Hey everyone!! It took me a few days, but I’m FINALLY writing this post! For those of you who don’t know, BEA (Book Expo America) was held in New York City at the Javits Center, May 28-31, 2014. Hundreds of authors, publishers, publicists, editors, agents, bloggers, librarians, etc, were all hanging out and fangirling/fanboying over books.
This year was my first ever BEA and I’m beyond thrilled that I was able to finally experience it! The only reason I was able to attend was because my awesome blogger friend, Julie from Bloggers[Heart]Books, allowed me to crash at her apartment all week/weekend. So I want to send an epically huge shout-out to her for helping make BEA 2014 a reality for me!
So, I’m going to break this down into day, then talk about my favorite moments and the things I want to work on for next year. At the very end of this post, I’ll have my haul video – Which, I know there’s a LOT of controversy this year over BEA ARCs and those who went to BEA and grabbed ALL THE ARCs. But.. I asked people on Twitter and did an unofficial poll. The majority of people said they really wanted a recap, book pictures (which I posted on Twitter) AND a haul video. So, you guys asked for it! :)
Fair warning: Most of my pictures for BloggerCon came out blurry. UGH. And I didn’t take enough pictures in general, either :(
Anyway, let’s get to it!
I woke up epically early on Wednesday.. Yes, 6am, for me, is epically early. The worst part was I went to bed at 4:30am… Yep. I only got 1.5 hours of sleep. So I was lucky that my neighbor, who works near the Javits, was willing to drive me in to NYC (I live an hour outside, in case you’re curious) – I didn’t have to worry about public transportation with all my luggage. So if you saw me Wednesday and I looked like a zombie, you now know why!
Anyway, I got to the Javits at 8:30am, checked in and made my way down to the room BloggerCon was being held in. It was a huge room with a LOT of people and I was a bit terrified (Remember that time I told you how socially awkward I was?) As I scanned the room for anyone I knew, I was VERY tempted to sit at an empty table. But the table directly in front of me only had one person and I was determined to be social. It turned out the person at the table was Thea from The Book Smugglers . We had a really great time chatting while she finished prepping for a panel she was moderating later in the morning.
The Keynote address was given by YA author Maureen Johnson. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you need to! She’s even more hilarious in person! I didn’t take notes during the keynote, but she (obviously) discussed books, bloggers and the impact bloggers have had on publishing and how much she values what bloggers do. She also shamelessly showed off a picture of her adorabe puppy, Zelda. She informed us that the coffee in the Javits Center was awful and then she did a small strip-tease.. So yeah, just your run-of-the-mill keynote address! Overall, her speech was amazing and the keynote address was probably my favorite part of BookCon.
The first panel I went to was Design 101: Creating a Picture Perfect Blog. The speakers for this panel were Ashley from Nose Graze and Jeremy from Jeremy West Design. I adore Ashley – she’s amazing and patient, despite my nine million emails and DMs, begging her for help! She’s very knowledgeable when it comes to design and I found myself taking a TON of notes. After the panel, I was too nervous to introduce myself (shy, remember?) but got lucky when Ashley walked down the aisle and ended up sitting behind me. I was able to say hello and thank her in person for all her help.
The next panel was Software 101: Best Blogging Tools. This panel was moderated by Thea and included Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Stephanie from Cuddlebuggery and Becca from Mad Mimi. This was another interesting panel and I took a lot of notes. But the best part came at the end of the panel, when I went up to introduce myself to Steph. While I was waiting, Kat (Also from Cuddlebuggery) popped in and I started chatting with her. I completely fangirled and told her how much I adore Cuddlebuggery, their hilarious posts and videos and their epic Twitter Presence. When Steph finally walked over, Kat asked her if they could bring me home with them, hehe :) I back-tracked and told Steph everything I told Kat and we ended up in a giant group hug. It was pretty epic!
After a quick lunch, in which I got to hang out with Keri from Quill Cafe, who I’ve met several times before, (We also sat together during most of the morning panels), I headed to a panel called Beyond the Blog: Introduce Yourself to Vlogging and Podcasting. This was moderated by Pam Margolis at An Unconventional Librarian and the panelists included Christine Riccio from PolandbananasBOOKS, Kat O’Keeffe from Katytastic and Josh Christie from Bookrageous. Honestly, the only vlogging I do is when I do my Stacking the Shelves book haul videos. So I’m terrible at it. For that reason, I found this panel fascinating. I’m always trying to figure out how to do a better job and they had some great tips. But my favorite part of the panel was at the end, when I walked up t say hi to Kat and Christine. Honestly, I had never heard of Christine or her channel before, though she seemed really nice and I definitely want to check out her channel now. But Kat is the only vlogger that I follower on a regular basis. I love her videos and it was so epic getting to meet her!
