Howdy everyone, it’s Sarah!
My recovery time from Book Expo took a bit longer than Becky’s, but I am just as happy with my experience. I spent all of yesterday staring dazedly at my stacks of galleys. I was surrounded by totes, lookbooks, galleys, library books, my computer and phone. The librarian in me needed to organize and categorize all of the new materials, but the reader and blogger in me needed to READ (oh, and there was my family bookclub book I needed to read before we meet on Monday).
Expo vs Vacation
Neither Becky nor I had ever been to New York before this trip and we hoped to use it as a way to both tour NYC and to hit up the BEA. We arrived early in NYC to tour the city, but it is almost impossible to see everything in the city you want to. We hit many of the famous spots, like Times Square, Trinity Church, and Top of the Rock, but it soon became the tough decision of choosing between being a tourist and attending the expo. We really had to commit to one or the other, because it was impossible to do both. You must drink the BEA kool-aid and commit to all events and interactions. In future, just know that BEA is intense and requires 100% focus….basically it is black Friday shopping for books that haven’t been released yet.
You get what you pay for
This saying is super annoying, especially when my mom is using it as an “I told you so” when something breaks shortly after I get it. I learned my lesson last year when I first attended Bookcon and again this year at BEA, the extra paid services do give you a head up. For example, two years ago at Bookcon I paid extra for the VIP pass, which got me onto the show floor first (so I got first pick of the galleys at the beginning of the con). This year, BEA attendees could buy Avid Reader passes and Reader passes, which allowed them to get tickets for autographing sessions without standing in lines and jump to the front of certain lines. I find that spending the money upfront saves my feet and mental state during the conference.
Stand in the Line
BEA and Bookcon are basically line mazes. You go from one line to the next, but the lines are worth it. Typically, the longer the line the better the thing at the end. James Patterson’s autograph line overwhelmed the Expo and gummed everything up…but like people really wanted his autograph. The Feeny (William Daniels) line was long, but hello, it was Feeny. The Owl Crate booth always has a line, always…but they have a prize wheel and who doesn’t love spinning a prize wheel ( I can think of no context where I would not want to spin a prize wheel).
Short Lines first
Even though BEA is an event of lines, I have found that it is best to hit up the short lines first and get in the long line later. You are going to be waiting forever in the long line, so you might as well multi-task and get some other things out of the way. Typically, publishing companies drop galleys and have author signings at the same time, so if you choose to spend forever in a long line you will most likely miss out on several other awesome things. I say forgo the long line and clean up in the other areas. After you have cleaned up, join the others waiting and stand in line for a shorter period of time. However, the long line may get so long that you miss your chance for the autograph or galley. You have to decide which has more value, five galleys or one awesome one. Jason Reynolds is always worth the most, always.
Autographs vs. Galleys
It is important to decide what type of show you want to have. Do you want more autographs or more galleys? The autographing area is tucked into the back and autographing lines take forever, while galley drops happen fast and furious in publishing booths on the floor.
Me and Emmy Laybourne-love!
Work your jump the line pass for autographing lines so that you can hit the most items, but be quick and have a game plan for what kind of show you want. It is nearly impossible to clean up on galleys and autographs (unless you are an ABA member or pay through the nose). I found that the days I focused on autographs I missed the galleys and the days I focused on the galleys I had to forgo autographs…I AM SO SORRY GENE LUEN YANG AND PHILLIP PULLMAN, your lines would have cost me 10 ARCs!
I loved my experience at the expo and can see myself going again in the future, but I will be wiser and more prepared and now you will too!