As most of you probably know, I was in NYC last week for BEA (Book Expo America) and Book Blogger Convention.
Oh. Holy. Wow.
What a whirlwind few days!
I’m still recovering from the exhaustion & awesomeness of everything that happened last week, but I’ll be blogging about my experiences, the bloggers & authors I met, the books I found out about, and everything in between over the next several days. But first, here’s a quick post about WHY I went to BEA, and a brief look at my NYC experience.
A lot of people think bloggers go to BEA for the “free books.” And while there were a handful of disappointingly rude people there (not just bloggers) who were clearly just after the freebies, let me correct this assumption.
First of all, I did not just go to BEA for the “free books.” My number one reason for going was to network — with the publishers, the authors, and with fellow bloggers. I wanted to meet the people I’ve spent the last year and a half working with remotely (via email, Twitter, phone, etc.). It was so nice to finally put faces with names, and to hang out in person with all these cool folks I’ve been working with — people like Vania of VLC Productions, Chrissy at S&S, and Allison at HarperTeen.
I was also there to build new relationships with publishers, publicists, authors, etc. Novel Novice is something I want to continue to grow and build, and it’s developing these sorts of relationships that helps make that possible.
And yes, getting the books was very nice — but I wouldn’t call them “free.” It would be much cheaper to just buy the books myself than to spend the money I did on traveling to NYC, staying there, eating there, registering for BEA, etc. The costs add up — and books themselves would be much less expensive. So while I didn’t pay for the actual books I received at BEA, I wouldn’t necessarily call them “free.”
As I said, I’ll have much more in-depth looks at the authors, bloggers, books, etc. later … but during the rest of my time in NYC, I managed to squeeze in some brief sight-seeing and time to hang out with my good friend Erin. She & I went to college together before she moved to New York — and Erin is the one who let me crash on her sleeper sofa all last week, gave me personalized directions for getting from her house to the Javits Center using the MTA, and took me out for some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. (Over four nights, we enjoyed: meatballs, pizza, Jewish deli, and customized mac ‘n’ cheese.) We also nabbed tickets to see Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and it was spectacular!
And in case you’re thinking about going to BEA next year, here’s a few quick words of advice:
- Start saving your $$$ now … NYC is expensive
- Be prepared to walk A LOT. Even using the Subway/Bus systems, there’s a lot of walking, and many New York city blocks are longer than you might expect. Hailing a cab is also far more difficult than you might think, so don’t always plan on having that as a back-up. You’ll also be on your feet almost the entire time at BEA itself. I’ve got the blisters to prove it.
- Besides sore legs & feet, expect some aching shoulders/neck muscles from carrying around bags of books.
- Pack an extra phone battery. I think the Javits Center has some secret cell phone battery sucking capabilities. And it’s hard to find an outlet for charging.
- Be polite & friendly! Not only does it show you are a professional, but it just makes for a better experience overall.
- Make friends with fellow bloggers … it’s more fun to wander around with a group, then solo.
- You can sleep when you get home. While at BEA, drink lots of coffee! :)
Here’s a few more of my photos from NYC:
And as a bonus, here’s a “highlights” video from How To Succeed: