Tuesday, June 4, 2013

BEA 2013 Recap

Hi all! It's time for part two of my incredibly long and exclamation-heavy recap of my time in New York. I talked on Monday about sightseeing in NYC, the blogger picnic in Central Park, the Teen Author Carnival, and everything else in my trip that took place outside the Javits Center. Today's post is about all the BEA goodness that took place INSIDE Javits. [Beneath the jump-break, because it's LONG.]

The first thing you have to understand about BEA is that it's huge and that it's crazy. Seriously. I've heard others describe Javits as a small city, and it's completely accurate. When you first walk into the exhibition hall, there are massive booths as far as the eye can see. Eventually, you learn to navigate based on booth location and carpet color. For instance, I found an awesome Superman/Wonder Woman bag one day and was asked repeatedly where I got it. If I were asked while standing in, say, RandomHouse, I'd say "It's in Capstone. Go past the green digital carpet, past MacMillan and Bloomsbury, and keep going until you get to the purple carpet. It's a couple booths past Candlewick."

And when I say it's crazy, it really is crazy. There are people EVERYWHERE. Worse than the people, who as a whole were very nice, were the ginormous pointy tote bags that everyone carried on their shoulders. Anyone who says they escaped without bruises is a liar. On top of the craziness caused by a bunch of people in a confined space is the craziness caused by the time crunch. It is physically impossible to be everywhere you want to be. At the moment Penguin drops that galley you desperately want, a line is forming for the author you want to meet, Flux is giving away a cool bag, and another author is doing an in-booth signing on the clear opposite side of the building. Oh, and you have to pee, and you haven't eaten since 5 AM, and you have at least three other friends tweeting you to try to meet up somewhere.


I wish I could break down each day and tell you what happened where, but the craziness means that everything's all mixed up in my head. What I can do is tell you who I met and what I got excited about. It just won't be in strictly chronological order. Deal?

Thursday, Hannah and I slipped in line at about the same time a marching army of Allegiant workers hoo-rahed their way down the center aisle. It was very intimidating. 5-10 minutes later, they returned and passed out the pretty Allegiant totes they were carrying. My first swag! Yay! When the doors opened at 9, I was impressed by how orderly everyone was. Yes, people were hurrying to snatch up galleys from the piles at each booth, but no one ran or shoved or spoke crossly. It was very nice. Most people seemed to have a plan, but I just drifted dazedly from booth to booth, picking through stacks as I went along.

At about 0930, Hannah and I jumped in line for Diana Peterfreund's signing. Oh man, the signing lines were insane that first day. The workers were woefully underprepared for all of us, and the planners clearly hadn't thought through the repercussions of placing so many extremely popular YA author signings back to back. For instance, Table 12 had a signing for Diana Peterfreund, then immediately transitioned into Gretchen McNeil, then immediately after that shifted to Veronica Rossi. The lines for each were out the wazoo, and there simply wasn't enough space to keep everyone orderly.

Anyways, I was thrilled to meet Ms. Peterfreund. She was extremely nice and remembered me from our conversations on Twitter, which was awesome. She was also rocking an incredible ship hat. After finishing with her signing, I ran to get in line for Veronica Rossi. Along the way, I bumped into Hannah from the Irish Banana, which was amazing, because I used her many BEA posts to help prepare myself for the trip!

Diana Peterfreund and her hat!
Once in line for Ms. Rossi, I got to talking with the two girls ahead of me, Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Brittany from Books Addicts Guide. We had a bonding moment when it turned out that there had been a snafu between the Javits workers and that, instead of being in the very front of the line as we were told we were, we were actually behind a much larger line that supposedly formed elsewhere. And then the books ran out before we could get there, despite being assured that we would make it in after waiting for over an hour. We were not happy, hence the bonding in the face of suffering. However, once we were told to disperse, I did sneak up and say hello to Veronica Rossi, who - by the way - is GORGEOUS.

This was also the day that I got to meet Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner and my bestest buddy Gillian from Writer of Wrongs! AMAZING! As much as I enjoy being an anonymous pair of floating glasses, it was great to meet people face to face and give hugs. It was also fun telling people who I was and then waiting as they processed the name and then made the connection.

Thursday was also the day that I walked by the Harper booth during Veronica Roth's publicity photo shoot (who knew she was that young?!) and got to hang out with Dot Hutchison! Dot and I ran around like little kids from booth to booth, which was insanely fun. Eagle-eye Dot was also the one to spot Sarah Beth Durst as she walked by us (we got to say hi!), while I was the one who noticed Simone Elkeles. After that, you better believe I paid better attention to everyone's name tags. OH, and Dot made sure we met up with Victoria Schwab, which was freaking amazing, because I love her books. Basically, the two of them talked while I listened and stared. It was wonderful.
Veronica Roth!

Dot Hutchison!
Victoria Schwab!
Friday was - you guessed it - even more insanity! I stood in line for a book for my dad, then got in line for Soman Chaimani, then I practically ran to Elizabeth Wein's line and ended up being maybe the fourth person there, which was a relief.

