How To BEA

by sarahenni on June 12, 2012

I have loved reading everyone’s BookExpo America breakdown posts this week, all the more because, giant bunch of introverts that we are, the recap posts are happening after everyone has had a long weekend (of reading ARCs) to recover.

And I am no different! Now that I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, I thought I would put together a handy list of To Dos for anyone considering a future jaunt to BEA in all its madhouse glory.

Step 1: Convene a kickass war counsel.

From Left: Lindsey Roth Culli, Sara McClung, Cristin Terrill, Claire Legrand, Diana Fox, Frankie Diane Mallis, Kelsey Dixon, Jessica Sheehan

Last year (my first BEA trip) I read literary agent Suzie Townsend‘s swag sweep blog post with a not-insubstantial amount of incredulity. “Come on,” I thought to myself, naively. “It can’t be that intense!” Oh ho, that was a mistake. I left last year’s BEA with a grand total of two (2) ARCs. This year I was determined to make the trip more worthwhile. And I was fortunate enough to fall in with this group of awesome ladies who were ready to conquer the expo floor. There were diagrams. There was a route. I was on the vanguard (and somehow managed to lose the pack at the first stop) but made it out with at least 10 of the books I’d been most excited about in as many minutes.

Step 2: Convince yourself crowds are fun and sweating is a natural and pleasant thing, also feet are supposed to be in constant pain.

Deny to survive. DENY.

Step 3: Use the conference to go outside your comfort zone.

TIM GUNN! Also me, Kara Taylor, Lindsey Roth Culli, Sasha K

not trying to be artsy my pic just won't rotate

When I was researching what books I was most interested in from BEA, most of my list included YA titles. But I made sure to read the Publisher’s Weekly reviews of what adult and Middle Grade books were going to be highly sought after, too. I also scoured the BEA author signings listings, looking for anything that caught my eye. Being open to non-YA books, authors, and events led me to some of the best parts of my experience: Meeting Tim Gunn (who is every bit as charming and kind as you hope he is), and grabbing the ARC for Justin Cronin’s The Twelve, a book I’ve been having dreams nightmares about for like two years now.

Step 4: Make time to meet with internet friends IRL

YA Highway girls, together at last! From left: Phoebe North, me, Veronica Roth, Kody Keplinger

The YA Highway girls are in pretty constant communication, but no number of smiley emoticons compare to meeting up for actual conversation. Make time to meet people, and take it outside Javits if at all possible. Oh and also, err on the side of introducing yourself. There will come a day when BEA will print everyone’s Twitter handle and avatar on the name tags, but until then explaining who you are (even if you’ve met someone before!) can only help ease awkwardness.

Step 5: Go to dinner with a mom

Frankie and Sara admire the genius artwork

I cannot stress how prepared Lindsey Roth Culli was for BEA. Girl brought snacks for the car ride up, an inflatable pool raft so Kara Taylor didn’t have to sleep on the floor, and she was even able to bust out her own set of crayons at our restaurant. I am only showing pictures from the side of the table that was able to keep things clean with their drawings.

Related: Always order interesting-sounding margaritas. They might be hot as a jalapeno lollipop on the Fourth of July, but they will also be endlessly entertaining. See below.

Lindsey and Kara took their flaming hot margaritas as a personal challenge, and persevered!

Step 6: Unpack your stash

If you’re like me, you will unpack your BEA books and file them under Bookshelf > To Be Read > YA Section > Alphabetical in Order of Release Date.

Step 7: Enjoy your stash.

Entertainment for months! In this way, BEA never really ends.

What about you? Did you go to BEA? How was it! Did we see each other! If not, WHY NOT! Is anyone going to ALA? Any tips for how to handle it out there?


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss K June 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Jealous, especially of meeting Tim Gunn!
You’ll love The Darkest Minds, it’s excellent.


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:38 am

Oooh I am so looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the rec :)


Lindsay June 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm

How awesome! Glad you had better success this year with the ARC-snagging (and I am so drooling at them right now). Also, totally dying to try some ridiculous margarita flavors.


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:39 am

We HAVE to be able to find some crazy margs around here! New goal!


Alexia561 June 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Great post! Agree with Step 2, as you need to deny the pain. Deny! *L*


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:39 am

LOL That was a major step! No matter how much you prepare, feet are never ready for all that walking. Phew.


Kat C June 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Aww, it looks like you guys had a great time. I think I had a plan for BEA (my first BEA) and I was able to get a nice amount of ARCs. I actually found the experience less intense than I imagined.

I’m so jealous of you with Tim Gunn !


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

Aw I’m so glad it was not as crazy as you thought it would be! I’m sure you helped yourself a ton by making a plan :) Will you go again next year?


Jessica Love June 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Are you coming to ALA? I’ll be at ALA!


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:41 am

Noooo! D: Didn’t have it in the budget to make it out to California this year, but I hope we get to meet at another conference SOON!


Erin Bowman June 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Jealous!!! Looks like you had a blast. And you ladies all look adorable. :)


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:42 am

I look forward to posting pics of us hanging out with YOU soon I hope! Maybe next year’s BEA?


Sash June 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Oh HELLO, there. Of course we hung out at BEA, I just wish we had hung out more! I’m glad we basically see each other on a monthly basis. :) Wish you were going to ALA!! :(


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:43 am

I wish I was going, too! And man, it really was insane up there—just not enough time to see everyone! Must hang out around here soon :)


capillya June 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Looks like you had so much fun! I don’t think I would’ve dared to brave a flamin’ hot margarita, though. They’re so brave! And I see you’ve got The Twelve, I’m DETERMINED to read The Passage before that book comes out (I have it on my shelf, even!) and I just finished The Scorpio Races last weekend and looking forward to The Raven Boys! Enjoy!


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:44 am

I must say, I was definitely not one of the brave ones with those margs! I took one sip and that was enough, lol! Those girls ARE brave. Ooooooh The Passage! You must let me know what you think after you read it!


Elodie June 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

It looks like SO MUCH FUN! :D I was lucky enough to go to TAC and I even asked a question (yay!). Maybe one day, I´ll make it to BEA. Glad you had a great time! :D


sarahenni June 14, 2012 at 6:45 am

Ahhh I was at TAC for, like, one hot minute. I’m so bummed I didn’t realize you were there!!


Rebecca T June 14, 2012 at 7:29 am

BEA was SO much fun! I definitely did not plan right to meet up with internet friends, but I did run into some of them purely through chance and that was super cool! I am so jealous that you got The Twelve! I didn’t make it over there! But my stash is lovely and I can’t wait for next year :)


Sarah G. June 14, 2012 at 8:44 am

Looks like you had a blast! I look forward to being in town for BEA next time around, and seeing all of you lovely people I missed this year. Of all the ARCs floating around, I am most looking forward to borrowing a friend’s copy of THE RAVEN BOYS, because oh man I read the sample chapter and went, “I should not have done that. September?!?!”


Krispy June 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Love this post, and omg BEA always looks so insane but fun! One day! Also, I am intensely jealous of your Raven Boys ARC! Dying to read that one!


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