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.
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.
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
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
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.
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?