AM  

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