Everything I Learned from Attending BookExpo and Tips I’m Sharing

I can’t believe it’s almost time for BookExpo. I’ve been attending the book and publishing conference since 2011 and will be heading back as Press this year so be sure to watch my social media for updates.

This is an updated version of a tips post I originally shared in 2014.

What to Bring:

Here’s what you should bring along to the Javits Center every day:

  • Paperwork: DON’T FORGET YOUR REGISTRATION BADGE! If you’re a print out your schedule ahead of time kind of person, don’t forget that either. If you’re attending with friends you may want to have copies to share too.
  • Cell Phone: I keep my entire BookExpo schedule on my phone for easy access and to see it plotted out in my calendar. This is also a great way to keep track of any friends you’ll be traveling with as your schedules may overlap and diverge. I take my Press duties seriously so I also use my phone to live tweet the show, share Instagram stories, take pictures for my recap post, and have a way to reference the BookExpo site if something on the schedule changes. (BookExpo also offers a Show Planner app to download to smartphones which is another helpful way to schedule but it might not always load properly at Javits.)
  • Portable Charger: Javits has terrible wifi. Your phone will run down. Be sure to start the day with a fully charged phone. Also bring some kind of portable charger–there aren’t a ton of outlets so having your plug on hand isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to charge devices.
  • Cash: It’s just easier to get lunch with cash whether you are at the Food Court or elsewhere. Also easier for cab fare and everything else. You will also want some cash on hand for Coat Check.
  • Small Bag: This is not the time for a giant hold-everything monster bag. Just the essentials (wallet, ID, paperwork, phone, etc.) It gets crowded on the show floor and everything you carry is going to be heavy. Don’t bog yourself down.
  • Business Cards: I give cards to authors, to publicists, and people I meet during the show. Be sure to have a nice stack so you don’t run out. This year I’m getting new cards with my blog URL, email, instagram, and twitter handles.
  • Water Bottle: Bring a bottle and refill it at the water fountains during the day.
  • Snacks: Just in case lunch proves elusive and you need to refuel.
  • Rolling Bag and Tote Bag: The tote will be used on the show floor (where no rolling luggage is allowed) to hold galleys you pick up. There is a 100% chance you will get totes throughout the show but it’s always good to have a sturdy one you already like–just in case. The rolling bag is the most important thing to bring. Before the show starts, drop the rolling bag in a coat check area for five bucks. Now, throughout the day, you can drop your books into the suitcase. At the end of the day you can roll your suitcase home or to your hotel. Easy.

What to Wear:

  • Clothes: BookExpo is a professional convention and it’s nice to look semi-professional too. I tend to do business casual leaning more toward casual. I’d also say dress in layers with some kind of lightweight sweater because air conditioning works more fully in some areas than others. My default outfit is usually a dress and cardigan with or without leggings underneath depending on the weather.
  • Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes. If that means sneakers, fine. If it means something else, go for it. You will likely be on your feet for eight hours and you will be walking for a lot of that. My go to shoes are Sanuks or Skechers just go with something you have already worn. This isn’t the time to break in a new pair.

How to Schedule:

  • Over-Schedule: BookExpo has author signings, panels and sessions, inbooth signings, galley drops, and sometimes even after hours events. You should check the BookExpo site and publishing social media to see what’s being promoted and what’s interesting for you. Opinions vary on how much to schedule or plan ahead for BookExpo. I’m in the camp of over-scheduling. I mark down everything I’m even remotely interested in and whittle down from there as the day progresses.
  • Prioritize: The key is to note when everything you want to do is happening. In any given time slot it’s likely you can do multiple things, but sometimes you can’t. Know what is most important to you and know how much time you want to spend on it–generally I pick some books and say to myself “Okay, this is why I’m at BookExpo today.” and that determines what else happens that day.
  • Schedule Lunch: Seriously. I tend to frequent the food court, but really eating anywhere is fine. Food is important and you won’t make it through the day otherwise. Same goes for staying hydrated.

What to Expect:

  • Fun: If you love books, BookExpo is a great time. It’s a little overwhelming but there is lots of fun to be had.
  • Books: No matter how many books you think you will take home, know that you will be getting more than that. If you listen to nothing else I’m sharing here, do trust me no the rolling bag.
  • Lines: You will wait on lines for a lot of BookExpo–especially for big name signings–but mostly it’s worth it.
  • Network: Don’t be afraid to say hi to people. If you see someone from Twitter, wave. If you love a book and see the author, say hello. If a publicist just made your day finding the last ARC for the only book you wanted that day, let them know. Pass out cards, make friends. Find contacts.

Those are all of the tips I have to share for a successful BookExpo. If you have more (or have some questions I didn’t answer), let’s chat in the comments!

BEA 2016: The Recap

BEA was in Chicago this year and for a very long time, I had no plans of going. I knew the added costs of travel (not to mention room and board) were going to be hard to manage. But as we got closer (still months away, mind) Nicole said that she wanted to go and after talking with my mom I decided I could make it work.

Fast forward through months of selling odds and ends on eBay to fund my flights and room, obsessively checking Chicago weather to figure out what to pack, and lots of other preparations for the trip that I did not expect having not traveled to BEA before (since it’s been in NYC every other year I went) and not traveled in general on this scale in at least ten years.

DAY ONE

Nicole and I knew we wanted to get in some sightseeing in Chicago since we’d never been so we booked an early flight on Tuesday (the day before BEA).

Upon arriving in Chicago we took the world’s longest cab ride to our hotel which was a bit dated but still pleasant enough for our trip. It was also swank as hell from the outside.

After checking in at the hotel and stowing our luggage until a room would be ready, we headed to the best breakfast place in the entire world: Yolk. Yolk was conveniently in walking distance to the hotel and became a favorite spot during our short trip.

Because I was an art history minor in college and love museums, I lobbied heavily for a visit to the Art Institute Chicago next.

I made sure we saw the Thorne Miniature rooms.

Nicole discovered the Art Institute Chicago’s Paperweight collection.

Then we both started to lose steam and decided to head to the gift shop. (Got to get those souvenirs!) This stop proved extremely helpful because I realized it was important to check out some other iconic pieces of art before we left.

After that, it was time to head back to the hotel. We decided to walk along Michigan Avenue to check out some other souvenir shops and window shop back to the hotel.

After regrouping at the hotel Nicole and I headed out to get dinner (dollar burgers at Bar Louie) and explore. I think because we were in a touristy area and near Columbia College Chicago, there was a lot of green space near the hotel and lots of public art in the form of sculptures and murals. So, just walking along Michigan Avenue it was possible to see a lot of beautiful things.

And with that day one in Chicago came to a close.

DAY TWO

It turns out when you travel one time zone over you body never really adjusts to being an hour ahead and you end up being awake really early for no good reason. So although BEA did not officially start until the afternoon, our day started early.

Happily, there were pancakes involved.

Then it was basically time to head to McCormick Place where we discovered that some things are the same in any city (AKA pre-BEA crowds).

BUT all of this line waiting did give me a chance to catch up with Cecelia and Sajda (and make dinner plans with Cecelia–more on that later) and also to meet Christina. Finally! So exciting. As is my way, I forgot to take pictures with almost everyone. So it goes.

Luckily Cecelia was a bit more on point so I at least have this:

The first day of BEA was pretty chill. There were some lines.

There were signings. And, most importantly, there was the new Little Elliot book Little Elliot, Big Fun.

Because so much of the show was scaled back this year, Nicole and I actually got to leave at a reasonable time. So we headed back to the hotel, emptied our suitcase, and got ready for dinner.

I had been asking about places to eat in Chicago for months by this point and one that stuck out was Portillo’s. As soon as Carli told me there were cake milkshakes, I was sold. So I dragged along Nicole, Cecelia and Cecelia’s friend Liza.

Words and even pictures cannot do justice to the sensory overload that is Portillo’s.

It was insane but I think it was also a sort of rite of passage as a Chicago visitor. The cake milkshake was exactly what you would expect of a piece of chocolate cake being put through a blender. I can still taste the icing.

DAY THREE

This was the first full day at BEA and the busiest.

There were tickets to be had.

There were signs to be held.

(I didn’t get that book, incidentally, but holding the sign seemed important.)

There were friends to meet like Val and Shannon and Kristen. There were friends to see like Britt and Cecelia and Sajda. Nicole and I spent a good chunk of BEA hanging out with Sajda and Cecelia which turned out to be an excellent life choice.

There were lots of exciting books!

One of my goals going into BEA this year was to be more selective about books and also to hit up some of the “less big” publishers. Mission accomplished because Sourcebooks was on point this year!

I didn’t take a photo with Zoraida Cordova BUT she did like my nails and had some epic candy swag.

After a full day at the convention center, Nicole and I decided it was high time to see the Bean. I don’t think either of us expected it to be as amazing as it was. But we had a blast!

So many photos ensued.

Like this isn’t even all of the photos yet. I’m still working through sharing them all on Twitter or Instagram. Anyway, it was a blast.

After that it was an easy walk to Giordano’s for their infamous deep dish pizza. The only problem is making the actual pizza took forever so our night wound up being quite long for what, I’m just going to say it, was a fairly horrible pizza experience. It turns out deep dish pizza is only good when it is super hot. And even then the “goodness” is questionable. I will say that the bruschetta we ordered as a starter was delicious. Live and learn!

DAY FOUR

The final day of BEA started quite early. But we had a plan.

After realizing that Chicago BEA is a lot more chill that NYC BEA, Nicole and I decided to get tickets to Maggie Stiefvater’s signing for The Raven King. Because why not?

This involved getting to McCormick Place quite early, waiting in line, getting coffee, and then (finally) getting tickets before heading out to get breakfast. A mad dash back the convention center followed.

There were, unsurprisingly, a lot of lines on this final day of BEA.

