Day 5: Wednesday, May 28thOfficially, Wednesday was not a BEA day, as I elected to skip the Book Blogger Conference (probably a good thing too, considering the drama at one of the panels, which ended up ripping a divide between book bloggers and booktubers). But Gaby and I woke up at a decent hour and went down to the Javits anyway to pick up our press badges. And how freaking exciting was that? Because we ended up running into a whole group of book bloggers who I looooove and got to meet for the first time: Steph, Kat and Meg from Cuddlebuggery, Jamie from the Perpetual Page-Turner (who is officially the sweetest), April from Good Books and Good Wine, Kim from The Midnight Garden (who I actually didn’t know before BEA but grew to LOOOOVE in no time at all – bookish people are the best people), and a bunch of other people who I don’t exactly remember. Oh, and of course Christina and Gillian were there as well, both looking a bit sad about the early hour.
So. Many. Blogger. Friends. It’s extremely fun and exciting to meet them, but everyone is overwhelmed running from person to person, “OMG YOU’RE HERE,” so don’t be offended. So many people, so many words, so little time.After way too much excitement and squeals and hugs (WHEN STEPH SPOTTED ME SHE IMMEDIATELY INSISTED ON A HUG AND I THINK I KIND OF DIED), we all went our different ways for our afternoon plans. I went off with Gaby to go shopping where I convinced her to buy fabulous things from H&M. I am an excellent shopping partner, oh yes. We then met up with Jamie, Christina, Steph, Kim, April (with her co-bloggers Allison and Cassie), Elena from Novel Sounds, and Tiff from Mostly YA Lit at the Mac Bar for an early mac & cheese dinner. Now, here’s the thing: I kinda sorta don’t like mac & cheese? Or I thought I didn’t because of one bad experience as a child. Jamie will gloat when I tell you guys that the mac & cheese at the Mac Bar was seriously delicious. More bookish conversations ensued, and Tiff, who went to Book Blogger Con, filled us in in detail about what went down at the Booktuber panel, which definitely served as a bonding moment among us book bloggers who apparently “don’t sell books”. *scoffs*
Photo cred: Jamie
Next I attended the Us vs. Them panel with Cara Lynn Shultz (The Dark World), Julie Kagawa (Talon), Claire Legrand (Winterspell), Lenore Appelhans (The Memory of After), and Jennifer L. Armentrout (White Hot Kiss). This panel mostly discussed conflict in fantasy/paranormal stories and world building. My biggest takeaway was that I was DYING for Winterspell. Claire read an excerpt of it and her writing style was just so gorgeous. Alas, still two months to wait. (
After the panels, there was a signing. Along with One Man Guy, I also bought The Memory of After, because Lenore is made of awesome. They were giving away tote bags to panel attendees and Elena was suuuuuper sweet and gave me hers – so I also got an ARC of Lies We Tell Ourselves! I got all three books signed, but the best experience had to be with Michael Barakiva, because GUYS. My copy… is the first book he EVER signed. He was so sweet about it too – he was kind of panicking about which page to sign on and what to write… suffice it to say, we laughed, I was even more excited to read the book, and I will treasure that copy forever. Also, although I didn’t have any JLA books with me (and most that I own are signed anyway), I went to go say hi to her when her line was done — and I had a near heart attack, guys, because she knew who I was and apparently reads my blog posts. INTERNAL FANGIRL WENT CRAZY. I also said hi to Lauren Morrill (Meant to Be), though my copies of her books were also at home, but she thanked me for my reviews and offered to send me some book plates, which was super sweet ♥
So I think it’s safe to say that Wednesday was a very successful day. Gaby and I went back to her apartment where we fought off exhaustion and baked the promised and fabled slutty brownies. They were very delicious indeed. And then TO BED. BECAUSE BEA WAS LOOMING.
Day 6: Thursday, May 29thThursday, it was finally time for the main event: Book Expo America. Now, first things first, I feel really blessed that I had all these experienced friends to guide me through this because I feel like I would have missed out on so much otherwise. Gaby made the smart call for us to get some bagels to take with us, so we could eat as we went on the floor at the Javits – the lines at the food court are ridiculous, and the prices are even more ridiculous. We got to the Javits 15-20 minutes before the floor opened and found Christina and Gillian in line to get in. The clock struck nine, and the crowd was unleashed upon the convention floor.
Find yourself a Christina – that is to say, someone who has been to BEA before and knows how to get shit done, who will not be too creeped out about you following her.Now, though I felt sort of prepared for what BEA was like, I somehow had not heard about the fact that there would be galley drops at 9 am – and they went QUICKLY. So I made the excellent judgment call to follow Christina, who moves at ninja-like speeds from booth to booth – roughly knowing their locations, and which got me a good 6-7 galleys in the first 30 minutes. 9 am drops are intense. (Most galley drops are, but especially on the first day, as a newbie… it was like WOAH.) I also made it a priority to stop by the Quirk Books booth to finally meet Eric Smith, who was my first ever publisher contact 🙂 He was super sweet, and they were really excited about one of their main BEA events: having Hello Kitty stop by. Apparently there’s this whole thing about how only one person can officially dress up as Hello Kitty at a time IN THE WORLD, so it was a big deal. I loled. Sadly, I missed that event.
After the chaotic first half hour, during which I was also overwhelmed by the size of the convention center, I reminded myself to check my schedule and get myself to the YA Buzz panel at 10 am. Again: kind reminder that author people are awesome people, because I got down to the room and was by myself, but Lenore waved me over to sit at a table with her, Claire Legrand, Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, and other industry people. I felt like I got to sit at the cool people table. And everyone loved my dress, one industry person even saying I was the best dressed person of the day. Talk about a confidence boost! Anyway, at the panel they talked about The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, The Walled City by Ryan Graudin, and I’m Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil. Each was presented by the editor, who told us a bit about the story, the publishing process, etc. All of them sounded incredibly intriguing, so I decided to pick up copies of all of them – but the stampede and the crowd around the table with the ARCs at the end of the panel was insane. No line, no control, nothing. Crazy.
Left: Me and Gillian (photo cred: Eric Smith from Quirk); Right: author table of awesome at the Buzz panel
Goal for next year: Attend more panels! This ended up being the only one I went to due to the gigantic list of signings and galley drops I was interested in and the bloggers I wanted to chat with. Sad.After the panel, I rushed off to the signing area to get in line for A.S. King’s Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, a big name author I’ve yet to read – and a book with a timey wimey twist. You can easily wait at least half an hour to an hour in a signing line, so it’s good to grab a buddy to chat with during that time. I attended one other signing that day for The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz, which has one of the prettiest covers ever.
In the afternoon, I got separated from most other people, and the floor became a bit overwhelming to me. Not to mention, the Wi-Fi really sucks, so having no data plan or cell service otherwise, I was on my own. But since it had been a crazy morning, I found a quiet spot by the panel rooms to cool off – and that was the only place where the Wi-Fi was still working. I got back onto the floor later and completely by coincidence walked by Bloomsbury right as they started their galley drop for The Fire Artist – which I probably would have missed otherwise. I wandered for a bit and explored the booths, engaging in a little people watching, and when the time came for the Throne of Glass tote bag drop, I heard people calling “DEBBY! DEBBY!” – it was Jessie from Ageless Pages and Bekka and Lyn from Great Imaginations! I was a little awkward turtle because I did not immediately recognize them and I felt a bit bad about that, but the orange is awkward – I think we’ve settled that. I’m a bit bad with faces. *sigh* And people in general.
We met up later with Kara (also from Great Imaginations), Pixie (from The Bookaholic) Steph, and Kat at another drop — and I was SO excited to finally meet Kara in real life. She is honestly one of the sweetest people ever. I explored more of the floor and met Nicole from The Quiet Concert, which was super exciting. In that same line, someone called out to me, “Oh my god, you’re Debby! I love your blog!” – and I was shocked again that someone recognized me. The awkward turtle streak continued as I asked if I knew her and felt bad when, no I didn’t. Even worse, I was on my way somewhere so then I awkwardly rushed off and just *facepalm* if that was you I’M SO SORRY, BEA IS CRAZY, I REALLY WISH I COULD HAVE TALKED TO YOU FOR LONGER.