The last panel of the day that I attended was The Publishing Process: How Bloggers Have Changed the Game. This panel included Merrilee Heifetz (Senior Vice President, Writer’s House Literary Agency), Emily Meehan (Editorial Director, Hyperion Teen), Alexandra Bracken (Author of The Darkest Minds), Christine Riccio (Vlogger, Poland Bananas BOOKS) and Andrew Sansone (Online Marketing Manager, Disney Publishing). Now… There was a LOT of controversy over this panel. For one, they did not have a blogger on the panel, despite the panel being named How Bloggers Have Changed the Game. Instead, they had a vlogger, Christine. Then, instead of really chatting about blogging OR vlogging and its effect on publishing, they basically chatted about Christine and her epicness and how she loved The Darkest Minds from very early on.
Okay… So far, I’ve stayed silent on Twitter regarding this panel. Everyone has pretty much crucified the panel and panelists on Twitter and I didn’t want to be involved in that drama. But I will say this. While I can completely understand why everyone (bloggers especially) were upset and offended, I also feel the whole thing got out of hand. Yes, I was a bit offended. But I never got the impression that the panelists were trying to be offensive on purpose. They weren’t intentionally putting bloggers down. They can’t talk about what they don’t know and they didn’t know, first-hand, about blogging. Christine is a vlogger. She has never been a blogger and couldn’t discuss what being a blogger was. I think the BEA folks messed up the description and panel name and it’s not really fair to take that out on the panelists. I still enjoyed the panel, despite the handful of offensive comments.
There, I said it. If you want to attack me for my opinion, the line forms over to the right, near the yellow tape. Please don’t start lining up until ten minutes before you want to start the attack (And if you went to BEA, you’ll find that last sentence hilarious – since it’s all we heard every day).
After all the panels, there was an awesome after party, where Tiger Beat (Libba Bray’s band) performed. Sadly, I only got to spend about 15 minutes there before I had to run off for Teen Author Carnival. Before I left the party, I snagged some really epic ARCs/Books they were giving away, then I hurried off to meet Kelly from Effortlessly Reading and Jon from Scott Reads It and we walked to Teen Author Carnival together.
Teen Author Carnival had over twenty (I believe) epic YA authors. There were about four different panels (two of which I attended) and some fun and games. They did Book jeopardy with Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia (Authors of Beautiful Creatures) and gave away gorgeous tote bags filled with (what else?) books! Some were finished copies and some were ARCs. After that, all the authors signed their books for eager readers.
One of the highlights of Teen Author Carnival? I finally met Hafsah from Icey Books!! It was very brief but it was still great! (And I got to see her again the next day at the Harlequin Breakfast).
During the signing portion of the night, I stood off to the side, waiting for Julie (who was volunteering). While waiting, I FINALLY met the amazing Dahlia Adler, who I adore and who recognized me from Twitter! She’s just as sweet in person as she is on Twitter and it was awesome finally getting to meet her!
Thursday morning, Julie and I got up bright and early for the Harlequin Teen Breakfast. We arrived just in time and grabbed seats – which had pretty tote bags filled with books from the authors attending the breakfast. This was such a fun event for me! We munched on some food, did a round robin with the Harlequin editors, publicists and authors and got our books signed by them. The round robin was definitely the best part! Getting that one-on-one time to ask questions was really incredible! It was one of my favorite moments of BEA 2014!
Thursday was also the first official day of BEA and, therefore, the first say I was on the trade show floor. The first thing I tried to do was get on the signing line for Lauren Oliver, who was signing ARCs of Rooms. Unfortunately, I got lost finding the autographing area and it took me twenty minutes to figure out where I had to be. I was already late, having left the Harlequin breakfast around 9:05 a.m., so by the time I got on line for Lauren Oliver, I was too late. After about twenty minutes, they cut us off and told us they had run out of ARCs.
I was going to try for Landline by Rainbow Rowell next, but the line was huge and there weren’t many ARCs, so I just wandered around for a bit, which was fun. Wandering around aimlessly ended up scoring me a spot in R.L. Stine’s signing line. Guys, I’ve been reading his books since I was, like, six or seven. I ADORE his books! So I fangirled a lot. I told him meeting him was a childhood dream come true and he told me not to say that because it would make him cry! And, at the insistence of his team, I got a picture with him!!!
My most anticipated signing at BEA was Melissa Marr, who was signing ARCs of her new book, Made For You. I adore Melissa Marr to pieces! Wicked Lovely, Carnival of Souls, Graveminder.. The list goes on! So this was my absolute HIGHEST PRIORITY at BEA. I got on her line extra early, waited patiently and then fangirled when I finally met her! Melissa is so, SO nice in person and I’m STILL petting Made For You!
