Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Mania Anyone?




Last week I attended BEA (BookExpo America). I’d never been to this conference before. In summary: Wow.

First of all, this ginormous convention took place in the mega huge (think multiple airplane hangers) Jacob Javits Center in New York City. And every inch of this place was crammed with publishers, areas for workshops and seminars, signing booths where authors gave away copies of their newly released or soon to be released books (many signed at the publisher booths, as well), and vendors selling food and drink (with prices that required buyers to sell kidneys).

The day began early with the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, a ticketed event that sold out months ago. Chris Colfer (who plays Kurt Hummel on Glee), the master of ceremonies for the breakfast, woke us up with his wit and sense of humor (while plugging his middle grade novel, The Land of Stories). John Green, Lowis Lowry, and Kadir Nelson also spoke, each amazing, as I’m sure you can imagine. As a bonus, everyone in the audience walked away with copies of the latest books from these authors. Sweet!

A glimpse of a few signing booths.
For the rest of the day, my writer pals and I cruised, perused, and attended workshops and interviews. Moving about was often challenging given the dense crowds and snaking lines of people waiting to have often free books signed. I practically tripped over Chris Colfer as he signed copies of his novel. I spotted Jane Seymour (actress) signing books, and I became lost in what might have been a flash mob around Rachel Ray (celebrity chef and daytime TV show hostess). I also heard R.L. Stein talk about his famous Goosebumps series and middle grade novels. To top all this off, I scored a better seat for the interview with Patti Smith and Neil Young than I’ve ever enjoyed at a concert (and believe me, this was a one interesting conversation).

All this and I walked away with enough books to dislocate at least one shoulder. I hadn’t planned on this, but every time I paused, someone handed me a book. I am not kidding when I tell you that I turned more away than I accepted. In the end, sacrificing a shoulder or two seemed like the right thing to do. 

For more info and a more professional take on the BEA scene as it pertains to the children’s book industry, check out this Publisher’s Weekly article: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/52446-bea-2012-big-books-for-kids-surveying-the-scene.html

Now tell me, have you ever attended BEA, or a mega book conference or event such as this? If not, would you want to check it out (keeping the crowds and chaos in mind)? If you have been to BEA or a like conference, what did you take away from the experience?

56 comments:

  1. Sounds like a valuable experience and a reader's paradise.

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  2. I have never been to such a thing - I think the crowds would put me off - but to see Jane Seymour! WOW!!! Slightly off topic (oh ok, bad segue!! LOL!) I remember going to see Miss Saigon and who came and sat in front of me!?!? A very slight gorgeous fragrant smelling Jane Seymour!!!

    Glad you had a most amazing time!!

    Take care
    x

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    1. She really is gorgeous, Kitty. My friends and I were almost stunned at how great she looks in "real life."

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  3. Oh, it had to be so much fun! I can only imagine all those people, all those books! Sigh. Hopefully you got to pick up some good arcs.

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    1. I think I did, Karen, but it's going to take me a while to read them all! : )

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  4. I wondered about this conference. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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    1. You're welcome! I had wondered about it, too!

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  5. Sounds amazing! I haven't even heard of this and now I HAVE to get it on my list! You're so lucky!

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    1. I really was lucky, Leigh, and grateful for the opportunity.

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  6. I have not, but I'd surely like to. Looks like you've got a lot of reading to catch up on....

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  7. Yes, indeed, JeffO. All the new material from BEA plus that always towering to-be-read pile.

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  8. I've never been to a "mega" conference, but attended some smaller ones. What a great way to spend the day! I loved meeting people and seeing what's out there.

    Thanks for sharing this experience.

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    1. You're most welcome, Loree. And I think it's sometimes easier to meet people at the smaller conferences, believe it or not.

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  9. Wow! I wish I could have gone. I heard about it over twitter as it was happening.

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    1. I read a lot about it on Twitter, too, Emily. I love the way the social networks can keep us updated on such things.

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  10. no i haven't ever been to anything like this--it sounds fun!

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    1. Fun and a little exhausting, to be honest. ; )

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  11. Thanks for giving us a report on the BEA. I felt like i was right there with you! My dream is to attend at least once in my life (i have no idea how, though). :D
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. I bet you will, Nutschell. It's interesting and often surprising how things sometimes just work out. I didn't expect to go to BEA this year, but then--surprise.

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  12. I love that "cruised and perused". I think I've heard of this one, but I've only ever been able to afford to attend local conferences. I'm fortunate there are so many.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! And I hear you about the expense factor. Some of the conferences and events get ridiculously pricey. I am lucky in that NYC is reachable from where I live.

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  13. Patti Smith and Neil Young? Far out man... I'd absolutely LOVE to go to one of these. The free books alone is enough to draw me in, but all those authors... Wow.

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    1. Far out is right, Bish. : ) And so many books that people were carting them home in suitcases on wheels!

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  14. Would you believe me if I said I'm not jealous at all? Not one iota. Nope at all. *pouts*

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  15. Wow! I've always wondered what it would be like to go! How cool!

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    1. I'd wondered too, Lisa. And yes, very cool.

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  16. Someday I would LOVE to go to BEA. Unfortunately, being on the opposite coast makes it hard. But I'm so glad you got to experience it!!

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    1. Lisa, my proximity to NYC really did make this possible.

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  17. I have not attended BEA. Sounds like a good time!

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  18. I've never been and I'm dying to go! I think I'm going next year. Hopefully I'll have some ARCs to give away!

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  19. What an amazing experience. I'd love to attend one year, but it's a long way to go from Oz.

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    1. So true, Lynda! You might have the longest trek of all!

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  20. Those events are amazing. I attended one in L.A. and was blown away by all the writers and publishers milling in the crowd. Great fun. Glad you had such a great experience.

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  21. BEA is such an amazing event. I first attended a few years ago when I was still working at the library. I remember being blown away and thinking that it would awesome to be able to attend as an author, and I was right!

    I missed out on the Wednesday events, but it sounds like they were a blast.

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    1. Alissa! You went on Thursday, right? I hope your signing went well! I'm sorry we missed each other.

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  22. I'd love to go to BEA one of these days! It must be absolutely amazing!! :)

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  23. I know what I'm going to start saving up for now. Sounds like an Alice in Wonderland moment - without all the scary stuff.

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  24. It would be fun to go someday. I'm not a crowd person in general, but I'd love to try this at least once.

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    1. It's definitely worth seeing at least once, Marcia.

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  25. Cynthia - Thanks for sharing your wonderful time at BEA - I'm so jealous! Hearing the description of your day was amazing. Maybe someday...sigh.

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  26. Oh, I would love to attend. Sounds so wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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  27. I've never been, but it seems like the kind of thing every author should experience at least once!

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  28. I agree, Shannon. All those books make it especially fun for authors, I think.

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  29. I haven't been to BEA yet, but I'd like to go even though I tend to avoid crowds.

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    1. And boy, there were crowds the day I went, Medeia. But everyone was polite and lovely, which is always a plus. ; )

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  30. I've never been to anything like this, but it sounds amazing! My daughter (a book blogger) expressed interest in going. Perhaps next year we will go together. It sounds like you had a memorable experience. I do hope your shoulders have recovered ;)

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    1. I think a book blogger would love BEA, Ruth. Together you two would probably have a blast.

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