Me and Kara! (Photo cred: Kara)
Left: me, Kara, Christina, and Kat (photo cred: Kara); Middle: Meg, me, and Christina (photo cred: Kara);
Right: Kara, Christina, me, and Gillian (photo cred: Jamie)
Day 7: Friday, May 30thOn Friday, I had one priority above all others: that Sarah J. Maas signing. When the floor opened, we made a quick round, and then I got in line for Sarah J. Maas at 9:20 with Gillian and Ashleigh. The signing was at 11. I know. But we weren’t even first – and that line pretty much exploded. Yeah: tip for BEA, Sarah might need to be a ticketed author next year. Though we had a long wait, it didn’t actually feel that long, because Gillian and I were just chatting the whole time. I briefly – in a flash – saw Ashley from Nose Graze and mourn the fact that I didn’t actually get to spend any time with her, because she’s awesomesauce.
Next to us was the ticketed line for Rick Riordan. I was torn because I’d decided to skip it in favor of Sarah J. Maas. There was one girl in full costume, which was really impressive. As Uncle Rick was signing, Gillian and I sneaked out of our line for a second to take creepy stalker photos of him. Whatever, I regret nothing. I was breathing the same air as Uncle Rick. Worth it. Then finally, we got through the line to see Sarah J. Maas. She is stunning, visually, but also SUCH a nice person, because even though her line was enormous, she actually took the time to speak with each person as they got up to her desk. She’s super nice. LOVE.
Left: Rick Riordan; Middle: Sarah J. Maas;
Right: me and Gillian – WE HAVE THE PRECIOUS (photo cred: Kim)
Some authors you will have WAY TOO MANY THINGS to say to, and others you won’t be able to think of a word. Either case is OKAY. If you feel awkward, remember they’re meeting hundreds of readers that day. No biggie.I also attended signings for Rebecca Serle’s Famous in Love (CELEBRITY ROMANCE, OBVS), Miranda Kenneally’s Breathe, Annie, Breathe (because Christina), Rachel Harris’s The Fine Art of Pretending (best friend romance OH YEAH), and Dahlia Adler’s Behind the Scenes (because she’s awesome). HOW did I do so many signings in one day? I dunno. I went from line to line. I read the first few pages of Heir of Fire while waiting and met some new people as well – I know, I talked to strangers, I surprised myself. Dahlia’s signing was the sweetest, because I didn’t have a ticket for an ARC, and she generously gave me the last one she had saved. YAY. I’M SPECIAL. HA. The Kenneally line was hilarious because Meg and Gillian were doing a dramatic reading of some crazy Tumblr erotica for me and Christina. Many lols were had.
Me, Christina, Dahlia, and Meg (photo cred: Dahlia)
Day 8: Saturday, May 31stSaturday, I decided to take it pretty easy, especially when I saw the Book Con crowd at the Javits. I snagged a copy of Hook’s Revenge at the Disney booth, and then met up with Gillian. I really only wanted two other books, and thankfully those were both dropped in the morning: We Should Hang Out Sometime by one of my favorite Youtubers, Josh Sundquist, and The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet because DUH.
Sometimes the people in the booths themselves don’t even know what they’re giving away and when. It’s fine to linger – but if you just ask them, they’ll try to help you out. Be brave and break the ice!When we finally got our hands on the PRECIOUS, the crowd was getting super crazy. I’m sure you heard about the 8-10 thousand extra people coming in for Book Con. It was a mad house – all the aisles were super crowded, people were pushing, and it was really hard for the publishers to maintain any kind of order. If you wanted to network on Saturday, chances are you just simply couldn’t. I almost got stuck in a crowd for a while, and I didn’t even attempt any of the signing lines or panels (which I heard were even more chaotic). Also: apparently you had to pay for some of the books on Saturday. Otherwise, pretty much everything at BEA is free – but I saw a signing line for A.G. Howard, where the people had to buy their books, scanning their credit cards via an iPad extension. I dunno. I found that a bit… odd. But it was the consumer day, so I get that it’s pretty normal to ask them for some money.
Gillian and I left the Javits soon after that, and we met up with Christina, Kara, Lyn, Jessie, and Pixie to have lunch at Burgers and Cupcakes. Um, guys, their burgers are delish. Umm, more or less like all food in NYC. I’m spotting a common thread here. Anyway. We rambled about the craziness of Book Con, which the others didn’t even try to attend after seeing the pictures online, and Meg stopped in for a chat as well. Gillian and I split off after that and she kindly came with me to see a BIT more of the Big Apple. We stopped by the Highline, a beautiful park, where we read the end of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet and squealed and giggled about it (we’d watched the webseries anyway, so it’s not like we were spoiling ourselves – we just desperately wanted to see what went down off-screen). And we also stopped by the NYC Public Library, which is a seriously amazing building, but the main part of it was closed for renovations. Sad day.
