This Recap Post is simple:
Three things I learned after three years at BEA
1. Prep Schmep
I have never put such detail planning into anything except international travel plans. Seriously. And even then, with two integrated schedules, copious of notes, and all the help from blogger friends, I didn't get all the books I want or stick to the schedule.
Some signings run longer. Sometimes you stand in a "shadow line" for an hour and a half before the actual lining up begins. Sometimes you get one of your top books completely by accident.
So, the scheduling and grids should really be loose guidelines. And even then, I think the most important thing to do is make a list of the books you truly want--but keep it small--and let everything else fall into place.
2. BEA Friends are THE BEST.
I would not have gotten through BEA without my friends, especially Nicole and Hannah. And I think most people can agree; the friends you make at BEA and through blogging are special sorts and not to be underestimated. They can be your greatest motivators and helpers during BEA.
BEA is not a competition. It's not about who got the most ARCs, met the most authors, stood in line the longest, etc. And you especially don't ahve to do any of that by yourself. I've seen a lot of people reading books while waiting in humongous lines and that's fine! But also, I think people should take advantage of that time to sit and talk. You honestly never know who you're going to meet. My first year on line for Tandem, I met Melissa Grey and she's one of my favorite people ever. I roomed with Andye, Val, Krista and Hannah (and besides my special little snowflake moments--sorry Caitlin!) I definitely made some amazing friends. And I wouldn't trade the moments in our room where we laughed ourselves to tears for anything.
3. REST and EAT
I wore myself a bit thin this year. I didn't get much sleep this year at BEA, or eat enough and I think I'm supremely stupid because of it. I missed the Macmillan party because of a migraine and spent most of the night in the room--when I wasn't trying to sleep off my migraine--watching a grotesque episode of Hoarders with Val.
So, do yourself a favor and pack comfort food during BEA if you're like me and your stomach does annoying things during the expo. Hannah was my lifesaver with PB&J and I might not have eaten without it. And if you have to sleep in a little extra and miss being first in line at the Javits, so be it. Sleep is important. And it might make those hours on line during the day a little better--trust me, no one wants to zone out before meeting their favorite author. Plus, being tired and overwhelmed makes you do stupid things like forget stuff in your hotel room. No one wants that to happen.
Obviously, another thing I learned was to just to have as much fun as possible. This year went by way to fast! I didn't even feel like BEA was happening until it was over. Even though I blinked and it happened, I had an amazing time. I learned a lot and hopefully will be ready for Chicago or any other Book conferences in the future!
Thank you to Hannah, Val, Krista and Andye for being amazing roommates. Thank you for Nicole for being super understanding. Thanks to Gaby for the oatmeal cookie that might have saved my life on Thursday or Friday. I can't even remember.
Be sure to check out the rest of the week for more BEA Recap posts!