Last year was my first time attending Book Expo America. I was a bit nervous since I had only been a book blogger for a few months and I was nervous about whether I'd be welcome there! But it turned out to be a lot of fun and I'm glad I went. I got to meet some awesome bloggers, publicists, and authors, and picked up some great ARCs, signed books, and goodies.
I'm hoping to meet even more great people at BEA this year, and will also be going to the Book Blogger Convention, which is now affiliated with BEA, meaning it will be held at the Javits Center as well and will be another great opportunity to meet up with bloggers, authors, and publicsts & others from the book publishing industry. This year, BEA will be held at the Javits Center May 25-27, with conferences on the 25th, and more conferences, events, book signings, and the exhibit floor on the 26th-27th. Book Blogger Convention will be on Friday, May 28,
If you are attending BEA for the first time this year, don't be nervous! It's lots of fun and everyone is extremely friendly and nice. Here are some tips for making the most out of your time at BEA:
Plan your schedule ahead of time. There are a lot of different signings, panels, and events going on, many at the same time or close to each other. I made the mistake of only making a schedule ahead of time for the signings I wanted to attend the most, which meant I had to do a lot of planning while I was there, which was kind of chaotic. So this year, I plan to have a better schedule from the start. The schedule for BEA should be up on the official site in April.
Choices - you will unfortunately sometimes have to make some difficult choices, if author signings or panels you really want to attend are at the same time. So make sure to prioritize the events you want to attend the most.
Wear comfortable clothing! There will be a lot of walking around, so comfortable shoes are a must. Casual, neat clothes are fine - I wore jeans, a nice t-shirt, and sneakers. Don't dress in sloppy clothes, but you don't have to dress in formal business wear either. If you've picked up a lot of books and don't know what to do with them, there's a shipping area you can use - you can drop your box of books off there and pick it up at the end of the day. I didn't know about this til day 2 last year, so I spent all of day 1 carrying a heavy bag around - ouch! A lot of the booths will be giving out tote bags, so if you see one pick one up to carry your books around - you will need it.
Exchange contact information ahead of time with anyone you are hoping to meet up with during BEA. It's very big and chaotic, and you are unlikely to be able to find the people you want to meet up with unless you are able to contact them.
Plan out any other New York attractions you want to visit. I personally live only an hour and a half from the city and have been there many times, so I didn't stay at a hotel or visit anywhere other than BEA. But if there are any NY attractions you'd love to see, be sure and make time for that. One of my favorite places in NY is Strand Bookstore, which is a really neat bookstore that has ARCs, bargain priced hardcovers, and more.
Hope this post was helpful for anyone who is planning to attend BEA for the first time. If you are attending and would like to meet up, send me an email and we can exchange contact information. I am very much looking forward to attending again and can't wait for May!
If you would like to visit any of the other blogs for the BEA advice blog tour, the complete list can be found at http://bookbloggerconvention.com/2010/01/a-blog-tour-you-dont-want-to-miss/