BEA 2014, Part 2: The Pain and the Rain

[WARNING: This post is extremely photo heavy.]

Hey again! I posted earlier about BEA day one (Thursday the 29th), and now I’m back to talk about BEA day two (Friday the 30th) and BookCon! Friday was much less eventful than Thursday, though I did meet several incredible authors! I only brought my big Jansport backpack to the Javits Center, given my smaller-than-expected haul from Thursday. I didn’t think I’d need another huge bag, especially since many of the publishers were giving out free tote bags. I’m small but strong, and I could manage the weight, right? I did it yesterday, I thought.

Yeah, I think I’ll be bringing a rolling suitcase to BEA from now on.

But we’ll come back to that! So I arrived at the Javits at roughly 7:10am, just a few minutes later than I walked in on Thursday, and I imagined the line for ticketed autographing sessions would be just as short. I had forgotten that many of the show’s most popular figures, including Rick Riordan, Mary Higgins Clark, and Stan Lee (yes, that Stan Lee), would be signing that day…and the line was extremely long. I was hoping to secure tickets for Judy Schachner, Jan Brett, Mary Higgins Clark, and Rosemary Wells (I was only allowed 4 tickets) and luckily I got all of them. Once I had my tickets I sat down in line outside the exhibit area and flipped through my copy of that day’s Show Daily. I looked back at my tickets and realized that two of them — Judy Schachner (of Skippyjon Jones fame) and Mary Higgins Clark — were scheduled for the same time, and so I had a decision to make. I knew for sure that I wanted to see Mary Higgins Clark; she’s the first mystery writer I ever read, who I discovered through my mom, and I wanted to get a signed copy for her. I had learned the previous day that trying to see two authors in the same block (Neil Patrick Harris and Dorothea Benton Frank) was a bad idea, so I gave up my Judy Schachner ticket to the school librarian seated behind me in line and got on with my day.

Yesterday, the line to enter the show formed on the purple carpet, and everyone entered in a calm and orderly fashion. Today, people decided they didn’t want to wait in the purple line and formed their own line on the yellow carpet. Needless to say, there was some drama between lines about line-cutting, and instead of sending all of the yellow-carpet attendees to the back of the purple line, they tried to hold all of them back to let the purple line enter first. That went well, as you can probably imagine; there were no knock-down, drag-out fights, but you’d think a whole line industry professionals would act a little more…I don’t know…professional?

Anyway, the plan this morning was to pick up as many galleys as I could (and that looked interesting to me) right out of the gate. I walked from booth to booth, checking out galleys — like actually reading them before making a decision, unlike many others who just grabbed every freebie available and ran to the next publisher — and slowly filling my arms with totes and books. As I walked around, I decided which books I wanted to keep for myself, which to review for the blog and which to give away, and to whom. I didn’t have too much time, though; after a half-hour or so of this, I had to jump in line to pick up a copy of Jan Brett’s The Animals’ Santa for Joshua. Ms. Brett kindly took a picture with me:

I secured the book in my backpack and took a few minutes to organize all the others I’d already taken possession of before making my way to the New Title Showcase. I perused the shelves the same way I would at a bookstore, taking my time and looking at every cover. These two little gems almost immediately jumped out at me and I decided that I had to have at least one of them:

After photographing the covers so I’d remember them, I pulled out my map and tracked down Bread and Butter Publishing  and took a walk to their booth. After a short discussion about Joshua’s role in my blog, they gave me a copy of Garden Safari Vegetable Soup, and I promised to review the book and prepare the soup with Joshua. (All of that will be up here next Friday.)

