Friday, February 5, 2010

Prepare for BEA 2010!

So you’ve taken the plunge – you’re going to Book Expo America for the first time! You’re super excited but you also have tons of questions. No problem – it’s the Book Blogger Con Tour to the rescue.

Many of the other bloggers on the tour have already touched on the basics (wear comfortable shoes, bring business cards, take your own snacks), so please do check out their advice.

Here is mine.

Come with a plan…. BEA is so huge, you really have to prioritize, and to do that, you have to first know what is going on. That means, you should get a fair schedule (usually available at the official BEA website sometime in April) and write down everything you really want to do before you go. Unfortunately, a lot of events and signings are going to overlap, so you’ll have to make some tough choices sometimes. When I read a bunch of after-BEA recaps, I was amazed just how different everyone’s experience was. Make yours memorable.

…but be flexible. Don’t have every second of your day mapped out, because you want to be able to take advantage of a last minute opportunity to connect with an author or that cool blogger you adore – or to chase down the hottest galleys (some publishers stagger when they put their galleys out, and sometimes getting a certain one requires luck and heavy reliance on the word-of-mouth network).

Use waiting times wisely. Last year, I spent a lot of my time in the autograph area standing in line. Fortunately, I nearly always found a blogging buddy to chat with while I was waiting. And if I didn’t, I introduced myself to whoever was standing near. I had a lot of interesting conversations with librarians and booksellers that I never would have met otherwise.

Don't think you have to carry around everything. If you want a certain galley or catalog, you don't always have to take it with you. After a few hours, you (and your sore shoulders) might wish you hadn't. Publisher reps are often happy to take your address and send you materials after the fair - just ask!

Get out of the Javits and explore New York City. Some people will tell you otherwise – that your time is precious and it should be book-centric – but honestly, it can get overwhelming if you are at the Javits every second the fair is open. And if you can, stay extra days. BEA was awesome, but I had some of my best experiences outside the fair. The Teen Author Carnival. Lunch with Nicole. A tour of Hachette Books. And much more. In that vein, I have gathered some of my favorite NYC tips from YA authors, excerpted from my interviews with them, to share with you.

THE ELITE Author Jennifer Banash says:
- Go to the Strand--it's my fave bookstore and you can find a lot of ARCs there as well.
- Go to my favorite ice-cream parlor, Serendipity 3 and have a frozen hot chocolate--they're world-famous, and amazing.
- Go to the top of the Chrysler Building for the awesome view--it's less touristy than the Empire State, and personally I think the actual artichetecture of the building is much more beautiful.
(read the rest of Jennifer Banash's interview)

WILLOW Author Julia Hoban says:
- Visit Partners and Crime, the independent bookstore where I first found THE HOUDINI GIRL, and GAUDY NIGHT. It is a must for any visitor to New York, and especially for a lover of books.
(read the rest of Julia Hoban's interview)

WAITING FOR YOU Author Susane Colasanti says:
- Cones on Bleecker Street has excellent homemade gelato.
- The Angelika movie theater features all the hot indies, but you have to get there early for a good seat (which is fine since they have a nice café inside).
- Find the ultimate cupcakes at Crumbs, which has several locations. They have buttercream icing and come in a wide variety of delicious flavors.
- One thing I love to do is just walk around the West Village. There’s a lot of interesting history here and the brownstones are gorgeous. You can make your way west down Perry Street, Charles Street, or West 11th Street to Hudson River Park. It’s refreshing by the water. I love sitting there at sunset, watching the city lights blink on. If you go at night, look for a building across the river in Jersey City with a slanted top. It has cool light stripe shows!
(read the rest of Susane Colasanti's interview)

CYCLER Author Lauren McLaughlin says:
- If you like vintage clothing, Beacon's Closet on North 11th Street between Berry and Wythe is a must see (and also a key setting for (Re)Cycler).
- If you're looking to splurge on state of the art molecular cuisine (and if money's no object) WD50 is amazing.
- And if you're here on a Saturday, don't miss the Union Square Farmer's market. Amazing food and great people watching.
(read the rest of Lauren McLaughlin's interview)

DREAM GIRL Author Lauren Mechling says:
- I'd recommend going for lunch at the Angelika Kitchen, a healthy restaurant that specializes in hilariously glamorous hippies eating piles of veggies and seaweed, on 12th St and 2nd Ave.
- Then you can go right across the street to Momofuku Milk bar and load up on the most disgusting and delicious desserts known to mankind. I especially recommend their compost cookie.
- Then go uptown to the Neue Gallerie, a museum in an old mansion that specializes in early 20th c Austrian art. It's a wildly beautiful and stately place--every time I'm there, I feel like a ball is about to break out.
(read the rest of Lauren Mechling's interview)

Oh and one last tip: Don’t forget to sign up for Book Blogger Con (now officially affiliated with BEA). I think we should have a galley swap afterwards -- anyone?