My face, I think, sums up my feelings about said lines.

Things got really intense while Nicole and I were waiting for Kendare Blake’s signing. Every year there is one book at BEA that seems to be impossible to get. This year it was Three Dark Crowns. This signing involved waiting for over an hour, several book counts, and repeated warnings that we might not get books.

But, eventually it all worked out!

After finishing up at McCormick Place, Nicole and I had to figure out shipping our books. There was not going to be time to do anything in the morning and we discovered that the local post office hours did not work with our schedule.

But it turns out our hotel had numerous benefits (like a free shuttle to McCormick Place every day) including being across the street from a larger, swankier hotel with a Fedex Store in the lobby. There’s no way around it: shipping books is expensive and I don’t think either of us counted on the level of embarrassment in emptying an entire suitcase (plus two tote bags in my case) of books into a box. Not that we were alone–lots of people were queuing up to do the exact same thing as we left. But it all worked out and I felt a lot better about it than having to deal with BEA shipping.

The swankier hotel also had a gift shop where I found a necklace in a style I’d been searching for without success for the last year.

We closed out our last full day in Chicago with tacos from Flaco’s Tacos (delicious) and some quiet time in our room. And packing.

DAY FIVE

The final day in Chicago wasn’t really a day. It was just time for a nice breakfast (and a souvenir shirt from Yolk, of course), a long cab ride to the airport, and two hours waiting in the security line at the airport.

Once we were checked in for our flight, Nicole and I got some last minute edible souvenirs (popcorn and fancy chocolate) before waiting for the flight home. Then it was time for another long cab ride home.

And with that, BEA 2016 officially came to a close.

My books arrived the next week and at this point everything is squared away. Until next year.

Interested in every book I got at BEA? Check out my 2016 BEA Books Recap.

BEA 2016: The Books

This is a post tracking the books I got each day at BEA and what happened to them because such things interest me. You can also read my more eventful BEA recap in a separate post.

Not shown here: I work in a library and have a lot of blogger friends so I got some books knowing they’d immediately be passed on.

  • Green = Books I read and plan to keep
  • Blue = Books I read and then passed on
  • Red = Books I gave away without reading

Day One

  1. The Female of the Species by Linday Rebar
  2. Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato
  3. Unicorns Are Jerks (coloring book) by Theo Nicole Lorenz
  4. Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West
  5. The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  6. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
  7. In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman
  8. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman
  9. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  10.  The Call by Peadar O’Guilin
  11. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
  12. The Graces by Laura Eve
  13. The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
  14. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
  15. Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Day Two

  1. Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
  2. Little Bot and Sparrow by Jake Parker
  3. Return by Aaron Becker
  4. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  6. Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
  7. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
  8. Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  9. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  10. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
  11. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  12. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
  13. Warp by Lev Grossman
  14. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
  15. The Haters by Jesse Andrews
  16. The Romantics by Leah Konen
  17. Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
  18. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  19. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
  20. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
  21. It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
  22. The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat
  23. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

Day Three

  1. Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly
  2. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  3. Spindle by E. K. Johnston
  4. Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
  5. Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
  6. The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
  7. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roerhig
  8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  9. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  10. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
  11. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  12. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Read and Keeping:

  1. Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato
  2. Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
  3. Return by Aaron Becker
  4. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  5. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  7. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  8. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
  9. The Romantics by Leah Konen
  10. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  11. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
  12. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
  13. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Read and Passing On:

  1. Unicorns Are Jerks (coloring book) by Theo Nicole Lorenz
  2. Little Bot and Sparrow by Jake Parker
  3. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  4. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  5. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
  6. The Graces by Laura Eve
  7. Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  8. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman
  9. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
  10. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  11. Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
  12. It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
  13. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roerhig

Giving Away Unread:
(These titles were put up for adoption to be read and reviewed by other bloggers.)

  1. Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
  2. The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat
  3. The Call by Peadar O’Guilin
  4. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
  5. The Haters by Jesse Andrews
  6. The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  7. The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
  8. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  9. Warp by Lev Grossman
  10. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
  11. The Female of the Species by Linday Rebar
  12. In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman
  13. Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
  14. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Totals:

  • Total books: 51
  • Read and Keep: 13
  • Read and Give Away: 13
  • Give Away Unread: 14

This post was inspired by something similar I saw Hannah create a couple of years ago. Basically, it confirms every suspicion that if you are going to BEA solely for the free books, it’s not worth it. It’s also interesting to me to see how “good” I am every year at picking up books I actually want. (The cost aspect is moot this year because I spent sooooo much more with it being in Chicago but also I got in a lot of sightseeing and fun so it balanced out.) You can also check out my 2015 BEA books post.

BEA 2015: The Recap

BEA was a lot of fun this year! I really enjoyed meeting new people (both bloggers and publicists I’ve worked with and ever authors!) and tried really hard to be more social. I fear that part of this post is going to come across as name dropping or bragging, but I really don’t want it to. It was just so incredibly humbling and also re-energizing to realize so many people do know who I am and do remember me when I say “I’m Miss Print.” (In that vein I’d also add my biggest advice to anyone who has a Twitter and is going to a book event is have a picture of yourself. It helps people find you and say hi!) For a while it felt like I was talking into a void but BEA was a nice reminder that even when it feels that way I’m really not.

Anyway, BEA 2015 was the absolute best–maybe the best one I’ve had since I started attending with Nicole in 2010.

Here’s what happened:

Pre-BEA

BEA started a little early with Jenny Han’s launch party for P. S. I Still Love You at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. Luckily I was able to get the day off from work which made it a lot easier to attend. Even luckier, Nicole (my constant and forever BEA buddy) was finally convinced to stay with me and Mom during BEA instead of commuting from NJ or paying a fortune for a hotel. Which meant that Nicole was able to arrive that afternoon and attend the launch as well. Yay!

We decided to head over to the venue early because it was in Brooklyn and a place I’d never been so I wasn’t sure how long the commute would take (spoiler: it was super fast and navigable with HopStop).

It turns out the Powerhouse Arena is super close to the Brooklyn Bridge so I also got some neat pictures of that before we went inside.

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We weren’t sure how quickly seats would fill up and we both wanted to meet some people there so we decided to arrive an hour early. That was good because we got early tickets for the signing line but it also meant a lot of waiting.

While Nicole headed over to Starbucks I secured out seats and gave everyone a heads up on what I was wearing in case any Twitter friends decided to say hi.

(Warning this post has a lot of pictures of me of which this is only the first. It happens. Even with trying to take more pictures I only realized later that I didn’t take pictures with ANY of the new blogger friends I met!)

Since Nicole and I always forget to take pictures together despite hanging out all the time, we decided to start BEA week off with a photo:

After that we waited for the event to start. Britt from Please Feed the Bookworm also came early so we finally got to meet in real life (and I got to hand off a Little Elliot tote which is now in a very good home!) Happily this was the first of several quick meetings we had during BEA.

Soon enough it was time for Jenny Han to come out. She talked a bit about the book, read an excerpt, and answered some questions. This part of the event was really short because it turned out in addition to a signing the launch also had some cool activities including custom accent nails by an expert nail artist, quick makeovers and a photo booth designed to look like Lara Jean’s room. Plus, of course, Jenny was signing books!

After getting our books signed (yay early tickets!) it was time to explore.

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Before heading off I got to say hi to Allison from Good Books and Good Wine after knowing each other twitter for a while. Then Nicole and I headed upstairs. We decided it was only right to get a makeover so we waited in line for that. While that happened Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads came up to say hi. And after tweeting with her for months it was great to see her in person. After that I got to play a rousing game of twitter tag with Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner as we tried to find each other in the crowd (we found each other eventually just later!).

Then it was time for a quick makeover! The makeup artist was super nice and she loved my eyeshadow (purple, courtesy of Nicole). She touched up my makeup, added mascara because according to her my eyes were screaming for mascara, and gave me a really bright lipstick.

Here’s how that worked out with glasses:

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And without:

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Nicole also got a makeover which included matching lipstick. Here she is:

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I was really pleased and have been trying to wear brighter lipstick (or any lipstick) since.

After that it was time for the photo booth with Nicole!

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On our way down and out we got a chance to say hi to Jamie and Allison again before heading out with Nicole and her friend Melissa.

Although it was a late night, it was a great start to BEA week.

BEA: Day One (Wednesday)

Since the exhibit floor opened at 1:00pm on Wednesday Nicole and I decided to arrive a little early around noon to head to the Press Office to register (we totally needed the extra time because the office was slammed).

As some of you may know, I have the scheduling thing down. This is a sample of what my Wednesday schedule looked like:

So as you can see, I had BEA slotted out in my phone calendar (this is actually not even the updated schedule because Nicole and I spent two hours chatting online to hammer it out after I posted this pic BUT you get the idea).

I also had a list of galleys to look for with input from SLJ/Publisher’s Weekly buzz posts. While we waited in line to enter the show floor, I checked out booth numbers and we looked at the map of the floor. While waiting in line I also got to say hi to the ever delightful Alex and a Janet for whom sadly I have no contact info. We all compared notes on plans for the day.

I also finally got to meet Kaye! Finally!

After that it was back to waiting in line with Nicole. We also caught Cecelia briefly before she headed into a new panel. Cecelia is of course a long time BEA buddy and let me just say now I am super pumped we got to see a lot of her during BEA.

Now you might have heard of this book called Truthwitch–I think it got some buzz during BEA? Nicole and I knew that was going to be crazy town so we decided to skip it when we heard people were arriving early in the morning to get ready to run to the Macmillan booth.

Instead we stopped at Disney where Nicole snagged me an arc of A Thousand Nights (one of the books I was most excited to get going into BEA!) before exploring the floor. Since today was, by far, the quietest day of the three, we knew this was the best time to explore the floor and see about drop schedules and books available.

