book expo america, 2013 version

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 |
Last year marked my first trip to Book Expo America.  I read a lot of helpful posts from fellow bloggers who had visited before, but I didn’t really know what to expect.  I don’t think you can until/unless you’ve been to a huge conference.  All you can do is take the advice that seems good, be prepared and stay flexible.  So how’d it go for me?  Pretty well!  I learned a lot and I posted some ‘after the fact’ BEA tips based on my experience. 

I’m attending again this year, and I’m *gasp* ignoring several of my own suggestions (and that’s okay, too).  We could probably call this next section, How Cecelia Bedelia Is Doing BEA, And Why It’s Kind Of Crazy.

1. Time commitment.  I’m only going for two days, instead of four like last year.  I’m skipping the BEA Bloggers Conference.  It’s not that I don’t want to have the full experience (I do!) – my limitations are about vacation time at the day job and saving ca$hmoney.  If you’ll be at BEA on Friday and Saturday, we should probably be friends.

2. Business cards.  I ordered two hundred mini cards a month ago – twice the number I took with me last year. I like the thick card stock and lovely printing quality of MOO cards, and I found a 30% discount code online. Tip for life/the internet: if you’re going to online shop, always do a search for discount or promo codes before you hit the ‘purchase’ button.

3. Transportation.  The train: I’m taking it, and I booked early to ensure the best fare (something I failed to do last year).  I’m taking the early train up to NYC on Friday, and the 6-something in the evening train back home the next day so as to only spend one night in a hotel.  I will probably come to regret that…

4. Lodging.  Many of my fellow bloggers and attendees will tell you that the only way to do BEA affordably is to either live in the greater New York metro area, know someone who does and has a place to crash (me last year), or share a hotel room.  Since I didn’t feel like figuring out awkward financial arrangements with an internet friend, I am staying by myself in one of the Barnard College dorms provided through the BEA hotel booking partner.  Still expensive, but not bad for NYC, and being able to shut a door on other human beings privacy at the end of the day will be so worth it.

5. Children’s Author Breakfast.  It’s on Friday morning, and it’s the first thing I’ll do at BEA.  I had an amazing experience attending this breakfast last year (Lois Lowry made me weep).  I’m excited to hear from a new crop of authors this year, and if you’re going and sitting at the nice tables, CAN WE BE FRIENDS PLEASE?  I’d love to chat with people I know.  Last year I sat next to a film rights person who was perfectly nice, but I didn’t know what to say/do.  Blogging friends, volunteer yourselves!

6. Bag check and the USPS.  Also known as genius and lifesaver.  I plan to use the concierge-attended bag checks on the lower levels of the Javits Center throughout the day to cut down on the number of books I’m carrying at any given time.  And I’ll definitely repeat last year’s Post Office lunch break to mail my books home each day – it saved me from having an enormous stack at the end, and I got a breath of fresh air (alone!) in the middle of a very busy schedule.

7. Meet with publishing contacts and blogging friends.  Self-explanatory.  Umm… anyone want to do breakfast or coffee on Saturday? *grin*

8. Extra battery/handheld charger for phone. My phone is a combination watch, alarm, reading device, calendar and the portal to the internet.  And because I have an enormous smartphone, the battery dies every 2.5 hours when in use.  Also: the BEA app is too good not to use.  Extra juice for the phone = mandatory.

9.  Books!  Oh yes, that.  I am already looking at lists of authors and signings and panels I want to check out.  I tend to be fairly relaxed about schedules (no color-coded spreadsheets), but I’ll still have several ideas and possible plans in mind.

And I think that’s it!  Tell me: what are your tips, tricks, fears and/or plans for BEA?  If you don’t plan to attend, will you look up Armchair BEA?  Your secrets, please!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Fabulous. I wish I could go. One year I shall.

Kat C @ Books and Sensibility said...

I love your frugal tips for BEA ! Last year, my phone battery kept dying so I bought one of those charging cases from eBay and so far it has been working out.

I'm planning on going Wed. - Friday. I'm not attending Author's Breakfast, but I liked it last year. It was my favorite event, I hope you enjoy this year's.

vvb32 reads said...

great tips! you should meet fellow blogger, pabkins of

i hope to go someday as well...

Tabitha (Pabkins) said...

Hey Girly! V sent me your way! I'm going for all four days and I'd love to meet up! You might have seen me over on the GR group already. hit me back on email! We must unit and divide and conquer!

Anonymous said...

I am sitting at the nice tables for the Children's Author Breakfast and would love to volunteer myself as company! Three weeks to go :D

Liviania said...

Have fun! I'm sticking to Armchair BEA this year.

Charlotte said...

I'm taking a BEA break this year, but I hope you have a great time!

Anastasia @ Here There Be Books said...

Yay for BEA! I love your tips. :D

I think what I'm worried about most is not getting all my books sent home on Saturday and having to drag them on the plane somehow. :( OR having to spring big bucks for FedEx or whatever is in the Javits shipping center.

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