Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending BEA (Book Expo America) for the third time. It’s been four years since my previous trip to BEA, and this year, the conference moved to Chicago. Although BEA will be back in NYC next year for a variety of reasons — and part of me was sad not to return to New York this year — I was excited to experience BEA in Chicago this year. For one, I’d never been to Chicago before, so I got to explore a new city. And because of the logistics and expenses involved for the publishers, the overall feel of the conference was much more subdued than usual — something I actually really enjoyed! Also, it was really convenient to be staying at the convention center hotel — which was connected to McCormick Place via sky bridge. It was oh-so-easy to get to and from BEA, and it made popping back to my room for food/naps/etc. really easy and convenient.
One of the BEST parts of my BEA experience this year, was getting to share a hotel room with three amazing ladies: Katie from Mundie Moms, Amber from Me, Myshelf & I, and Heidi from YA Bibliophile. I also got to spend a good amount of time visiting with Emily from Emily’s Reading Room, who is one of the first bloggers I met and connected with during my FIRST trip to BEA in 2011, as well as some other blogger buddies. AND I got to meet a lot of great new folks, including some budding new bloggers who chatted with me during the round table discussion I hosted at Book Blogger Con about creative content. (If that includes you: HI!!!!)
I didn’t have a ton of time for sight-seeing during BEA, but we did manage to squeeze in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field one night.
Katie and I also walked around the city for a few hours on our last day in Chicago, exploring Buckingham Fountain, the Lake Michigan waterfront, the Bean in Millenium Park, and up to the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). We decided not to go to the top of the tower, since the line was SO long and we were running short on time.But before I headed back to the airport for my return flight, I squeezed in a water tour that covered all three branches of the Chicago River and offered some amazing views of the city!
During BEA, I got to see some of my favorite authors again and visit with a lot of the folks I work with at various publishers.
And I FINALLY met the lovely Elizabeth Eulberg in person! We’ve been working together promoting her books here on Novel Novice for over six years! Elizabeth’s debut novel The Lonely Hearts Club was one of our FIRST book of the month features.
My friends at Bloomsbury, Fierce Reads, and Big Honcho Media also hosted some great parties one evening. I don’t have a ton of photos from the parties, but we were adequately wined & dined & booked.
The whole trip was a blast, and while I was happy to get home to my husband and my house and my city, I have been missing the people I got to spend time with in Chicago. It’s too bad travel by Floo Network isn’t a real thing, ya know?
Anyway. That’s a recap of my BEA experience. I’ll have some posts next week highlighting the BOOKS themselves that I picked up and am excited to read, as well as a round-up of the coolest swag and the best tote bags.