Feet sore, back aching, and 100 plus books richer I have
emerged after three days of BEA 2013 a different person. I feel illuminated,
experienced and as if I have conquered the Everest of all conventions (this is
probably a lie, the Everest of all conventions might be San Diego Comic Con
which I have not yet been to).
Before, I was without the knowledge of the inside of book blogging and
book reviewing. I observed from afar, knowing that I would always seriously
want to get in on it. Now, I speak the language of BEA. Galleys, Drops, ARCs, BEAbrain, BEAfabulous,
all became part of my
daily vocabulary. In just a day, I became a pro. In two days, an expert. By day
three, I had everything down. Or so I thought.
So after the longest intro ever, I can tell you a little
about BEA. First of all, I was grossly unprepared. If it weren’t for the lovely
Nicole, I would have gotten there only an hour or half hour before opened with
no place online and no schedule. BEA is overwhelming enough but to a newbie, it
is downright terrifying. Imagine being that five-year-old kid in a candy shop
again with so many choices. Now imagine that there are hundreds of other five
year olds all trying to grab the candy. And it’s free so you’re all extra
grabby. I felt like that at BEA. For that reason, a plan is a must. Without it,
you’ll drown in books and tote bags.
A few things I noticed as a first time BEA go-er.
1. As Nicole advised, suitcases are key. A medium sized one
will do. This will be a lifesaver. Post I recently made on twitter: My Suitcase
and I: A BEA 2013 Love Story. But seriously.
2. Talk to people while you’re waiting on line. This might
be a bit obvious but you never know whom you will meet. I met my BEATP (the
combination of BEA plus OTP if anyone is at all curious) on line. Waiting on line is a pain but you have
a great opportunity to share info and take a breather. A lot of BEA is running
around. The lines may actually help you.
3. Business cards are awesome. When on line or at a booth,
you may feel compelled to give out your contact info. It’s really convenient to
have something handy to give out.
4. Bring a phone charger or a portable back up charger.
There are a few charging stations around that are really useful and if you were
like me, tweeting and calling people all day to find out where they were, and
then you’ll spend your battery quickly.
5. SCHEDULE. Do not realize fifteen minutes before BEA opens
that you have no idea what you want to do. If you don’t have a preliminary
schedule, you will be eaten alive by other bloggers and BEA-goers. You need to
have a rough outline of the books you want, the booths you’re desperate to hit,
and any signings you need tickets for. If you don’t have this, there’s a slight
possibility you will go insane.
6. Grab the tote bags. All the tote bags. T
he bigger, the
better. Since you will be storing your suitcases, you’ll need something to
carry the books with until you can make a dump.
7. At the end of the day, you really should sort your books
out. Make a few piles: the books you must have, the books you are interested
in, and the books you might never read. Publishers spend a lot of time and
money putting together galleys. They are there for you to take but remember
that the purpose of this all is for you to read the book, review the book and
fuel the buzz. So if you were not sure about a book, I would put it aside.
Especially since you might not have room to take it home. Prioritize. I love
free books but to be honest, there were a lot that I had to give away or return
because I was sure I wouldn’t have time to get to it. That being said I still
came home with about a 112 books and that’s an estimate because the books are
currently scattered over my living room. Definitely put thought into where you
are going to store the books. People joke about cleaning their bookshelves
before BEA but it’s an actual serious concern.
8. Have fun! Duh, dude. Obvious, right? There was a point
where I had to take some Tylenol because I was getting a migraine. There should
be no migraines in BEA. No point.
Some books I’m uber excited about (Can’t you tell I’m a list
by Samantha Shannon- I remember
reading an article about this book a few months ago and being both extremely
jealous of Samantha Shannon and intrigued by the book synopsis. I hope it lives
up to the hype.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- For some weird reason
I thought I had to read Eleanor and Park before I could read Fangirl. When I
found out this wasn’t true, I about cried I was so happy. I cannot wait to read
this book. As I told Rainbow Rowell in my brief meeting at the tumblr Ya lit
party, I feel like this book is perfect for us girls who call ourselves
fangirls. Finally a book that addresses it without mocking it. Thank you,
Tandem by Anna Jarzab- You’ll find at BEA, if
you’re as unprepared as I was, that you come across books that you didn’t know
existed and as soon as you find out about them you MUST Have them. This was the
case with Tandem.
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen- This is the
one book I didn’t get. I was at the Neil Gaiman talk and found that I couldn’t
be in two places at once, such a shame. But I will definitely be buying this
There were so many more I was
excited for but I really just want to read them and then flail about them in my
reviews. Because all the books look so good. I definitely judge a book by it’s
cover and I really couldn’t find a book that didn’t look amazing. From the
adult books I picked up all the way to some middle-grade, everything was so
well put together. I’m extremely impressed.
Other BEA highlights:
I SAW NEIL GAIMAN SPEAK. Besides the books and
the friends I met and made, this was worth every BEA penny. He is articulate
and funny in a way I hope one day to be just a tiny bit like. I Make Good Art
and Fortunately the Milk.
It was perfect.
cannot wait to
read his new book. After the talk I was given a signed copy of
Chelsea Handler was there and I sort of saw her.
It was cool.
BEA is a must for bibliophiles. Seriously.
Just do it. Either on whatever special day they designate to power readers or
all three days. It’s worth it. I woke up at 5:30 each day and commuted into the
suitcase back and forth with at least fifty pounds of books. And I would do it
again and again. Although, thank God it was only three days. My body started to
ache in places I didn’t know existed because of the carrying and hauling I did.
I cannot wait for next year.
Stay tuned for my BEA book reviews!