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?
See you there!