I managed three more signings after this, as my backpack and two tote bags were loaded and really starting to weigh down on my shoulders and owww. My first stop was to Mary Higgins Clark, whom I’d been looking forward to meeting since I found out she would be there in the first place. She is tiny and so sweet, and I joked that I’d love for her to be my grandma. She signed a copy of I’ve Got You Under My Skin for my mom and asked me to pass along a message: “Tell your mom I said thank you for introducing us, and I hope you like this book!” Next, I visited Rosemary Wells; in my excitement I forgot to take a picture of her, but Joshua is now the proud owner of Max and Ruby at the Warthogs’ Wedding! My final stop was to the Midpoint Publishing booth for another adorable children’s book called Vroom-Town: The Adventure of Tim the Tipper in Quentin’s Quarry, by the Irish author Emer Conlon. I was completely unaware of the book or its signing until I walked by the publisher’s booth that morning, so I took a picture of the display and made a point of coming back at signing time. I was first in line and had a short conversation with Ms. Conlon, during which I gushed that Joshua would love the book. (And he did — you should have seen the look on his face when I handed him this book about construction vehicles. It was priceless. Review to come in the next few weeks!) After putting that away, I gave up (or, as some would say, “cried uncle”) and made the slow and frankly painful trek back to the train station. A week later, my left shoulder still hurts a little from all the weight I had been putting on it, but it was worth it. I showed my haul to The Hubby and then to the friends I was staying with for the night before crashing early.



Saturday morning was the last day of BEA, otherwise known as BookCon! This was the only day I came in accompanied; my friend Alexis who, (whether she realizes it or not) is part of the Book Girls phenomenon, wants to start a book blog of her own, so I wanted to give her an idea of what the big trade show is like. We knew ahead of time that this would be the most crowded day of the four, but we weren’t prepared for what we witnessed upon entering the Javits. There were crowds everywhere, and some of the booths looked as though they’d been ransacked. We didn’t get in until shortly after 9am and by then, many of the first wave of galleys were gone.

We had to make some quick decisions about how to spend our day, so we spent some time walking around, trying to pick up galleys where we could; before we knew it it was time to head to the Special Events Hall for the panel featuring Veronica Roth and Alex London. Admittedly, Alex wasn’t on our radar before the panel, but Alexis and I decided that we’d both seek out Proxy and Guardian when we came home; Veronica, meanwhile, was as funny and intelligent as we’d expected her to be. The conversation was interesting and entertaining, and we were happy to have gone. As attendees of the panel, we received an excerpt from the upcoming short-story collection, Four, which I later realized seemed familiar to me because I’d already read it. (The excerpt came from the only story released to the public before the decision was made to publish the collection as a book.)

Alexis and I based the rest of our plan for the day on the length of the line to see the Roth/London panel: it was excruciatingly long (and fortunately, we were toward the front of it), and people were being turned away. Both of us wanted to see John Green but we knew that BEA would eventually put video of his appearance on their website, so we chose to forgo it. Instead, we decided to try for Danielle Paige, author of Dorothy Must Die. We were toward the front of a line that snaked around and around the autographing area, composed of a few hundred people (many of whom sadly were forced to leave the line because Ms. Paige simply didn’t have enough copies of the book to sign for everyone).

Let me just say that the dust jacket of the book looks awesome, but the hard cover itself is amazing. Whoever handled the design is a genius! Check it out:

Our next and last stop, hopefully, would be the trade show floor, which was closed off to BookCon ticket holders. Because I held a BEA Blogger’s badge, I was able to get us behind the ropes. I think Alexis was happy with what she saw; she got to see all of the booths and to take home some books that were unavailable to our BookCon counterparts. The only book that both of us wanted and failed to get was Capstone’s The Diamond Thief, by Sharon Gosling. We fell in love with the cover — I know you shouldn’t judge covers, but sometimes you can’t help it! — and were beaten to copies by three other readers. That’s okay, because I was approved to read it through NetGalley, and Alexis will have an account of her own soon and be able to read it, too. After crossing back into the BookCon area and grabbing a few more books, we decided to call it a day and head home.

And we got to walk the five blocks back to Penn Station with loaded backpacks in the rain. Good times!

So, I guess you want to see my haul? I can promise you this: One look and you’ll know why my shoulders have been bothering me!

So that’s it! My overall first-time, newbie impression: A little disorganized, a lot crowded, but a blast overall! It was a great experience and I’m already counting down the days to next year! And like I said…next time, I’ll be checking a suitcase to save my shoulders!

Any questions or comments? Feel free to shout them out!