Book Blogger Convention

See you there!

28 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Great post! BEA is overwhelming at first, so it's best to have a plan and/or an experienced blogger with you!

Cindy said...

After reading about everyone's expereince last year and reading these tips I will be like a deer in headlights. It sounds so overwhleming but I agree you need a plan.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I meant to mention that they should ask people to send stuff later, especially if they have a relationship. That save me quite a bit of back break even with me being in NYC.

Allie said...

Oh! I am DYING to go to BEA. Don't know if it's in the cards this year, but someday I will go. I love your tips!

Beth F said...

Yes, yes, yes -- great advice!

Jen - devourer of books said...

Oh, asking people to mail things is a GOOD TIP, thanks!

Wendy said...

Loved this post! My husband and I are actually arriving on the evening of the 22nd...so we will have the 23rd and 24th to play in the City ... and also the day of the 29th since our flight doesn't depart until 5:00pm...so I LOVE that you gave suggestions of stuff to do outside the BEA :)

Peachtree Publishers said...

You can definitely ask publishers to mail you something after the show! Just be sure you have a business card so that we know who we are sending what to. Also, feel free to drop us an e-mail after the show to remind us! Publishers meet so many people, a little nudge can help.

Rebecca Herman said...

Great post, I wish I had read some tips like this before I went last year!

Florinda said...

I'm not going to be in NYC for BEA and the Con, but my family will be visiting the city a few weeks later. I'm glad you shared those author suggestions for other things to do in the city - I can add some ideas to my list now. Thanks :-)!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Thanks for a great post and you added to my list of BEA do's and dont's :)

I really appreciate these!

Angiegirl said...

Ooh, Lenore, thanks for all those ideas for places to stop and visit. I think you're right on with the importance of having a balanced trip and not stressing too much about this and that or here and there. So excited for this next time around!

Liviania said...

This really makes me wish I were going.

Staci said...

If I was going I would print this out and follow it to a T!!! Excellent advice and I love the inclusion of ideas from authors who live there!! Have fun!

The Tome Traveller said...

Oooh, yes, a galley swap! What a great idea! Let's do it!

Carey

Becky said...

It sounds amazing. I wish I didn't live so far!

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Are you going this year Lenore? If you are I cannot wait to meet you. You are one of my favorite bloggers/guru!

~Mary said...

Is BEA like The London Book Fair? I'm not able to make it across the big pond for BEA, but want to attend The London Book Fair, and wondering if it's the same?

Lenore said...

Mary, I haven't been to the London Book Fair, but I do know that it is a rights fair, like the Frankfurt Book Fair. These are still great fairs to look at books, but they exist to sell foreign rights of books and their audience is mainly other publishers. BEA is a consumer fair, so publishers give away a lot of books and make authors available for signings and such to make booksellers and librarians want to carry their books. That makes it a lot more exciting for bloggers too. But definitely try to go to London if you can. It's just a great experience to see all those beautiful books in one place!

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

sound advice! i didn't make last year even though i'm only a short train ride away and things aren't looking great for this year either--the bea coincides with my school's end-of-year trip. :( i look forward to hearing all about it, though! enjoy.

Linda Ellen said...

Great tips. Thanks for sharing them. =)

Alison (Alison's Book Marks) said...

This year will be my first, so I am especially thankful for your post. I promise to have a plan (with some flexibility). Thank you!

Misty said...

I wanted to go to BEA, but I just couldn't make it work (or justify the expense). I am, however, going to ALA (pretty sure, anyway) so I am super excited about that.

Serena said...

great post...thanks for a fantastic set of tips. I have no idea how I am going to compete (light on compete) with all these great posts.

homebetweenpages said...

Thanks for some great tips and some great suggestions from authors! I'm going to BEA (and Book Blogger Con) for the first time and it's so helpful to have some guidance beforehand :)

A Blog In The Rough said...

Thanks for the tips to do after the convention. Can't wait to attend my first time :)

Anna said...

Great tips! This year, Serena and I are staying a few extra days to tour the city. Hope I get a chance to meet you again during BEA, as I won't be at the Con.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Cleverly Inked said...

My fingers are crossed for next year. I am still new to the book world and I think I am glad I held off this year.

I have read a lot of good advise.