I’ll be plugging this post a few times BUT for a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

Since our first “official” event wasn’t until 2, we spent a lot of time running around from booth to booth.

Everyone who works or volunteers at BEA is fantastic. The show floor is insane and it’s really stressful and everyone makes it look easy. That said, this year the people at Scholastic and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt went absolutely above and beyond and we so helpful the entire time. Thanks to some very kind publicists, I was able to get a few highly anticipated books without trying to track down a drop. Thank you! (The books, if you were wondering, were Vengeance Road, A Little in Love and The Lightning Queen).

I also  tried to grab a couple of MG and Adult titles this year because I want to branch out. I was super, super excited to catch Girl Waits With Gun while wandering the floor as it was one of the only adult titles that caught my eye immediately when I started researching what would be available at BEA.

After exploring, it was time to head to the autographing area to see Emily Franklin signing Last Night at the Circle Cinema. I don’t know a lot about this book yet but the synopsis is great and I love Carolrhoda Lab as a publisher. While we waited for Emily Franklin to arrive I also got to say hi to Gail from Ticket To Anywhere while she waited ahead of use in line.

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After that signing it was back to the show floor (the exact opposite side of the floor!) to head over to the Abrams booth where Courtney Sheinmel was signing Edgewater which had been on Nicole’s radar.

We both got to take a picture with Courtney during the signing too.

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Then we caught up with Cecelia again. So, you know how I said everyone at BEA is awesome? Abrams was extra awesome because they had a PHOTO BOOTH. Obviously we made use of this.

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As you can see from these pictures, I don’t have a lot of “photo booth experience” as it were so I didn’t do any silly faces. I’m sorry! It was fun and silly though. Trust me! Also my mom was really happy to see some not ridiculous faces. So.

Photos in hand, Nicole and I said bye for now to Cecelia and had plenty of time to head over to HarperCollins for their galley drop at 2:30 to get copies of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.

From there we headed to the giant Penguin Random House booth to get tickets for Jennifer Donnelly’s signing. Which was not as stressful as I expected because they had a huge stack of tickets.

I think everyone knows this by now: I’m a huge fan of Mike Curato’s Little Elliot. HUGE. Of course it was very important to see Mike at BEA when he was signing copies of Little Elliot, Big Family. Because of some confusion at the Macmillan booth, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do both Mike and Jennifer Donnelly’s signing. Then lo Britt comes over to Jennifer Donnelly’s line and tells me to run over to Macmillan because they still had tickets! With Nicole holding my place I rushed over and got the precious ticket!

Then it was back to waiting in line for Jennifer Donnelly while Nicole headed to Mac. Jennifer Donnelly is amazing and I am SO very excited about These Shallow Graves!

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After gushing at Jennifer Donnelly about how much I loved Revolution (spoiler: so much) and saying how excited I am for her new book it was time to head over to Macmillan.

Mike Curato’s line was super chill and I got to see one of my favorite Macmillan publicists, Mary–bonus! Mary even remembered way back when I worked with her on Mike’s first blog tour–double bonus!

So Macmillan is a fan of Mike Curato as well SO they had a pretty cool frame set up so you could pose for a pic with Elliot, Mouse and Mouse’s extended family. OBVIOUSLY this photo opp was a must for me and Nicole!

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True story: My mom says this is one of the cutest pictures ever. Well played Macmillan!

After that it was time to say hi to Mike (he doesn’t think I’m a crazy person yet and he remembered me from Twitter, yay!) and get my book signed. Mike even had Little Elliot pose in the picture.

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After that I was totally elated from actually making it to see Mike Curato. (THANK YOU BRITT!) And really, there could be no better way to end the day.

Our last stop was HarperCollins for one last book drop to get ARCs of Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson and Newt’s Emerald. I love Westerns and I am VERY excited for Walk on Earth a Stranger. Newt’s Emerald is Garth Nix, so my interest requires no further explanation. Like a lot of other books we got today, making this drop also meant that Nicole and I could skip what we anticipated to be some crazy signing lines later in the week.

The drop was super chill and quite quick which meant we could leave Javits a bit early. Unfortunately that meant missing Krystal from Books are My Thing who I really wanted to meet during BEA. But we still had time so I wasn’t worried.

Now, if you don’t know, the Javits Center is near nothing. It is in the equivalent of transportation black hole on the west side of midtown Manhattan. Generally that isn’t a big deal because there are taxis. On Wednesday when Nicole and I left, it was a big deal. After striking out with attempts to get a taxi we decided to wait for the Ninth Avenue bus. I cannot tell you how much I dislike the Ninth Avenue bus. It lived up to my low expectations Wednesday and took us nearly an hour to get back to my apartment.

After a very rushed (too rushed) dinner at home with Mom it was time to head to Times Square for a special preview Scholastic was hosting for The Marvels by Brian Selznick.

Getting uptown was a disaster thanks to numerous subway delays. After hopping off the subway, Nicole and I jetted to the Hudson Theater.

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We missed the “pre” event mingling but we made it for most of Brian Selznick’s presentation where he talked about the inspiration for his new book and his creative process. We also got a super secret preview of his book trailer and it is awesome.

After the presentation we were very surprised (amazed even) to find out that Brian Selznick was signing after. While the theater was very beautiful, it was not a great venue for an author signing and the “line” was more like an amorphous mob. But it was worth it!

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All in all, Wednesday was a great start to BEA. Nicole and I headed back the apartment more than excited for our first full day, even if it was a super early start.

For a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

Also, here is a picture of my suitcase:

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BEA: Day Two (Thursday)

Day two of BEA was book-ended by two publisher events. The first was Harlequin’s Teen Author Breakfast at the Javits.

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We arrived bright and early for the breakfast at 7:30. It was great to see some of the Harlequin team in person and hear about titles they were excited about in the upcoming season. Harlequin also had authors Jennifer Armentrout, Adi Alsaid, Eleanor Forman and Katie McGarry at the breakfast to chat with and to talk about their newest titles.

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The breakfast was set up like speed dating with Harlequin staffers and authors rotating tables every five minutes. It was great for us (no running around) but I fear it got a little hectic for the Harlequin people trying to enjoy their own breakfast. It was super fun to meet other bloggers here and to have a chance to talk a bit more informally with some of the authors.

I’ve talked previously about my love for Alex Bracken and her Darkest Minds trilogy. A fun fact is that a lot of my previous BEAs have involved seeing Alex at a signing. So OBVIOUSLY her Passenger signing was a huge priority.

Nicole and I dashed from the Harlequin breakfast to quickly drop some stuff off at coat check before waiting on line to enter the show floor. We were not the only ones who arrived early.

As crazy as that looks it was totally doable! We had already found an entrance as close as possible to Disney so from there it was a brisk walk to the signing line. On the way I even got to say finally meet Krystal! Yay for serendipitous lines!

There was a lot of waiting.

And many photo opps.

But soon we started creeping closer and found out we were in fact among the lucky 200 who would get books.

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If you ever get a chance to catch Alexandra Bracken at a signing event, do it. She is the absolute nicest. It was fun to say hi to her and comment (briefly because tons of people were still waiting) about how fun it is to see her on BEA.

And with one last photo it was time to move on.

After this epic start to the morning Nicole and I meandered toward the Hachette booth to acquire ARCs of Jennifer E. Smith’s newest Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. Which was again super chill because Hachette/Little Brown were locking down the ARCs. While we both wanted to catch Jen E. Smith’s signing later, we also knew that Libba Bray was a higher priority (and likely to take a lot longer) so we took the ARC while we could (an excellent idea as it turns out).

Next it was back to the autographing area. Nicole and I split up for a bit. While she pursued other books I waited to see Susane Colansanti who was signing City Love. I haven’t read it yet but I’m pretty eager to see what Susane comes up with in this start to the series.

Thanks to her Super Teacher Brain (technical term) Susane remembered me from previous events/twitter/etc. so we chatted a little bit. (She liked my new glasses.) Before I snapped a picture and headed off to reconnect with Nicole.

And of course, Susane even had a sweet reply on Twitter:

I still can’t believe this even happened but after Susane’s signing, Nicole and I grabbed a quick lunch and then headed back to the Autographing Area to see Carolyn Mackler. I am not sure I can explain how iconic Carolyn Mackler is in terms of YA for me. She just *IS* YA. When I first discovered YA when I was shelving the section as a Page in high school, it included her books.

How surreal then to see Carolyn Mackler at BEA signing her newest book.

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After that it was time to meet another YA icon. Libba Bray. Luckily while I had my calendar schedule, Nicole continued to check the BEA Show Planner so we knew that Libba’s signing had been moved to earlier in the day and were ready.

It was touch and go for a bit in trying to procure tickets but after only a little bit of flailing we made it!

Now, dear readers, we come to an embarrassing part of my BEA adventure. While Nicole held my place in line, I made a bad decision.

First I headed to Autographing (literally the complete opposite end of the show floor) to see Laura Amy Schlitz signing The Hired Girl.

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That part went super smoothly. I’m quite excited for this new historical fiction title and I’m sure it will be fantastic.

Then came my blunder. In thinking about how long Libba Bray’s line was, I thought I could also catch Margo Rabb’s signing.

For a while it was going really well and seemed quite promising. Somewhere in here I also got to quickly meet Jess from Gone with the Words and say hi again to Jamie. It’s all a hazy blur though as I remember what came next.

Then I started getting texts from Nicole (who is a SAINT and held my place the entire time!) that the line was moving. Then I got texts saying I should come back.

Then I got texts saying I should hurry back.

Keeping in mind that I was on the exact opposite end of the floor, imagine me running between aisles, diving around dawdlers and running when I could. All while text Nicole updates on what booth number I was near with her replying each time to hurry.

After much weaving and a few hip checks, I made it back just in time!

Luckily I had some time to compose myself before seeing Libba because it was a stressful run back to the line! Needless to say the line moved quite swiftly from there until Nicole got her book signed and I was next in line.

