Here is my very belated recap of BookExpo 2019. I was lucky enough to be involved with the YA Editors’ Buzz Panel again this year as part of the selection committee that chose the five featured titles and was approved for press registration again this year.
The show’s format was a little different with the exhibit floor open for three days and signings, panels, and other events happening on all three days.
Let me say up front that I got to see so many friends this year. I have never felt so popular or had so much fun at a convention. As usual, Nicole and I were BookExpo buddies and as is becoming tradition we had quite the adventure figuring out how to pick up our press badges.
Wednesday was very low key with a later start. It was a good way to ease into the convention, figure out registration, find friends, and explore the show floor.Also there was a giant Christmas tree for The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. Please enjoy this preview of my new Christmas card:
You can also check out my full recap of day one!
On day two, Nicole and I thought we could plan to leave later than the day before since were already registered. But then I panicked and we wound up leaving early still which was a good call because it was raining and took a while to get a cab to the Javits Center. Then when we arrived we found our usual coat check was full and had to detour to a different floor to drop off our bags. But of course we still had time to mill around waiting for the show floor to open.
Look at this fun banner that was there for Kevin Henkes upcoming picture book:
I also was able to take a start-of-day selfie with a new dress that I’m obsessed with.
(I also posted this selfie to Twitter with the tag which was a little embarrassing later when I was waiting on a line and people saw it as one of the latest tweets in the BookExpo hashtag. Oops!)
This year Nicole and I were both approved to attend BookExpo as Press and I have to admit it felt like order was restored. I decided to keep things simple this year and had very few big priorities. With the event being two days (without any added things) it was also lower key that it had been in a while.
Nicole and I started the day with a very circuitous hunt for registration to pick up our badges (this also included both of us accidentally ending up in the International Franchise Expo registration line but we quickly realized our mistake).
With badges in hand, it was time to do some waiting for the show floor to open.
I started the day with a selfie. As one does.
This was also the debut of my shorter hair cut after a failed attempt to grow it out this winter. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have short hair again!
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!