Also, apparently that area was where all the cool people hung out, because I looked over, and there was Lauren from Love Is Not a Triangle AND Asheley from Into the Hall of Books! My people! There was much hugging and squeeing, especially once I realized that Asheley does indeed have a melodious drawl. Loved loved loved. I had just gotten back in line when I happened to glance at the name tag of the woman next to meet right as she glanced at mine. We both froze at the same time when she realized who I was and I realized that she was Susanne Winnacker of Impostor fame! More squealing, more hugs, more pictures. She'd just left when suddenly there was Mary Gray, author of The Dollhouse Asylum and co-contributor to the Attack of the Assassins! blog tour. Per the usual, squealing, talking, hugging, picture-taking.

Lauren and Asheley
Susanne Winnacker
Mary Grey
I was practically staggering under the weight of so many awesome encounters when my line started moving. It was time to meet Elizabeth Wein! I think I played it pretty cool (no crying or outright squealing or anything), but I was extremely excited to meet Ms. Wein. AND SHE KNEW WHO I WAS!! Dying. Dying dying dying. Y'all don't even know. I don't remember where I went from there, but at some point I ended up at Rainbow Rowell's booth and got to meet her. Then I bumped into Claire LeGrand, and Mary Gray again before getting in line for Victoria Schwab's signing, where I bumped into A.C. Gaughen again. The signing was insane, because far more people showed up than there were books to give them. I also got to meet Jess from Read My Breath Away after DAYS of passing each other and not knowing it. We then toodled around together for a long time before being separated in the madness that surrounded Grumpy Cat.

Elizabeth Wein
Rainbow Rowell
Claire LeGrand

A.C. Gaughen
My last event of the day before the Blogger Picnic (which you can read about in this post) was to meet Samantha Shannon. I'd won a Twitter contest to meet her and receive an ARC of The Bone Season, which was cool. She was a little late (she and her editor were stuck elsewhere), but I got to talk with the other bloggers at the table, which included the very sweet Alexa from Alexa Loves Books. Seriously, if you all thought she was sweet online, you have no idea.

Photo by Laura
Finally, Saturday was a little calmer than the other days. I zipped over to Amy Tintera's line and got to meet her. Again, insanely nice! And she remembered me! Then I stood in line with a ton of librarians for Patricia Polacco, the Dr. Seuss of my childhood. She was running late due to some sort of emergency, but I did get to meet her, and she was so nice! Other highlights for the day include meeting the Epic Reads girls, having Sarah J. Maas remember my name and wave at me from across the room(!), and randomly bumping into Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs. There was much inner flailing involved with that last one especially. Ransom was nearby for a signing that hadn't started yet, so he and Tahereh were just chilling and talking. I hovered in what was probably a concerning fashion before working up the nerve to say hello.

They were both ridiculously nice, which has been the theme with BEA authors as a whole. Tahereh said she knew my name from Twitter, which sent all sorts of exclamation points screaming through my head. And then Ransom and I talked about living in the same state, and he mentioned that he would be nearby for a signing this month. Well, he and Tahereh both, since they're practically joined at the hip. :)

I wasn't sad to leave Javits for the last time, because by then I was tired and sore and hungry. More than anything, I was ready to go get my books in order for the post office and I was grateful for the week I'd had.

I'm sorry about the format of this post. It's long and twisty and scattered, but in that way it's a lot like the Javits, haha. Really, BEA is something you just have to experience. I can write about it all I want, but I won't be able to explain to you what it's like. Nor will I ever be able to remember everything that I did. All I can say was that it was one of the most exhausting and most amazing weeks I've ever had. If you can go, GO.

Random tidbits about BEA and the people I met:
  • Line up on the side doors to get into the exhibition hall. The lines are way shorter than the main middle line.
  • Bring lunch. Hannah and I would buy lunch from a deli outside and then eat in line. Far cheaper than Javits food and a great time-saver.
  • Comfy shoes! I know everyone says it, but seriously, comfy shoes. I wore sneakers and my feet still hated me.
  • Don't trust the workers (except Janea). They're all very sweet volunteers, but only Janea of the Bullhorn Voice knows all.
  • Definitely bring a rolling suitcase to check. Your shoulders and back will thank you.
  • You'll get bumped around a LOT. Apologize profusely and give people some slack.
  • Make nice with the booth workers. They're totally cool and know amazing things. (My favorite booth people were at Candlewick, Bloomsbury, and Disney.)
  • Veronica Rossi's smile is blinding. Wear shades.
  • You meet the coolest people in line.
  • Do your best to remember to ask for business cards from the people you meet. And pass out your own!
  • You'll never be able to tell if authors really remember you or just say they do, but I'm more than willing to believe them.
  • Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner and Jess from Read My Breath Away have distractingly blue eyes.
  • Gillian from Writer of Wrongs is much shorter than anticipated, while Alexa from Alexa Loves Books is much taller. (But both were just as cool as anticipated.)
  • Authors are very huggy people. GO WITH IT.
  • You will never meet everyone you want to meet, and you will never get all the books you want to get. But you'll have a blast anyways.
  • Be picky with what you choose to take, because you'll have to ship it aaaaall back home.
That's all for my BEA post! Sorry it's so long and loopy, but I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, be sure to ask and I'll try to answer to be the best of my ability. (And yes, that is my face. Hi!)

I did get a crap-ton of books, but that will wait until my next post, where I focus on my treasure trove of BEA books.