After that, I stopped at the Spencer Hill Press booth and met a BUNCH of my co-workers and the SHP/SHC authors. It was also the end of one of their signings, so I snagged ARCs from Elizabeth Langston and Jennifer Murgia.
Soon after that, I had to line up for Melissa de la Cruz’s signing – another high priority one for me! She was signing The Ring and The Crown, which I own already, so I brought my copy from home with me. I’ve never met Melissa de la Cruz before and I was DYING to, since I’m such a huge Blue Bloods and Witches of East End fan! Her publicist was shocked that I had brought my own book and even said it was the “sign of a true fan” that I brought it from home. That made me fangirl a bit! Melissa is adorable in person and she was so excited when I told her what a big fan I am!
After Melissa’s signing, I went back to the Spencer Hill booth to put my stuff down and crash for a bit. As luck would have it, I arrived just in time to grab signed copies of Kelly Hashway’s new book and Lisa Amowitz’s new book. I’ve met Lisa several times and adore her, so it was awesome being able to see her again!
At some point in all that chaos, I got in two Harper Teen galley drop lines and snagged a bunch of awesome titles – including one of my most anticipated books, Falling into Place by Amy Zhang.
Thursday after BEA, I had a Spencer Hill Press dinner where I got to chat with co-workers and authors alike. We ate at Dallas BBQ on 42nd between 7th and 8th and it was really yummy! After such a long day, it was nice to sit down and chat with friends!
Before I move on, I want to send a huge shout-out to Stacie at A Wonderland of Reading! Stacie acted as my eyes and ears at BEA. She DM’d me every time a publisher tweeted about a signing or a galley drop. Thanks to her, I snagged AT LEAST two ARCs I would have missed out on AND I was able to cross one or two things off my list that I realized weren’t worth attempting (So many things overlapped, I had to prioritize. Example: When I found out Marie Lu was only giving out chapter samplers of The Young Elites, I skipped her line to go on another). So, THANK YOU SO MUCH STACIE! YOU ROCK!
Friday was pretty insane! Originally, I had promised a friend I’d try to get her Heir of Fire, but people were lining up TWO HOURS EARLY and I had three things I really wanted to do in that time period. So I took a huge risk and started out by following my schedule. First up, I finally met the amazing, adorable, wonderful A.G. Howard! She was signing copies of Unhinged and they were giving away posters of Ensnared! She recognized me from Twitter, which had me fangirling. We chatted a bit about Morpheus *Swoons* and how pretty the Ensnared cover is! A random person in line agreed to take pictures of us for me! Anita wasn’t prepared at first, so I have one where she’s making a pretty hilarious face at the camera. She made me promise I wouldn’t blackmail her with it! (But she never said I had to delete it.. Muahaha! Love you, Anita!)
After that, I ran to the Spencer Hill Press booth, where the epic Danielle Ellison was signing copies of her debut, Follow Me Through Darkness. The line was insane and I was lucky to snag a ticket! (Yep, no special treatment! I had to get a ticket and stand in line!). Danielle is so awesome, it was great finally meeting her! But it was especially exciting since she was signing her ARCs for the very first time! I also met Megan Whitmer, author of Between, for the first time in person!
After that, I slowly made my way to the Heir of Fire line. I was a bit terrified, but it was about 11:30 and I figured the line would be moving along at that point. So wrong! It was still epically huge and I stood on line for over an hour! But I finally got Heir of Fire and was able to surprise my friend by texting her a picture of the book! Since she assumed I wasn’t getting it, she pretty much flipped out. It was awesome and Sarah J. Maas is so, so sweet!
After that, I kind of just wandered around for a bit. I didn’t really have anything else until three and my feet were HATING me. So I found a table, got a soda and just sat for a while. A few random people joined me and I struck up converations with them. Two really nice women even watched my stuff while I ran for a tote bag line (Yes, I waited in line for a tote bag because it was an EPIC tote bag!)
Unfortunately, relaxing meant I missed out on Megan Whitmer’s signing at Spencer Hill. But I won a pre-order of her book, so I didn’t want to take an ARC from someone who desperately wanted it, anyway. I also missed the unveiling of the cover for Deadly Sweet Lies, the second book in Erica Cameron’s series (book one was Sing Sweet Nightingale). But I saw it the next time I stopped by the table and it was GORGEOUS!
At about 2:30, I made my way back to Spencer Hill (I hung out there a LOT). For those who don’t know, I’m a publicist with them. One of my authors, Kelsey Macke, was going to be signing her debut novel, Damsel Distressed, for the FIRST TIME EVER, so you know I high-tailed it over there! Also signing at that time were Dahlia Adler and Rachel Harris. I grabbed my tickets for Kelsey and Dahlia (Again, no special treatment, even with my own author!) and then ran for Rachel’s line first. I had met Rachel a few hours earlier and, once again, I fangirled! I’ve read all her books and I adore her, so it was epic finally meeting her in person! Once I got my copy of The Fine Art of Pretending, I ran back to Kelsey and Dahlia and waited until they were done, but then picked up copies of their books and got them signed. This was also the first time I’ve met Kelsey in real life, so there was a LOT of hugging and squealing!
