BEA 2011 Recap (Part 2)
Thursday was probably my favorite day of the week. Things were quieter at Javits; everyone was starting to pack up, fewer people were there, and it was a wonderful opportunity to chat with people at booths. I spent most of the morning standing in line for Maureen Johnson’s Name of the Star, went to a few other signings after that (many of which were at the same time slots, so just had to accept that I couldn’t do them all), and then wandered around a bit. I had the opportunity to talk to Michael Northrop for a while; he was incredibly kind and approachable. I also chatted with Kirsten Hubbard and Kaitlin Ward of YA Highway while waiting to get onto the exhibit floor, which was a lot of fun (I think Kirsten should win an award for best dressed at BEA). A sales rep at Flux was also generous with her time, talking to Tara and me about some of their upcoming releases. I also had a great conversation with a publicist at Little Brown about contemp books.
I then took off on my own for coffee with a friend for a couple hours. I can’t say enough how much I valued those quieter events. Following that, I walked back to Javits to meet up with people for the BBC reception. However, we were all pretty much done with crowds and noise at that point, so we took off for Pinkberry. Best decision ever. I hadn’t loved Pinkberry when I tried it a long time ago, but it was insanely good this time and it was nice to get away.
When we were done, we headed over to Scholastic for a blogger meet and greet and This is Teen event. (We stopped at some fancy shops on the way and it was very clear that none of us could afford anything inside of them, but there were pretty things to look at.) The Scholastic event was incredible. I’m extraordinarily grateful to them, and to Shanyn for getting my name on the list of bloggers in attendance.
The whole evening really blew me away. I got to stand around and chat with David Levithan, Barry Goldblatt, Libba Bray, and lots of amazing bloggers and Scholastic folks. (Huge props to Libba Bray, who was literally calling up fans who couldn’t make it to the event and leaving them messages. I know I should probably be better about separating authors from their books, but the fact is that when authors are nice I want to support them even more.) The meet and greet was full of some of my literary superstars, plus there was delicious food, and This is Tinis. They also gave us a bag of books on the way out, which was extraordinarily generous.
The Q&A and signing that followed were just as incredible. If you can make it to a This is Teen event, I highly recommend that you go. Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and Maggie Stiefvater were all hilarious. Natalie Standiford was also in attendance, and a few of us got to meet her briefly. The authors split up into different signing tables, and people were able to go through each line to get their books signed and pictures taken with all three authors. When I was done, I bought a pretty Mockingjay t-shirt that I saw while I was looking around; I really wanted to buy something to support the store since I’d already been given the books that I was planning to purchase. (The Scholastic store is really awesome). By the end of that event, I was ready to go pass out before another day of being up super early.
Friday was BBC day. We had breakfast, followed by build your own swag bags (got a free download of a book of essays on FNL from Smart Pop and it made me insanely excited), and then we all attended the keynote speech from Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I didn’t really know anything about her blog going into this, but I was very impressed with her humor and insight into blogging.
When the keynote speech was over, we broke up into panels. I attended the Ask a Publisher/Publicists panel, which was quite illuminating. Not always in good ways. The folks on the panels were all wonderful, and the contact sheets they provided will be very helpful. I was a bit disappointed by the focus of some of the questions asked and the way that some personal issues were aired out in a public forum, but I think that’s about all I’ll say on that topic.
There was a nice lunch of sandwiches, salad, chips, and cookies provided. Then I went to the Gray Areas of Blogging panel. It was interesting to hear the panelists’ thoughts on obligations to review books and respond to emails, disclosure of relationships with authors, and levels of professionalism. I particularly enjoyed hearing from The Book Maven, who was incredibly articulate and insightful. Unfortunately by this point in the day I was starting to feel sick from sleep deprivation and my focus was going out the window.
I went to one more panel about technology in blogging and learned a bit about platforms, podcasting, Goodreads, and Edelweiss. The panelists spoke for about an hour and then broke off to take questions from individuals.
In general, I thought BBC went pretty smoothly. All of the organizers of that event deserve a lot of recognition for their hard work. I know it will just keep getting better and better every year.
Once BBC was over, I joined a small group of bloggers for another dinner at Chipotle. I was too exhausted to manage anything more than dinner at that point, so it was nice to just grab some food and then get a chance to say goodbye to everyone. Well, the saying goodbye part wasn’t so nice, that was difficult, but plans are already in the works for reunions in the future.
I had a few hours to kill before my bus left. One of my goals for the week was to pick up some cupcakes from Crumbs, which was conveniently located near the UPS store. I shipped out all of my books and then grabbed a six-pack of cupcakes to bring home. (It was so difficult to resist them that long, plus my bus driver kept hoping I’d forget them so he could eat them.)
I went for a nice walk along the Hudson with the person I was staying with, and then we grabbed lunch before I had to take off. The river was beautiful, the breeze was lovely, and this was one of the only opportunities I had to actually see her all week other than the “how was your day” recap we had most evenings.
By that point, I was very glad to be getting on the bus and headed home to my puppy. I missed Wiki like crazy all week, but especially on the final day when I wasn’t running around like a chicken with my head cut off. The bus ride back went very quickly and I had a wonderful reunion with Wiki, followed by a day of doing nothing but catching up on TV and laundry.
Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow…