#BEA15: MY EXPERIENCES



This year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the wonderful, the marvellous, the INSANE Book Expo America! For the last few years, this publishing trade event has been held at the Javits Centre in NYC.

So, I made my way to the city that never sleeps with my parents in tow. The first day of BEA was Blogger Con and I discussed by experiences of that in a previous post. You can read that post here.

Now. Let’s discuss the beast that is the BEA show floor. 
Day One. And, well, Day two. 

On the first day, I only got onto the show floor for an hour or two. It was a nice introduction because I hadn’t planned to go that day at all! Therefore, there was nothing on my list that I was rushing to get to. I just wandered about with Anne and Ashley of Lovely Literature and familiarized myself with the layout. This was really helpful because the next day was one of my most anticipated things—the AS King signing of I Crawl Through It! Because I now knew where the autographing area was, I was able to quickly and immediately make my way from the entrance to the lineup when the exhibit hall opened. It was great because I managed to be really near the front of the line for the 9:30a.m. signing! It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. However, because this was the first signing I had ever attended,  I was unprepared to be so starstruck. My brain fell out and I just smiled stupidly and excitedly. I didn’t even ask for a picture! I did that with basically all the other authors I met, but with my favourite it totally didn’t occur to me! #BEA15REGRETS


I had heard so much about how crazy the BEA show floor is. I think because of this I didn’t really find it all that bad! There were times when certain areas were congested, but on the whole the floor was definitely passable. I did, however, experience the craziness when it came down to in-booth signings. These are different than the signings in the autograph area—like where AS King was. These signing take place in the publishers booths. They usually have table type things set up where the signings take place. Sometimes the publishers are really great about lines. Sometimes… they are akin to Nazis.

There were few booths that let you line up early. I found that the publishers who didn’t were basically just in denial. Sorry guys, but if you have a hot commodity, people ARE going to show up early whether you like it or not. What’s important is how you handle that. Shout and condescend to the people who are there to support your author? Gripe and act generally petty and horrendous to people who buy your products and provide you FREE publicity? NO. Just NO. ESPECIALLY not to people who have the decency to line up neatly and out of the way. It’s just spiteful to tell people who show up AFTER them not to worry about that line because it’s not the “official” line; to purposely make the line somewhere the people in the “unofficial” line will have to scramble to get to, and then end up in the back. Chill the frig out and plan ahead for the early lines. We get it. There is limited space in the exhibit hall. You’re tired from working the booth all day for three days straight. But it’s not cool to treat the attendees like that. I experienced this a few times and honestly, it made me think quite badly of these publishers and certainly affects the way I will approach them and their products in the future. However, not all publishers were like this. Some were kind. They didn’t encourage early line-ups, but they didn’t actively go out of their way to make our lives hell either. I appreciated that. It was noted.

Ernie Cline!

Like I mentioned, on the second day of BEA, the first thing I did was go to the AS King signing. It was glorious. So, basically my life was made at that point. I had my day pretty meticulously planned out. I knew what I wanted to get to, and had just enough time to do it. Unfortunately, this left me at odds with the schedule of the ladies of Lovely Literature so we didn’t end up seeing each other again 🙁 


The next thing on my list was the Ernest Cline signing of Armada. This was an in-booth signing—my first big one. It was at the Penguin Random House booth. I got there after the “official” line had started but not too late—so I didn’t experience any problems. I was given a ticket and I waited in line! It was a really long line and I contemplated leaving it, honestly. I had to see Sara Raasch and I didn’t want to be late! However, it all worked out. And I managed to score a coveted copy of Armada! (Confession: still haven’t read Ready Player One yet… Please don’t kill me)

As I said, the next thing on my schedule was the Sara Raasch signing. All the way back in the autographing area (these two spots were like kitty-corner in a very, very large exhibit hall). The good thing though was that I was being a bit OCD about being places on time, so I was usually pretty early. Not like first-in-line kind of early, but mid-front-half-of-the-line early. I was a little bummed that Sara Raasch wasn’t signing ARCs of Ice Like Fire (I mean, come on!) but it was still nice to get an signed copy of Snow Like Ashes. It was great too because Sara was distracted when signing mine and signed it a bit differently than she had been signing other people’s… (She had been signing them “Let it snow…” but made an oopsy and “channeled Frozen” on mine :D)


ALSO, I met Kat from Katytastic and Jesse from jessethereader in line! Woohoo!! I saw them in line and stared at them like a creep for a while first. IT WAS HARD NOT TO LOOK AT THEM, OKAY? IT WAS LIKE THEY STEPPED OUT OF MY COMPUTER SCREEN. Again, I forgot to ask for a picture. Both with them, and with Sara. My brain. On the floor. 

At the end of all those shenanigans, it was around 11:30 and the next thing on my schedule wasn’t until 3:00. I decided to head down for lunch. I had planned on meeting up with Anne and Ashley for lunch but got distracted by all the pretty book things on the way. They ended up having to hurry to get to another signing. 🙁 So I took my time with lunch then meandered around and back up to the exhibit hall. While I was walking past Little, Brown I noticed what appeared to be Libba Bray. Signing books. And a HUGE line of people. 
Me and Libba Bray!


BUT BUT BUT BUT

Libba Bray was my 3:00!! I HAD WRITTEN DOWN 3:00. THE SCREENS ON THE WALL SAID 3:00. But… The handouts that I never picked up said 1:00… FRIGGITY FRIG FRIG. I morosely made my way to the end of the line. Thankfully there were tickets left or I seriously would have cried. 
Lesson learned: Double check the times online of the things you really want to do. Sometimes they change. 
It was okay though because I met some really cool people in line! That kind of happened a lot actually… 

The next signing I went to was for The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Wee!! Then I moved on to Harlequin to get a signed copy of Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I may not have loved The Good Girl, but I didn’t hate it, and I wanted to give her next book a try. While waiting in line, I was asked to take a picture for a group of ladies. After I took the photo, one of the girls gave me a weird look and read my badge. Then pointed at her badge. We knew each other from Twitter! The other day Giselle from Bo-ok Nerd Canada tweeted me the names of some other Canadians at BEA and this girl was one of them! Kaley from Books Etc.! One of the other ladies in line with her was Melissa from Chick Lit Central. We chatted while we waited and it was awesome. It was like I was a normal person! I was speaking words! To other humans! Nice ones, even! (The other humans that is. Not my words. Not to say that my words were not nice, though. Whatever, you get it). 

Kaley and me!
When we got near the front of the line, I noticed the way the signing was set up was really weird. Instead of doing single author signings, Harlequin does “signing hours” that are based on genre. This was Women’s Fiction hour, so there were five or six authors signing… and you had to go down the line of all of them. I honestly didn’t know who these other authors were, or, if I did, I wasn’t really interested in their books. Just not my thing. However, I had to go down the line… And, of course, Mary Kubica was the second last one. IT WAS SO AWKWARD. After that I chatted some more with Kaley and Melissa (who are both REALLY AWESOME, check out their blogs) and then did a circle around the show floor again before heading out.  

Day three
Or, The Day I Met Mindy Kaling and My World Changed Forever

Kelley Armstrong and me!

On the third day, the first thing I wanted to go to wasn’t until 10:00. It was the Kelley Armstrong signing of The Masked Truth. I was really excited for this one! It is an adult thriller! I love thrillers. And Kelley Armstrong. I haven’t read her Otherworld series aside from Bitten, but I am obsessed with her Cainsville series. I bought the second book the day it came out. And I never do that! 

After meeting the lovely Kelley Armstrong, I headed over to the Midpoint booth for Liza Weimer’s signing of Hello? In line there I met a bunch of other bloggers! I met Sarah of You Should Read This, Tiff of Mostly YA Lit, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Cindy of Cindy’s Love of Books, and Lucy of Moonlight Gleam Reviews (sorry if I’m missing anyone)!
Hazel, Tiff, and me!
(Photo borrowed from Hazel’s Day 3 Recap on StayBookish.net!)
The rest of this day was mostly waiting around for the Mindy Kaling signing. I waited in line so long. But it was so worth it.  I’m not even going to bother discussing the line up shenanigans. (Publisher, you know who you are! I was decidedly unimpressed). BUT I MET MINDY KALING! And again bonded with bloggers in line! I spent like two hours hanging out with Sarah of You Should Read This! Mindy was just like I imagined her… Gorgeous, poised, generous, friendly… I LOVE HER. She called me by name and said she liked my glasses 😀 I AM NEVER GOING TO TAKE THEM OFF AGAIN. EVER. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to get pictures with Mindy… Boo. 

Celeste Ng!

It was cool too though because Celeste Ng was signing Everything I Never Told You in the booth right next to Mindy, and that was another one I really wanted. I was able to slip over and grab a copy! It was excellent! 


The very last thing on my schedule for #BEA15 was the Jennifer Niven signing of All The Bright Places. This was an excellent note to end on. All The Bright Places is a beautiful book that talks about loving someone with mental illness. It’s a book that means a lot to me and it was amazing to get to meet the lady behind it. When I told her her book meant a lot to me, she shook my hand. She was so, so kind—I almost cried! She got us all to sign her copy of All The Bright Places and gave out pins, post-its, and markers. It was great. 

Me and Jennifer Niven!

Well guys, that about sums it up. The highlights, anyway. 

It was so great to be surrounded by a bunch of people who love books as much as I do! And, my goodness. I got to meet authors! Living where I do, I never really get to go to signings and things like that! This was the first time! But it won’t be the last if I have any say in it! Even though meeting authors was SUPER AWESOME, I have to say my favourite part was meeting up with other bloggers. Hopefully if I got to BEA next year, I’ll know some bloggers better before we get there! 

All in all, I had an amazing experience at BEA and, if I am able, I will certainly be attending again. 

Coming up I will let you know what things worked for me this year and what things didn’t. I will give you some tips in case you plan on attending in the future! 

Don’t worry, I will also be doing a full book haul soon 😉