I always joke that one of my greatest accomplishments is being able to say that Libba Bray follows me on Twitter. I don’t think much of it because a lot of people follow a lot of other people. But sometimes Libba would reply to my tweets and that was definitely enough for me to feel cool.

But guess what?! Libba actually recognized me from Twitter (and asked when I had cut my hair!)! I keep waiting for it to not be exciting when that happens with an author I love. Hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, Libba is always the nicest ever at her signings. After writing “It’s done!” in my copy I asked to take a picture of her with her book as I do with most authors.

Libba, much (I think) to her publicist’s dismay, suggested we take a selfie instead. OBVIOUSLY I couldn’t say no!

I never, as a rule, share pictures where I look bad but I make an exception for this one because OMG SELFIE WITH LIBBA BRAY.

That was, of course, a BEA high point. There was nowhere else to go.

Also Nicole and I were getting quite tired having started our day at 7:30. So we made a wise decision to head home before the evening’s events. Happily the bad transit karma did not follow us into Thursday.

On the way Nicole even spotted this restaurant with a name that is personally significant to me ;)

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After a quick trip home and a leisurely dinner with my mom (can we talk about how much of a trooper my mom is for putting up with both me and Nicole running around like mad for three days over books? She’s the best) it was time to head out again for Macmillan’s party.

Macmillan’s Happy Hour/Fierce Reads/Insert Name Here party was held at the Strand’s Rare Book Room.

After a rocky start with a rather ominously blocked off entry, we were ready to go.

We even went up a side entrance that I didn’t know existed!

Despite living near the Strand I had never been to the Rare Books Room before. It was really amazing!

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I also got to meet so many people here most of whom I did NOT take pictures with because I’m an idiot. In addition to saying hi to the lovely Andi from Andi’s ABCs, I got to meet Nicole from YA Interrobang, Sarah from What Sarah Read, Hannah from The Irish Banana, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books and Rachel from hello, chelly and probably others I don’t remember too. I also got to chat again with Gail! So many missed photo opps!

Macmillan is one of my favorite publishers in that they publish some of my favorite books (like The Winner’s Curse and Little Elliot, Big City!) but more because they are such great people to work with. I was so excited for this party because I got to meet publicists like Gina and Brittany who I email all the time as well as some new faces. It was the best!

As if the night couldn’t get better, Macmillan also had authors Josephine Angelini, Leigh Bardugo, Sandy Hall, Marissa Meyer and Leila Sales. So many amazing people in but one room!

They also had a photo booth.

After a commemorative shot with Nicole it was time to mingle.

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Also to take some pictures of the super cool rare books room decor.

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And pose with it of course.

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Nicole and I also took another picture together but I have to say it is quite dark.

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When Cecelia arrived it was, of course, time for even more photo booth pictures.

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After that we got to chat for a bit with Sandy Hall who had the most amazing tie-dyed shoes. Then we headed back to the photo booth to say hi to Leila Sales where we talked donuts for a bit. I told her to check out The Donut Pub and I will tell you all to do the same. You won’t regret it.

What could we do after that? If you guessed a photo with Leila Sales and dapper hats, you would be right.

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We rounded out the party with more mingling. (I’m not really the type who needs to hide in a room after talking to people but it was a lot of talking. I wore myself out just being social because there were so many people I wanted to talk to!) Cecelia introduced me and Nicole to her friend Sajda from Across the Words. Sajda is really nice and I am really happy to have found her blog now. Yay!

By this point in the night, Nicole and I were wiped out. The Macmillan party was an absolute blast but it was definitely time to say our goodbyes and head home.

Macmillan gave everyone an amazing bag of books on the way out. I am so excited to get to all of them.

For a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

After that it was time to head to Wendy’s to pick up some snacks for ourselves and my mom before packing it in to get ready for the final day of BEA.

Also, here is a picture of my suitcase:

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BEA: Day Three (Friday)

When Nicole and I started scheduling for BEA, we knew Friday was going to be crazy. In my initial schedule, before we saw how the day would shake out, we weren’t even sure if there would be time for lunch. But, being the intrepid book people that we are, we were still ready for day three.

Since the exhibit floor opened at 9 again we decided to arrive around 8:30. A lot of other people had that idea forcing us to move to a different coat check (where I did get to meet Brianna from Wunderkind Publicity though so really it all worked out!) and ensuring a somewhat long line to get to the floor even with an early arrival.

I made good use of my time waiting to get in by coaching Nicole on selfie techniques.

Once the line started moving, Nicole and I knew we were heading to Lerner for Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff’s signing of The Anatomy of Curiosity. Both of us were BIG fans of their first collection The Curiosities and it even inspired us to write more short stories ourselves at Little Women Stories.

Tessa, Maggie and Brenna are three of my favorite authors ever so I always get a little starstruck around them, so sadly I don’t have any pictures. It was great talking to them about how inspiring their stories are. Regular readers will also know that I’ve interviewed Tessa Gratton several times on the blog and hosted a few of her guest posts so it was especially nice to meet her this year!

Here’s their new beautiful book:

Here’s a picture of them from the Carolrhoda Lab twitter looking super cool for an inteview:

Next we headed over to the Autographing Area once again where MarcyKate Connolly was signing Monstrous.

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Confession: I saw the cover for the book and fell in love. After reading the synopsis and staring at the cover a little more, I knew I had to read it.

From there it was but a quick hop to see Sarah Beth Durst signing her new middle grade The Girl Who Could Not Dream. I love Sarah and have interviewed her about every book she’s published since Enchanted Ivy. So obviously, I was super excited to see her.

Sarah’s husband buys her a new piece of jewelry for every book so it was also fun to see her new piece (a necklace which doesn’t show in our photo).

After that Nicole had a BIG priority. She had to see Oliver Jeffers. So back to the Penguin Random House booth we went.

Tickets in hand, we waited for a good long time on the line. Oliver was signing posters for his new picture book The Day the Crayons Came Home and, not going to lie, I was getting a little testy from lack of food to be on such a long line. A fun bonus? Everyone at the signing also got a Crayons tote bag which was only given out at that day’s Children’s Author Breakfast.

Needless to say, the line here was too long for an “official” pic. But here’s a candid one of Oliver Jeffers while he was signing.

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After seeing Oliver we moved back across the floor to catch Michael Buckley signing Undertow.

I made Nicole wait with me on the surprisingly not massive line for Kevin Henkes who was signing posters for Waiting.

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(I love this artwork so much and plan on getting it framed soon.)

Finally we were back at the autographing area to see Maggie Lehrman signing The Cost of All Things. (You might notice that her book barely shows. That is because a man was behind her unloading books and he wouldn’t/couldn’t move so I was forced to resort to cropping.)

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Thanks to severely cutting and prioritizing our schedule, we had time for lunch! We also got to sit for a bit with Cecelia who in true rock star fashion found an ARC of Zeroes that was about to be abandoned and saved it for me.

After lunch we returned to the autographing areas where Jennifer Walkup was signing This Ordinary Life. This book is another one that won me over with the cover. Even better, Jennifer Walkup was absolutely the nicest. I can’t wait to get to her book!

Amazingly, after Jennifer, Nicole and I realized that Leila Sales was still signing Tonight the Streets Are Ours. The choice was obvious.

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Since I also had a duplicate ARC of this from the night before, I also made plans to re-home it ASAP (this turned into a big twitter project but I’m happy to report all ARCs have been distributed!).

Still more wondrous, Corey Ann Haydu’s signing for her new middle grade novel Rules for Stealing Stars was also in reach. I believe I gushed to her about Life by Committee. It’s all a bit of a blur.

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For the afternoon I knew a priority signing was going to be Erin Bow’s The Scorpion Rules. Erin Bow is one of the best fantasy writers out there. Her debut Plain Kate left me sobbing. Of course I had to meet her.

Cecelia felt the same way so we banded together to line up well ahead of time for her 2:30 signing. It was nice to have some time to sit down. I got to say goodbye to Britt while milling and also got to re-meet Melissa (she was behind Nicole and me during the Libba Bray line) while we waited and talked fantasy.

Nicole then roped me in to become a folk hero for a friend’s son and her best friend when we realized Tui T. Sutherland was signing. It was a good moment.

Then it was time for Erin Bow!

Can I just say that Erin Bow is absolutely the nicest? She stood at the start of her signing and posed for pictures with everyone. I’ve been catching up on review/obligatory reading but this is definitely my first BEA read.

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Thanks to the magic that is BEA, we also realized that Richelle Mead was still signing Soundless–a book that I totally wanted to check out at BEA but totally thought would be out of reach.

But no!

It worked out!

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Even with Richelle Mead, there was still plenty of time before Lynn Weingarten’s signing (another priority for me).

Enough time, in fact, to catch up with Andi and Alex and to finally meet Estelle from Rather Be Reading in real life! I definitely should have taken a picture of this momentous occasion but luckily Estelle and Alex are both New Yorkers so hopefully we’ll have another live meetup soon.

Cecelia also decided to head off early but since we have twitter, I know we’ll be in touch (and we actually took tons of pictures together this year!).

While I waited to meet Lynn, Nicole went to Lexa Hillyer’s signing.

I read The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers as an ARC and I’ve interviewed Lynn about it here on the blog. I’ve also read all of her other novels. And we’re twitter friends!

It was very exciting to finally be meeting in real life!

While waiting on line I also got to chat with Kiersten from We Live and Breathe Books. This was great because I’m really enjoying her blog and also because I got a tip about a signing I hadn’t heard about previously.

But first. Lynn!

After chatting with Lynn, I went to the end of the line where I got to talk with Kaye for a little bit. Then Nicole also returned to that line so I hung out with her until she made it to the front and I told her about my hot tip from Kiersten: Moira Fowley-Doyle was signing The Accident Season at the Penguin Random House booth.