After that, I was pretty much done with BEA. I had originally planned to attend Saturday, but I was exhausted and achey and I had more than enough books to bring home with me! So I called my neighbor (we commuted home together) and while I waited, I ran into Erica Cameron! It was the first time meeting in person, so again, all the epicness!
After that, I made my way downstairs, grabbed my bags and headed home!
And there you have it! I’m sure I forgot some things, but that was the basic gist of it! Overall, I had an epic, epic time and even though it was exhausting and my feet still hate me, I enjoyed every single second of it!
Bloggers I met (And didn’t mention above)
Aly from My Heart Hearts Books
April from Good Books and Good Wine
Betty from Book Rock Betty
Cassi from My Thoughts Literally
Jessica from Lovin Los Libros
Kate from Midnight Book Girl
Kate Tilton, author assistant and owner of #k8chat (Thursdays at 9pm EST on Twitter)
Kelly from Have Book Will Read
Nikki from There Were Books Involved
Octavia from Read, Sleep, Repeat
(If I missed anyone, my deepest apologies! Come slap me and remind me to add you to the list!)
Highlights & Favorite Moments
-> Meeting R.L Stine, Melissa Marr and Melissa de la Cruz! Three of my absolute favorite authors, all in one day! Cue the fangirling!
-> Meeting A.G. Howard! Epic, epic, epic! Splintered and Unhinged are two of my favorite books! Anita is awesome and I love chatting with her on Twitter, so meeting her in person was ridiculously awesome!
-> Finally meeting my Spencer Hill Press family!! Seriously, I’ve been working with these wonderful people since mid-January and (with the exception of Brooke, Damaris and Lisa), this was the first time I’ve ever met any of them in real life! Video chats do NOT do them justice! Shout-outs to Cindy, Jenn AP, Vikki, Kelsey, Dahlia, Megan, Erica, Kate, Jessica, Trisha, Patricia, Danielle – Loved meeting all of you! (And so sorry if I missed anyone!).
-> All the epic bloggers I met! It’s one thing to chat with all of you online, it’s another to finally meet you all in person!
-> All the additional events I went to (Teen Author Carnival and Harlequin Teen breakfast). These were so fun! And I met some wonderful people and got some amazing books!
Things I Need to Do Next Time (BEA 2015)
-> Pictures!! I need to take more pictures! Especially pictures with friends and authors! I got the one with Anita and the one with R.L. Stine. And Amalie Howard took a selfie of us! But I didn’t get pictures with anyone else. This is my NUMBER ONE REGRET OF BEA 2014. It was busy and hectic, yes. And I often ran into people while in lines or while running to lines. But still. I met so many epic people, I wish I had the pictures to document it!
-> Talk to the publishing people running the booths! It was so hectic, running from line to line, that I really didn’t stop to just chat with the editors and publicists at the publisher booths. I wanted to. I tried to a few times. But I didn’t try hard enough. So next year, I really want to work on this!
-> Meet more people! I can’t count the number of people I missed out on seeing! I found out I was in the SAME ROOM as Kelly Simmon from Inkslinger PR (at Teen Author Carnival) and I still missed getting to say hello! I also failed to see Ksenia from Macmillan. I missed a BUNCH of blogger friends. It’s really hard to find a good time to meet up with everyone, but I definitely need to try harder next year. It’s so rare that we’re all in the same place together like that, especially with so many bloggers living across the country. It’s an opportunity I don’t want to miss out on again!
-> Shyness. I worked really hard on this, actually. I tried to speak up and say hello to people and such. But I definitely missed out on saying hello to certain bloggers because I was too nervous to speak up. I was thisclose to about four bloggers that I really wanted to introduce myself to and I chickened out. Sigh.
And yes, that does mean I’m going to try REALLY HARD to attend BEA 2015. I’ve heard some weirds things, though, so we’ll see how it goes. But I would definitely hate for this to be my first and last BEA! I doubt I’ll be able to get to Chicago in 2016 (though never say never!), so the goal right now is DEFINITELY to attempt BEA 2015!
And now, BEA Book Haul Video! Heads up, I usually write out all the titles and authors and link to Goodreads, but… I have over 30 books to share with you, so I’m not going to do that because it would take me forever. Instead, if you have a question about a specific book, you can leave a comment and I’ll provide more info! Hope that’s okay with you guys! :)
Okay, here we go… Enjoy!