Gillian and I split, and I went off to get myself a quick dinner before going to Kids Author Carnival. Claire Legrand did a great job organizing it – I was seriously impressed. So this event was actually for grade school kids, who were split up into teams and went around to different activities, such as Pictionary (of book titles), charades (led by the hilarious Tim Federle (Better Nate Than Never)), a writing round robin, create-your-own-character, and panels with authors. It was so much fun and so inspiring to watch. I wish I’d had something like this as a kid, because I probably would have liked reading a whole lot more. But the main event and reason for me attending was to meet one of my all-time favorite authors in the world: Kody Keplinger (The Swift Boys and Me). I spotted her immediately and attended her panel first, where she and other authors (including the awesome Marie Rutkoski (The Cabinet of Wonders)) discussed their writing processes. I loved how they interacted with the little kids – it was just too cute for words.
After shadowing the kids to some of the other activities, the event concluded with – you guessed it – a signing! I bought Kody Keplinger’s newest book, because obviously, and Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows, because I just loved running into her all week and I suspected her books (regardless of age group) would charm the hell out of me. In a surprising twist of fate, I won a raffle for a basket of books! Ironically, it had a signed copy of The Swift Boys and Me, which I’d just purchased, but I made Jessie happy with that. It also had an ARC of Hook’s Revenge, which I’d gotten that morning, so I made Kara happy with that. (YOU GET A BOOK! YOU GET A BOOK! EVERYBODY GETS A BOOOOOOOOOOK!) But don’t worry, I was very excited about the other book in the basket, Saving Lucas Biggs, which sounds like my kind of Middle Grade read – it’s TIMEY WIMEY.
Anyway, I may have needed Gaby to prod me over to Kody, because I had a case of THE NERVES, but I finally approached her, and she knew who I was, and she was the sweetest ever. I told her A Midsummer’s Nightmare is one of the only books that ever made me cry, and she told me that was the only scene ever where she cried while writing it. I MEAN REALLY. We got a picture together that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It could easily have been the highlight of the week. Particularly because of what happened AFTER that.
Oh and she followed me and I just about died. We’re obvs BFFs now, plzkthnxbai.
Steph didn’t want to go! And I didn’t want her to either! 🙁
Goal for next year: At least take A COUPLE pictures that include you and awesome blogger folks. Before people say, “Pics or it didn’t happen.”
Day 9: Sunday, June 1stSunday, it was finally time for me to leave. I spent the morning packing up my books, a little nervous whether everything would fit – but it did! 37 books in one suitcase and one carry-on – and NOT OVERWEIGHT. I was very proud of myself because of that, ngl.
Keep all those tote bags you picked up – if you’re OCD like me about keeping your books in good shape, they serve as excellent wrapping and protection.Gaby sweetly made some delicious challah french toast, and Gillian stopped by as well so I got to repeat my goodbyes of the previous night. I managed NOT to cry (SCORE!) and was a lazy bum, taking a taxi to Newark Airport. Another inefficient airport – oh, and Delta Airlines sucks. My flight back was pretty much the worst ever, because of this strictly orthodox Jewish guy who had the seat next to me, and after looking at me for one second started asking the male passengers around me to switch seats with ME. I was so offended, hurt, and pissed off. I asked why a million times, but he only answered when one of the other passengers asked him the same thing, and he just said, “It would just be easier for me.” Ugh. Seriously, if you have a religious thing where you can’t sit next to a female because of temptations or whatever, take it up with the airline ahead of time or ask someone to switch seats with YOU. Sadly the annoyance didn’t end there, as after that, for at least half the flight, he was reading aloud and chanting in Hebrew, rocking back and forth in his seat. To say that my anxiety shot up through the roof would be an understatement. But finally, I arrived in Amsterdam, waited an age and a half for my suitcase, traveled 1.5 hours to Rotterdam, and was home sweet home.