Every year it feels like there is one book that eludes me at BEA no matter how hard I try to find it. This year that book was The Accident Season.

In fact, even as we tried to get to the signing it seemed like I would be foiled. I love Penguin Random House but as of right now the publishers are merged in name only which created some confusion about what was happening where in their booth. After a couple of false starts with several publicists, Nicole and I made it to the right spot.

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My thoughts immediately after this signing? VICTORY!

All in all, BEA 2015 was an absolute success. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to Chicago next year but I think this year I definitely did everything right and I’m sure Nicole agrees!

Yes to everything Nicole said!

So that’s my BEA recap. Thanks for reading!

Also, here is a picture of my suitcase:

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For a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

BEA 2014 Recap: Day 3 (Saturday)

You can also see my Thursday recap. And my Friday recap.

Nicole and I take BEA very seriously so even with a relatively light Saturday schedule, we were at the Javits bright and early for the 9am opening.

Heading back into the Javits for one last day.

Heading back into the Javits for one last day.

Since we had some time to kill before being able to go on the show floor, I took some pictures of the main floor.

 

Skink stairs.

Skink stairs.

Poster of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Poster of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Sign for Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Sign for Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

What these photos do not convey is how insanely crowded the Javits was on Saturday. The last day of BEA included BookCon–a component of BEA open to the public. (Last year this was known as Super Reader Day instead.) I love the idea of BookCon and I think it’s great to have the event open to the public. That said, BookCon was terribly mismanaged. During the day a volunteer told me that there were 6000 more registrants for BookCon compared to last year but also fewer volunteers.

To make matters worse, BookCon attendees were only allowed on part of the show floor (autographing and approximately a quarter of the exhibit floor) which created a terrible bottleneck. Although I heard a lot of complaining and horror stories, I didn’t have any bad experiences on Saturday except that it was painfully crowded in some areas (though very quiet in the non-BookCon areas).

After navigating the crowds, Nicole and I were once again heading onto the exhibit floor.

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After passing the Penguin Book Truck it was time to hit the ground running.

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On our way to HarperCollins we also saw a giant robot. So, basically another typical day at BEA.

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Our first task of the day was milling around Harper waiting for Anatomy of a Misfit, Tape and Falling Into Place to drop. You might remember that Nicole and I were thwarted three times trying to get these books so it was very important both in terms of pride and because we wanted the books badly. Happily, that did work out.

After that it was time to brave the autographing area which was insane.

Obligatory crowd shot.

Obligatory crowd shot.

At this point we were able to see Daisy Whitney who was signing The Fire Artist.

I think the final cover is different, but I was really excited to see such a neat cover for The Fire Artist with a POC model. Yay!

I think the final cover is different, but I was really excited to see such a neat cover for The Fire Artist with a POC model. Yay!

After that we headed right over to Corey Ann Haydu’s line which was already quite long. Getting to her line also involved avoiding a giant mob that was trying to line up for Libba Bray’s signing.

But we made it.

Corey Ann Haydu signing Life by Committee.

Corey Ann Haydu signing Life by Committee.

After that it was another line hop to see Skylar Dorset signing The Girl Who Never Was.

Skylar Dorset with her book The Girl Who Never Was

Skylar Dorset with her book The Girl Who Never Was

Skylar Dorset’s signing marked the home stretch of our time in autographing. Which was just as well because we were getting frazzled.

Then it was a short wait for Claire Pernice signing her picture book Circus Girl.

Claire Pernice and Circus Girl

Claire Pernice and Circus Girl

I’ve already read this picture book and it was really quite fun.

After that Nicole and I elbowed our way out of the madness to the BEA area. We were both pretty much used up at this point so we decided to call it a day and bid farewell to the Javits for another year.

And that, dear readers, is how I spent Book Expo 2014.

Before I leave you let me also give a shout-out to all of the bloggers I met in lines or even in passing: Andi at Andi’s ABCs, Gail at Ticket to Anywhere, Katelyn from Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands, Rebecca from Book Bit Reviews, Lucy from Moonlight Gleam Reviews, Karen from For What It’s Worth Reviews, Pam from Midnyte Reader, Kate from KateTilton.com, Kate from Midnight Book Girl.

You can also check out my BEA Book Haul.

BEA 2014 Recap: Day 2 (Friday)

You can also see my Thursday recap.

Friday–aka BEA Day 2–was our worst day. Partly because it was super busy but also because, being suckers, Nicole and I were going to a book signing after Book Expo. This meant we had to bring books to the convention center. This meant we actually bought books. This also meant we would be going, and on our feet, for roughly twelve hours. Although it was not, perhaps, the best idea it was totally worth it in the end.

The day started, as BEA days always do, bright and early with a trip to the Javits Center where Nicole and I were poised to hit the exhibit floor right when it opened at 9.

Nicole and I were suitably chipper as we waited in line.

Nicole waiting in line.

Nicole waiting in line.

Here I am waiting in line. (You will be seeing many pictures of me as this post continues!)

Here I am waiting in line. (You will be seeing many pictures of me as this post continues!)

First up was a quick trip past Penguin to get a copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell. After that it was over to Abrams to see A. G. Howard who was signing copies of Unhinged. Abrams always does things right at BEA–this year was no exception. Their booth was well laid-out, everyone was very helpful and courteous. Also: A. G. Howard is super nice. Now that I have shiny copies of both Splintered and Unhinged I’m even more excited about the series. Yay retellings!

 

A. G. Howard with a shiny copy of Unhinged.

A. G. Howard with a shiny copy of Unhinged.

Told you it was shiny.

Told you it was shiny.

Next Nicole and I tried (and failed) to acquire some books from a Macmillan drop, but it wasn’t meant to be. Neither was seeing Becca Fitzpatrick signing her new book Black Ice. BUT we happened to be at Harper at just the right time and heard someone asking, “Do you still have tickets for Kiera Cass’ signing?” She did. And even better, she had two tickets for me and Nicole. I can’t even articulate how great and wildly unexpected this was. It meant re-planning some of the afternoon but obviously Kiera Cass would be fit in. I mean, come on.

The golden Kiera Cass Ticket

The golden Kiera Cass Ticket

After that it was time to head over to the autographing area. Remember how I am now completely obsessed with Little Elliot in the Big City and went to great lengths to get that tote on Thursday? Well, Little Elliot creator Mike Curato was signing copies today. Obviously this was high priority. So high, in fact, that I even asked to take a picture with Mr. Curato. (You might have noticed that I don’t do that often with authors but obviously this was a special situation.) Suffice to say meeting him was everything I had hoped it would be and I am so excited for all of you to be able to read this fantastic picture book in August.

Me and Mike and his fabulous picture book.

Me and Mike and his fabulous picture book.

Can you tell I'm excited about this book?

Can you tell I’m excited about this book?

Having finally gotten everything it was possible to get with that adorable baby elephant, it was time for another signing. Next up was The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I actually don’t know much about this book but the cover is similar to The Selection and The Winner’s Curse which is enough to sell me. And a lot of other people based on the line for her autographing session.

The line was so big, in fact, there was even a sign for the “overflow” line. A sign which Nicole got to hold for a little while.

With big lines comes great responsibility as Nicole learned.

With big lines comes great responsibility as Nicole learned.

Eventually we did make it to the front of the line where we got to see Amy Ewing and get our books signed.

Amy Ewing is so cool that my phone's camera exposure even lost its mind when I took her picture.

Amy Ewing is so cool that my phone’s camera exposure even lost its mind when I took her picture.

Ryan Graudin’s line, unfortunately was too long so Nicole and I next decided to heed the siren song of lunch.

After lunch things got a little crazy.

Also there was a car:

A car painted up for Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

A car painted up for Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

First up was Chelsea Philpot’s signing for Even in Paradise which is a riff on The Great Gatsby. Everyone was excited for this book. The line was crazy. I can tell you that first-hand because this time I got to hold the sign. Let me tell you, it was more stressful than you’d think.

Don't let my smile fool you, I took my job as sign holder very seriously.

Don’t let my smile fool you, I took my job as sign holder very seriously.

Chelsea Philpot with her debut Even in Paradise

Chelsea Philpot with her debut Even in Paradise

After that, Nicole and I had to start planning for the BIG part of the afternoon which was Holly Black signing The Darkest Part of the Forest at 2:30pm. A line was, predictably, already forming. Nicole held places for that line while I ran over to see Lenore Applehans who was signing paperbacks of The Memory of After. Another long line but I did get to see her just before the cutoff.

I had to get a mid-signature candid of Lenore Applehans because time was running out.

I had to get a mid-signature candid of Lenore Applehans because time was running out.

Nicole and I tried and failed, for the second time today, to get copies of Falling into Place by Amy Zhang but it was not meant to be today (it would happen tomorrow though). Which left us with a lot of time to wait for Holly Black.

Nicole also once again had important sign-holding duty.

Nicole was a little excited.

Nicole was a little excited.

And that was totally worth it. I was reduced to non-insightful comments about her blue hair when I got my book signed, but that’s okay. Worth. It.

Me and Holly Black!

Me and Holly Black!

Next we made a quick stop at Macmillan where we scooped up Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini before heading over to the Harper booth.

At Harper we happily waited in line with our shiny tickets to see Kiera Cass. I just recently finished the Selection trilogy, which I loved, so I was quite excited about this. The whole thing is a bit of blur but I did get a picture with Kiera Cass.

Me and Kiera Cass!

Me and Kiera Cass!

And everyone got a beautiful chocolate covered cookie. Kiera Cass was signing The One which, as the title suggests, involves a rather important wedding so all of the cookies were decorated as either brides or grooms. In another bit of luck I got a “bride” and Nicole got a “groom” cookie so we could create this adorable photo:

Isn't it cute?

Isn’t it cute?

Still totally pumped from meeting Kiera Cass AND Holly Black, Nicole and I split up. While she went to see Molly Idle, I headed over to Simon and Schuster to meet up with Cecelia and Ginny where we all waited to meet Scott Westerfeld. I love Scott Westerfeld and I’m very excited about his new book Afterworlds even with it being 600+ pages so this was really a thrill–particularly since I didn’t even think I’d be able to touch his line. But I did! And I have photographic evidence!

Scott Westerfeld with his forthcoming title Afterworlds.

Scott Westerfeld with his forthcoming title Afterworlds.

Next it was a quick stop at Isabel Gillies’ signing of Starry Night.

You can't see it but Isabel Gillies also drew a giant star next to her signature.

You can’t see it but Isabel Gillies also drew a giant star next to her signature.

Then it was time to retrieve out bags and, like the suckers we are, head over to Books of Wonder.

Books of Wonder had a great panel set up with Garth Nix, J. L. Armentrout, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Gretchen McNeil, Maggie Stiefvater, A. G. Howard and Alethea Kontis.

Now, my love for Alethea Kontis knows no bounds. Garth Nix, as I mentioned, is almost never in New York. I had a copy of Splintered just waiting for A. G. Howard to sign it. And, through sheer happenstance, I managed to acquire a copy of all of Maggie Stiefvater’s YA books. SO even though it hurt my soul to go to a book event right after being at a book convention, this really was a no brainer. And, believe it or not, Nicole felt the same way. So we dutifully headed over to Chelsea.

Now, the event was very crowded and I was already very tired so I can’t share much in the way of a recap beyond saying that all of the authors were very smart and charming.

I was very excited to get my full set of Old Kingdom books signed by Garth Nix.

A. G. Howard was delightful and had necklaces with key and lock charms for every reader.

Also Alethea Kontis looked fabulous. (I am so excited to read Dearest!)

Alethea Kontis looking fabulous as usual.

Alethea Kontis looking fabulous as usual.

And Maggie Stiefvater stood on the table. (She’s such a rockstar. One day soon when I have more time I have to finish all of her books. I’m also ashamed because I forgot to tell her The Scorpio Races is my favorite of her books not The Dream Thieves–although I also loved that one. It just gets confusing when you have a stack of books to get signed and have been awake for twelve hours!)

Maggie Stiefvater standing on the table.

Maggie Stiefvater standing on the table.

And with that, finally, day two of BEA came to a close.

Check back tomorrow for my final recap of day three.

BEA 2014 Recap: Day 1 (Thursday)

Once again I went to BEA with real life bestie Nicole AKA the Book Bandit. This year we were (again) lucky enough to be Press approved.

After my planning madness from last year, I decided to do a mellower BEA. Not a lot of paper just a list of books I wanted on my phone and a detailed schedule in my phone calendar.

Here’s how it went (You can also read Publisher Weekly’s BEA wrap up on their site for a more bookish rundown and YA Interrobang covered every panel at BEA which is something you won’t find in this recap.):

Thursday started bright and early with Nicole meeting me at my place. We had breakfast with my mom and Nicole dropped off some items she’d need the next day (AKA our twelve hour day where she’d be sleeping over) before heading out. We decided to go crazy and cab it to the Javits center which is a decision I stand by.

Since we did not go to blogger con on Wednesday, the day started with badge pick up at the press office. It was off hours at the press office so there was no line. I got to share the pain with the gentleman who processed our paperwork when loud music started blaring from the exhibit floor. That, happily, stopped before the show opened.

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The Press Office

Thursday was easily my most stressful BEA day because all of the authors I wanted to see were signing at the same time. However, I was prepared because that’s how I roll. Nicole and I were on line and ready to head into the show floor well before 9am with a clear plan: stop by the booths for publishers who had books we were seeking to get drop schedules (for when books are given away) or to see what was already out all while heading to the autographing area.

Along the way I managed to acquire an arc of Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers from the lovely people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Since this was one of three books I came to BEA specifically to get, let me just say it was a very good start to the day. (Later in the day Nicole would surprise me with an ARC of Dearest by Alethea Kontis (again from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.)

After that it was a bee-line to the autographing area. While Nicole went to get Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien I dutifully waited in line–a full hour early–for Garth Nix. Two things to know about Garth Nix: He’s Australian so he is almost never in New York for signings. He’s also releasing a prequel to the Abhorsen books called Clariel which he was signing for only a half hour. While I held the line, as it were, for myself and Cecelia (from The Adventures Cecelia Bedelia) and her sister Ginny, Nicole went to some other signings.

The wait was worth it though as I got to chat with Cecelia and Ginny (luckily no one yelled at me for holding places because they came so early!) while we waited.

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Garth Nix(!) with my copy of Clariel(!)

After Garth Nix, the three of duly went to see Caragh M. O’Brien. I haven’t read the Birthmarked series yet but since my dear friend Kaila is a superfan I am very excited to get to her newest one.

Caragh O'Brien with The Vault of Dreamers

Caragh O’Brien with The Vault of Dreamers

That first hour was probably my most stressful time at BEA because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do everything. But I did and after that, the day continued to be made of win.

I lost track of Nicole for a while when she went to see Rainbow Rowell and get a signed copy of Landline (I was still working through the Nix and O’Brien lines). Afterward I wandered the floor a bit but it wasn’t quite the same without someone to keep me company.

Eventually we reconnected and did some exploring. I got some totes at this point including an Epic Reads one from Harper.

At 11am we headed back to the autographing area in the hopes of meeting Steve Brezenhoff who was signing Guy in Real Life (he was also wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt which I’m sure Nicole will point out in her own recap). His line was longer than anticipated but still totally manageable and he was super nice!

Steve Brezenoff with Guy in Real Life

Steve Brezenoff with Guy in Real Life

After that we tried to catch Amy Plum signing After the End but, as expected, her line was soooooo long we had to skip it. We did stop by Scholastic for a rather intense drop of Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater which was worthwhile of course. I even got to meet one of my fellow twitter-ers, Nikki Mutch, who does publicity at Scholastic. Yay for real life meetings with internet friends!

Then it was time for lunch which is always thrilling at BEA because it means we can sit down!

Our mid-lunch wanderings also revealed this year’s lego masterpieces: Boba Fett and Chewbacca from Star Wars fame.

chewie

Thursday afternoon was relatively quiet compared to the morning. Our first stop was Tara Altebrando’s in-booth signing of The Battle of Darcy Lane because Nicole is a super fan and I am also a fan (pro tip: Darcy Lane is a street, not a person. Now you know!). This was a bonus because I also got to see Valerie Howlett–a publicist I have worked with before from Running Press.

Nicole with Tara Altebrando

Nicole with Tara Altebrando

After seeing Tara, I had a very important thing on my schedule at the Macmillan booth. After getting Mortal Heart and Dearest, this might have been the most critical part of my non-signing day. I needed a Little Elliot in the Big City tote bag. I cannot stress enough how fantastic this picture book is or how glorious the actual tote bag is. To better underscore the point: I needed this bag. So yes, I did wait roughly twenty minutes milling around the Macmillan booth to make sure I got one. And it was everything I hoped for.

After that we headed back to Autographing where, amazingly, Aaron Becker did not have a huge line while signing Quest. This was a great turn of events obviously.

Aaron Becker holding Quest, the sequel to his Caldecott Honoree Journey.

Aaron Becker holding Quest, the sequel to his Caldecott Honoree Journey.

Magnificent tote bag and Quest in hand, it was then time to head to the Science Fiction Writers of America booth where, thanks to Twitter, I knew that Sarah Beth Durst was signing copies of her new book for adults The Lost. Since I had already given away my arc and since I like seeing Sarah, Nicole and I decided this was a great plan.

It was actually even better than I hoped because Sarah knows me from twitter and book signings and interviews now so we even got to chat. (This was days before starting Shiny New Job so I even had exciting news to share!) Sarah is delightful and The Lost really is a clever book so I recommend you check it out.

Sarah Beth Durst holding a shiny copy of The Lost

Sarah Beth Durst holding a shiny copy of The Lost

After Sarah signing it was back to the autographing area. Since Famous in Love was high priority for both myself and Nicole, seeing Rebecca Serle next was a no-brainer. Rebecca had injured her shoulder but she was looking very stylish with a scarf sling and did stamp every book with a very glamorous R.

Rebecca Serle at her signing for Famous in Love

Rebecca Serle at her signing for Famous in Love

Next it was time to see the Steads–Rebecca and Phillip Stead–picture book authors and illustrators extraordinaire. This year they were signing A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Phillip was also signing Sebastian and the Balloon. I always find the Steads very snazzy and like to pretend we have a bond since Erin used to work at one of my previous places of employ. Also, who doesn’t love A Sick Day for Amos McGee?

The Steads!

The Steads!

By the time we finished with the Steads, Nicole and I discovered any signings we had been considering had lines too long to fathom so after one more trip around the exhibition floor it was time to bring our first day of BEA 2014 to an end.

Check back tomorrow for my recap of Friday at BEA!

Emma and Nicole’s Five Tips for BEA (2014)

Now that May is here, it’s time to start planning in earnest for Book Expo America (BEA)–a publishing convention that takes place every year where publishers can showcase their fall releases.

Real life bestie Nicole and I have been going to BEA for three years now. With our fourth trip to BEA quickly approaching, we thought we’d share some BEA tips to help anyone attending get ready. Be sure to check out her blog today as well to see her tips.

Below I answer five question that (hopefully) share some of my sound advice for BEA. Here are the questions which I’ll tackle in depth below:

  1. What should I bring to BEA?
  2. What should I wear to BEA?
  3. How should I plan my day(s)?
  4. What should I expect at BEA?
  5. What’s the one thing everyone should remember when planning BEA?

1. What should I bring to BEA?

Now, I live in New York and BEA is in New York, so I’m skipping over the expected travel things to bring if you are making a whole trip to NYC. Here’s what you should bring along to the Javits Center:

  • Paperwork: DON’T FORGET YOUR REGISTRATION BADGE! I also print out spreadsheets for the schedule to have an easy reference. If you want spreadsheets of the show you can find some from Jenna Does Books who made a lovely (thorough) spreadsheet of all the YA signings to be had at BEA. Nicole from YA Interrobang also made a google doc of all the of the YA events to be had.
  • Cell Phone: I keep my entire BEA schedule on my phone for easy access and to see it plotted out in my calendar. Since Nicole and I sometimes split up this is also a great way to keep track of each other. I also use my phone to live tweet the show, take pictures for my recap post, and have a reference for the BEA site if something on the schedule changes. BEA also offers a Show Planner app to download to smartphones (iOS and Android I think) which is another helpful thing to have.
  • Charger: Javits has terrible wifi. Your phone will run down. This is life. Be sure to start the day with a fully charged phone. Also bring some kind of portable charger.
  • Cash: It’s just easier to get lunch with cash whether you are at the Food Court or elsewhere. Also easier for cab fare and everything else. You will also want some cash on hand to donate at the autographing area.
  • A small bag: This is not the time for a giant hold-everything monster purse. Just the essentials (wallet, ID, paperwork, phone, etc.)
  • Business cards: If you have a blog, tell people! I give cards to authors, to publicists who seem nice, bloggers I meet. Be sure to have a stack.
  • Water: It’s sometimes hard to get somewhere in the Javits when the place is gearing up for the day so I usually just bring a bottle and refill it at the water fountains during the day.
  • Snacks: Just in case lunch proves elusive and you need to refuel.
  • A rolling suitcase and a tote bag: More on these later!

2. What should I wear to BEA?

  • Clothes: The short answer is whatever makes you comfortable. The longer answer is that BEA is a professional convention and it’s nice to look semi-professional too. I tend to do business casual leaning more toward casual. I’d also say dress in layers with some kind of lightweight sweater because air conditioning works more fully in some areas than others.
  • Shoes: Comfortable shoes. If that means sneakers, fine. If it means something else, go for it. You will likely be on your feet for eight hours and you will be walking for a lot of that.

3. How should I plan my day(s)?

  • Obviously all that paperwork I mentioned in question one is going to come in handy here. Beyond that, what you do at BEA is up to you. This year I am registered as Press (still get a thrill saying that!) and I go on my own time. That means I have no obligations except to do what I want and document it. And I want to go to signings. I plot out the signing schedules for any authors I am interested in–first in the autographing area, then the in-booth signings (which should be up soon). I also make a mental note of galley drops (publishers usually give out schedules for drops daily).
  • Prioritize: The key is to note when everything you want to do is happening. In any given time slot it’s likely you can do multiple things, but sometimes you can’t. Know what is most important to you and know how much time you want to spend on it–generally I pick some books and say to myself “Okay, this is why I’m at BEA today.” and that determines what else happens at BEA that day.
  • Make time to eat: Seriously. I tend to frequent the food court, but really eating anywhere is fine. Food is important and you won’t make it through the day otherwise.
  • Bags: Remember that tote and rolling suitcase you’re bringing? The tote will be used on the show floor (where no rolling luggage is allowed) to hold galleys you pick up. There is a 100% chance you will get totes throughout BEA but it’s always good to have a sturdy one you already like–just in case. The suitcase is literally the MOST important thing to bring. Before the show starts, drop the suitcase in a coat check area for five bucks. Now, throughout the day, you can drop your books into the suitcase. At the end of the day you can roll your suitcase home or to your hotel. Easy.

4. What should I expect at BEA?

  • Fun: If you love books, BEA is a great time. It’s a little overwhelming but there is lots of fun to be had.
  • Books: No matter how many books you think you will take home, know that you will be getting more than that. (Thus the rolling bag.)
  • Lines: I can’t speak to how the panels and talks are at BEA because I never go to them but the signings are a blast. You will wait on lines for a lot of BEA but mostly it’s worth it.

5. What’s the one thing everyone should remember when planning BEA?

  • Talk to everyone: I’m better at this now, but don’t be afraid to say hi to people. If you see someone from Twitter, wave. If you love a book and see the author, say hello. If a publicist just made your day finding the last ARC for the only book you wanted that day, let them know. Pass out cards, make friends. Find contacts. I’m not saying you’re going to get a new job at BEA. But you might make some new friends–especially if you hang out with the bloggers.

Those are all of the tips I have to share for a successful BEA. If you have more (or have some questions I didn’t answer), let’s chat in the comments!

BEA 2013: A Recap (With Photos!)

As many of you know, I was lucky enough to get to Book Expo America again this year in early June. It was the third year Nicole from The Book Bandit’s Blog and I have gone and I’m not even kidding when I tell you that I started planning for this year’s BEA in March. There were calendar entries. There were schedule sheets. Readers, there were two spreadsheets. I almost crossed the line into planning too much because by the time BEA finally came it felt like I’d already gone. But, of course, the three days were still full of surprises and many, many good books.

Here’s the rundown (with photos taken by me and Nicole):

Day One: May 30

penguinsign

We started bright and early with Nicole meeting me downtown so that we could proceed to the Javits Center together. Then it was a journey to find registration and get ourselfs ready to go.

I should tell you right now that most of my BEA was spent tracking down authors and/or books. There were a lot of cool sessions and speakers but Nicole and I had our priorities. And, dear readers, those priorities were books.

The day started with a quick lap on the show floor to get a sense of where things were laid out. This was, unfortunately, difficult given the lack of enormous signage labeling booths. Last year it had felt easier to navigate the floor but maybe it was me.

The signing schedule this year was insanely awesome and left Nicole and I running around a lot. The day started with Kendare Blake and Antigoddess.

Kendare Blake Bea13

Then it was time for one of my highest priority people to see: Diana Peterfreund who had a crazy line and an EPIC hat. And, of course, Across a Star-Swept Sea which I am dying to read.

Diana Peterfruend BEA13

The morning also included some surprises with the delightful Dot Hutchinson who wins in terms of author follow up. (Regular readers might remember that A Wounded Name is on my top ten summer reads list!)

The afternoon got a little crazy with lots of signings and places to be in LOTS of different places including this slim read from Macmillan:

IMG_0092

This is my first Lauren Myracle since reading Bliss in grad school and I’m really excited about it! Even cooler, Myracle was there all three days of BEA for signings. Talk about cool!

Then there was Little Brown booth where I was #141 in line to see Kami Garcia and her awesome sounding book Unbreakable.

IMG_0099

Then Nicole and I were second and third in line to see Oliver Jeffers signing The Day the Crayons Quit–a very funny book that he illustrated.

And you bet Nicole got a picture!

Ollie and Nicole BEA13

I missed out on a few picture book authors as priorities shifted, but I’m going to go ahead and say I had a moment with Phillip and Erin Stead and we’re friends now. It’s written here so it must be true, right?

All in all, it was impressive how smoothly Day One went and how successful we were in most of our endeavors.

Which brings us to . . .

Day Two: May 31

Another early start (the hours I kept for BEA started to be a hardship for my mom too, but hey, at least it’s only three days!)

Day Two was hard because ALL of the authors were signing and it was really hard to guess who would have the biggest lines not to mention picking who would be highest priority.

In the morning, however, I had one and only objective: Meeting Alethea Kontis author of Enchanted and its sequel Hero.

Alethea Kontis signing BEA13

It was touch and go but I’m happy to report the meeting did happen. AND in September you might want to stop by because the blog will be a stop on Alethea’s blog tour for Hero!

Alethea Kontis BEA13

Before the Hero signing Nicole and I were also really really lucky and made it to see Soman Chainani and his awesome looking book The School for Good and Evil. (I’m an Ever. Nicole is a Never. Neither of us knows exactly how that works with the book yet but we have pins to declare our allegiance.)

Then things got really crazy because Rainbow Rowell was signing arcs of Fangirl at St. Martins Press.

I had not read Eleanor & Park at the time of BEA but I have now and I am REALLY excited to have Fangirl on deck. (You can see, perhaps, why picking my books to read is becoming this huge thing.)

Rainbow Rowell BEA13

After that it was a mad dash back to the crazy autographing area because my only other priority for the entire morning was meeting Elizabeth Wein because we talk sometimes on Twitter and I cried buckets while reading Code Name Verity and meeting her is the first step to becoming her best friend. I really didn’t think it would happen because the Autographing area was crazy (and Kareem Abdul Jabar was signing so I stood next to him for a little bit . . . that happened).

The afternoon of day two devolved into one long line as we waited to see Victoria Schwab signing copies of her adult book from Tor: Vicious.

Victoria Schwab BEA13

It was insane and I really thought we were going to be turned away BUT Nicole and I made the cut which was really exciting. In terms of random, wacky things that happen to me thanks to twitter: one of my tweets was screenied in Victoria’s BEA recap post. Also, I saw Victoria a few times around BEA and recognized her which was fun. The surreal part was “talking” on twitter and hearing that SHE recognized ME. Random, wacky and awesome!

There were a lot of other books on Day Two because it was insane as I said. But these were definitely the highlights.

And then we have . . .

Day Three: June 1

Day Three of BEA is always the mellowest because the show closes earlier and there are generally fewer authors signing and things to do. This was a day to hunt down books we had missed previously and also to catch a few last authors.

Because the day was mellow and because I am obsessed with Alex Bracken, Nicole and I made a really easy decision: We would get to Alexandra Bracken’s line as soon as possible and wait an hour to meet her while she signed Never Fade. And believe it or not that wasn’t the crazy part. The crazy part was that other people had the same idea but even then we were among the first thirty people. I’d like to think that success helped start the day on a high note.

