BEA 2011 Recap (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of my BEA recap posts. You can view Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and more pictures here.

General Reflections and Lessons Learned at BEA 2011

  • The best shoes in the world won’t save you. Your feet will still hurt at the end of the week. I thought I was doing pretty well, but once I got home my feet swelled to about twice their natural size for a day. It was not pretty.
  • It’s important to hang out with the right people. The days are long and positivity is key, so steering clear of drama-starters can make a huge difference. However, it’s also vital to just break off and do your own thing sometimes in order to see what you want.
  • BEA and BBC are completely individualized experiences. It’s like a choose your own adventure book. What you see and do and who you meet while you are there all come down to the choices you make and the goals you have going into it. The experience is truly what you make of it.
  • My favorite moments were mostly the quiet conversations that happened away from the Javits Center. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy my time there, but the noise and chaos often made it difficult to really connect and talk to people. I loved having dinner with small groups of friends in places where nobody was in a hurry and we could just get lost in awesome conversations about books.
  • Being nice and being relaxed make all the difference in the world. Good things come to those who don’t run around Javits like a maniac. The publicists and sales people are much more eager to chat with you if you casually approach them about their most exciting upcoming titles than if you swoop in and grab every book in sight. Also, when you take the time to slow down, you never know who you might see just walking around the exhibit floor. (Plus, rumors spread fast, so don’t do anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to know about.)
  • Talk to people while you stand in line. I know this has been said over and over, but it’s so true. The fact is that you’ll probably stand in a LOT of lines over the course of the week. Occasionally you might get stuck next to somebody you don’t want to be chatting with all that much, but more often than not you will be around other people who are excited about books and have interesting things to say. It’s a great opportunity to meet bloggers, authors, librarians, booksellers, teachers, etc. Might as well make use of that time somehow!
  • Smartphones are your friend. I didn’t have one and it made my life a million times harder. Thankfully I spent a lot of time with people who did and were kind enough to not yell at me when I asked for directions for the millionth time. When you’re running around from one event to another all over Manhattan (and possibly Brooklyn), it is helpful to have some kind of GPS with you. Especially if you are as directionally challenged as I am.
  • Stay close to the Javits Center if possible. Or plan to mail everything in between events. I was fortunate enough to stay with a wonderful family friend this year; she was very kind and understanding about the fact that I was basically never there. However, it was a little too far for me to go drop stuff off in between things, so I usually hauled all my books and belongings around from one event to another. I don’t really recommend this. It gets excruciatingly painful. I would suggest staying close enough that you can run to your hotel to freshen up and drop things off, or making a visit to the conveniently located Penn Station Post Office to mail as much as you possibly can before you do anything else.
  • Taking pictures and notes throughout the week would be helpful. I was horrible about this because I thought I’d remember everything or I was just too caught up in what I was doing, but now that I’m home I wish I had kept better track of what I did, who I met, who each business card is affiliated with, etc. There’s so much going on, so taking notes and having pictures to remind you of things is probably a good idea, but not so much that you can’t just enjoy what you’re doing.

10 Responses to "BEA 2011 Recap (Part 3)"

  • Smart phones take pictures and allow you to take notes. SO it may be time to buckle, at least before the next event.

    1 Judy said this (June 1, 2011 at 12:10 PM)

    • I’m definitely about ready to cave. Being a Luddite can be fun, but sometimes technology is just practical and useful.

      2 Melanie said this (June 1, 2011 at 12:14 PM)

  • Wow, great post and very helpful! I hope to go next year! ~ Jen @ A Book and a Latte

    3 Jen @ A Book and a Latte said this (June 1, 2011 at 5:38 PM)

    • I hope so, too! It’s amazing how much can happen in a year of blogging.

      4 Melanie said this (June 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM)

  • Great post. Hopefully I’ll have a smartphone next year. I know what you mean about slowing down…it was nice to do that after the hectic tone of the Convention floor. I know what you mean about taking pics and notes too…whenever I got a business card, I wrote down where I met them and some kind of visual clue so I would remember them! I have a terrible memory!

    5 Midnyte Reader said this (June 1, 2011 at 7:53 PM)

    • That’s a good idea! I wish I’d done that. I tend to assume that my memory is much better than it really is 🙂

      6 Melanie said this (June 1, 2011 at 8:06 PM)

  • I would have been lost without my smartphone. It drained my battery like crazy but especially when I was out and about at night it was nice to see where I was going.

    7 Sarah said this (June 1, 2011 at 9:59 PM)

    • It sounded like everyone was having battery problems all week. I don’t know if it is bc people were tweeting like crazy all day or if phones kept searching for service in Javits or what. I definitely would have just wandered the city aimlessly if I hadn’t been able to get in touch with people for directions.

      8 Melanie said this (June 1, 2011 at 10:01 PM)

  • Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading all your BEA posts and hopefully if I get to go next year I will remember to apply your great advice to the trip. I was sorry to hear you had to stay with a family friend. Did the whole finding roommates and a place to stay not work out? Even though I didn’t get to go this year hopefully I can meet you next year. Glad you have a great time and enjoy all the wonderful books you got!

    9 Shannon said this (June 5, 2011 at 7:33 PM)

    • Thank you! Hope you’ll be able to go next time around.

      There were a lot of obstacles to staying with other bloggers this time around, so I eventually decided that it would be best for me to back out of that process. There were absolutely perks to staying with a family friend. It saved me a lot of money and I got to go back to a quiet place at the end of the day, but the distance and having to travel around by myself wasn’t so great.

      10 Melanie said this (June 5, 2011 at 7:39 PM)