Alex Bracken BEA13

After running around the autographing area for a bit longer it was, happily, time for lunch.

The really great thing about Saturday was that after lunch we got to meet up with fellow blogger Cecelia from The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia. We had met last year at BEA on Diana Peterfreund’s epic line and I was really excited to see her again.

With an afternoon that was wide open until Robin Wasserman’s 1:30 signing, I convinced everyone that we needed Cinders by Jan Brett in our lives. I mean, a chicken Cinderella? It was a total no brainer. Also, I have Brett’s book from when I was a kid so I was really excited to meet her. It was very fast because the line was long but it was awesome and the book is fantastic.

Then it was time for the last really long line: Robin Wasserman signing copies of The Waiting Dark.

The line was so long, in fact, that we had time to pose for a picture with Cecelia’s phone:

Cecelia, Nicole, Emma BEA13

The line kept moving, we saw Robin Wasserman and her very cool dinosaur necklace. We picked up out last tote bags of books. We applauded our excellent planning. We went home and started thinking about what books we would read first.

And that, dear readers, is the rundown of my BEA 2013.

BEA 2012: A Recap

June 5 through June 7 The Book Bandit and I essentially lived at the Javits Center for this year’s Book Expo America.

Tuesday:

The three-day-trek started bright and early on Tuesday with registration and the all important bag check. Having learned that books are heavy and in large supply, I knew a rolling suitcase would be crucial this year and I have to say all three days I left with a full bag thanks to all of the fantastic books available to attendees.

The morning’s big event was a signing with Gabrielle Zevin in the autographing area though before that I was fortunate to get copies of several books that are high on my to read list including Libba Bray’s The Diviners. (At 600 plus pages I figure I’ll finish it by the pub date if I start reading soon.) After exploring the floor, it was time to meet Gabrielle Zevin who was amazing and took time to talk to every person in line. I was already crazy excited to read Because It Is My Blood but also being able to talk to Gabrielle (who remembered me and my blog) was an extra bonus for sure.

The rest of the day was spent on more lines. But for people who got tired there was a chance to grab a quick cup of coffee.

I know what you’re thinking. But you’re wrong. Coffee backpacks are a brilliant idea.

Other Tuesday highlights: Getting a copy of The Raven Boys and Shannon Hale’s sequel to Princess Academy. I forget which line we were on together but I also met Tirzah from The Compulsive Reader which was delightful.

Wednesday:

Wednesday once again started bright and early with more exploring the floor and lining up for authors in the autographing area. The highlight here was without a doubt meeting Susane Colasanti again after interviewing her here on the blog not only because she remembered (for some reason I never think authors will remember me) but also because I got the chance to be one of those chatty people who hold up a signing line. It’s terrible when you’re the one being delayed but it’s kind of rad to be the one getting to chat with a favorite author.

True story: we’re practically neighbors. (That means we’re also practically friends, right?)

But that was at the end of the day. Before that, there was a lot of other excitement. (And a lot of other lines. Like an insane amount of lines. Bea 2012 could have been renamed Waiting in Line 2012.)

One of the most interesting, and often dismaying, things about this year’s BEA was how many debut authors had huge lines for their signings. It was fantastic to see even when it meant being kicked off a line that ran out of books or ran too long. I love the amount of excitement I always see for books at BEA.

After unsuccessfully navigating Sarah J. Maas’ line, we went to wait to meet Tim Gunn. I’ve never seen Project Runway but Nicole (and her dad!) are big fans so it was a must. Seeing Tim Gunn was fun but it was also nice to talk to some of the other people on the line and tag team exploring the floor while we creeped ever closer to Tim. I have a picture but I’m not going to share it. Because it’s awful. Unlike The Book Bandit, I did not make it work in my picture.

Instead of a picture of me or Tim Gunn, here’s a picture of the line I stood on to meet Tim Gunn.

I also have to give a shout out to the people at the Macmillan booth who were kind enough to give me a copy of Crewel even though I didn’t get a ticket for the giveaway. I’m really excited to read it. (In fact, I’m so excited about so many books that I’m having a hard time deciding what to read next. There are so many good books!)

After Tim Gunn’s line the line at Penguin to see Marie Lu was surprisingly mellow. Again, there were some great people to talk to on the line and thanks to the magic of Twitter I even discovered that Marie Lu and I have a friend in common. Go figure! Waiting on the ticketed line for Prodigy (which is just as gorgeously designed as Legend!) I had to laugh at how easy it was to get a copy of Legend last year. Who could have guessed? This year’s signing was even ticketed.

The cover is exactly like this and the interior is just as gorgeously designed as Legend!

In case you hadn’t guessed, Wednesday’s theme was running from line to line.

The next big one–possibly also the defining moment of BEA–was Diana Peterfreund’s signing in the autographing area. Diana Peterfreund was only scheduled to sign for a half hour and her line was massive. As the line grew and grew other attendees asked who we were all waiting for. It was interesting to hear all the different pronunciations for “Peterfreund” as well as all the blank stares when anyone explained the book she was signing was For Darkness Shows the Stars. I’ve been hearing about this book for so long that I actually thought it was already long published instead of out on June 12.

Moving forward in the line, Nicole and I had a chance to talk with two delightful bloggers, Cecelia of Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia (best blog name ever) and Amy of Tripping Over Books (prettiest business card!–also we are blog theme twins right now–win!). A riot almost started when the line was moved but then we learned it was because Diana was staying longer than her half hour slot to meet everyone.

With the line being huge and slow-moving, we offered to hold Amy’s place while she went to try and meet Gennifer Albin and get a signed copy of Crewel. So of course, the line started moving after that. Things got a big stressful as books were counted to determine who could stay on the line and I’m sad to say some people were turned away but at the same time super happy to say everyone in my group did get a copy. (Unsurprisingly after that epic line I suspect almost everyone got their copy personalized. I know you’ll have to pry mine out of my cold, dead hands.) Aside from bonding with everyone on the line, I was super impressed by how gracious and generally nice Diana Peterfreund was through the whole signing. I also have to give props to all of the BEA volunteers who did an amazing job making sure everything ran smoothly. They’re really the rock stars of BEA.

After Diana Peterfreund’s line, Nicole and I knew not to fool around for Susane Colasanti so we got on line WAY early and tag teamed to explore the floor and catch other signings including Raina Telgemeir and Patrick McDonnell. I also was ecstatic to finally be in the same place at the same time with Kate Ellison to get a signed copy of The Butterfly Clues.

I’ve already mentioned how awesome it was to see Susane Colasanti (it’s kind of always awesome to see her) and end the day on a high note.

Did I mention this happened? It totally happened.

To make things even better Nicole and I managed to be at the Scholastic booth in time to get copies of The Raven Boys and The Dark Unwinding. Even better, the author Sharon Cameron was there at the same time and did an impromptu signing for us. (The book’s editor, Lisa Ann Sandell, was also there which gave me a fun chance to make a fool of myself in front of her. Good times.)

Leaving BEA on Wednesday was also filled with interesting moments. My favorite, possibly because Nicole and I had such different reactions, was when I discovered pigeons wandering the Javits Center food court. While not perhaps hygienic, I thought it was enchanting and enjoyed the whimsy of the whole thing. Nicole . . . did not.

Don’t let the pigeon sit in the food court.

It also took an incredibly long time to get home on Wednesday thanks to leaving during rush hour. While wandering the streets looking for a cab with a suitcase bursting with books was not ideal I did get to snap some nice pictures of the skyline.

Thursday:

Which brings us to Thursday and another early start. There were two really big reasons I knew I had to be at BEA on Thursday. The first was because Alexandra Bracken was signing. I adored Beautifully Woven and love following her on Twitter. I’ve been following news on her forthcoming book The Darkest Minds since before it had that title. After exploring the floor we made our way to Alex Bracken’s line to secure our spots.

Victory! This was my first BEA read and it was SO. Good. I am already eagerly waiting for the sequel and this one isn’t even out until December!

After that the rest of the day became an exercise in line hopping as we met Eliot Schrefer, Jeff Hirsch, Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and Jackson Pearce (who has a lovely signature).

Jackson Pearce tearing it up with her pretty (fast) signature.

Eliot Schrefer and Jeff Hirsh shared a signing table. They’re two of the most unfailingly pleasant and nice authors at signings.

In addition to being unfailingly pleasant and funny, Eliot Schrefer came to his signing with a (relevant) stuffed monkey. Nicole took a picture up close.

Kristin Cashore was also signing during this slot and Nicole and I decided it was worth a shot though after the last few days (see: Diana Peterfreund and Sarah Maas’ lines) our expectations were low. Amazingly, Kristin Cashore must have some kind of signing magic because not only did the line move, it moved quickly and we both managed to meet her.

Kristin Cashore’s long and surprisingly fast moving line.

After her line we even had an impromptu meeting (complete with hugs) with Victoria Schwab.

Then we come to the second reason I knew I had to go to BEA on Thursday: Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff would all be together signing their new short story collection The Curiosities. The line was, say it with me, very long. But once again there were some other wonderful bloggers to share the waiting with. Rebecca from Booksellers Without Borders, Lisa from Lisa Loves Literature, and Jenna from Coffee, Books, and Me (who came all the way from the Philippines).

Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, Maggie Stiefvater: A great way to end BEA.

All three authors were delightful and had the three-person signing thing down pat. I haven’t had a chance to do more than glance at my copy but from what I’ve seen so far it was definitely worth the wait in line.

Having had last year to “practice” Nicole and I were way more prepared (and trained perhaps?!) for this year’s Book Expo and I am thrilled with all of the great book finds I have to review and share with you guys later. It’s going to be awesome!

And that, dear readers, is what BEA 2012 looked like for me.

This is what my desk looked like after BEA 2012 (my laptop is somewhere under all of that) which goes a long way to explain why writing up this recap took so long.