Greetings fellow booklovers, bookworms, and booknerds of all types!
It is with great joy, and exuberant excitement that we enter into BEA (Bookexpo America) planning mode. Truthfully, I have been religiously checking my email for the announcement of the BEA registration being finally opened since mid December 2014 (Yes…I know…a bit crazy, but I am sure I am not the only book-nut out there). When the announcement finally came that registration was open, it was like the clouds parted, and the angels sang from heaven. The only thing that matched that, was actually registering, and receiving my badge number and official confirmation. My co-blogger and I just ordered our new shiny business cards last week, and this past Friday, a partial list for the authors who will be autographing went live on the BEA site. Naturally, the planning and spreadsheet making commenced. Until the full list is up, it’s really hard to truly prioritize and be selective but so far it’s already looks a bit insane. Other fellow bloggers are doing posts about getting “BEA-ready” so I figured I would chime in with my tips on prepping and getting ready. Hopefully it will help out those new to BEA, or give a helpful reminder to those that are “veterans”. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Part 1: Prepping
1- Join the BEA group on GoodReads
This group is FANTASTIC! I have learned valuable information on galleys/book drops, events outside BEA or after BEA hours (signings, meet-ups, parties) as well as in-booth signing info, major ARCs to covet and hope for, and made lots of new blogger friends.
2-Spreadsheets ARE your friends
Once the author signings become available, start planning out your day. Here is where a spreadsheet with half hour slots becomes very helpful (along with a column for book, author, publisher, table or booth number etc). Write everything down that you might be interested in trying to get, even if it seems impossible. The do a column for MUST have, Want, Might Want, etc…you never know how fast you might get through a signing. You might find you have enough time to run all the way across the showroom floor and still make it to a galley drop (stranger things have happened). Also, sometimes there are only a certain number of books left, and you might miss the cutoff point, so it’s always good to have options for unexpected changes, or when you have extra time. I personally like color-coding mine, and have a section for notes (in case there will be another signing, or a book drop on another time or day). Sometimes there will be 3 MUST all in the same half hour…that is when you start prioritizing what is most important to you….meeting the author, the actual book, or what you want to read the most.
3- Research the books, authors and publishers
Learn about the books, authors and publishers that will be at BEA. This will be helpful as you plan what books you want to try for, what signings you want to make, and which booths you want to visit. It will also give you a little information about the book/author/publisher so that you might have something to break the ice with if you are shy, or something to talk about with people you are waiting in line with. There is never such a thing as too much information.
4- Stalk Twitter, Facebook, and other social media
Get the early scope on galley drops, giveaways and other helpful info. Sometimes an author might be doing a signing on two different days, or in two different areas at different times, or the publisher might do a book drop later in the day. This gives you the opportunity to get the book in case you missed the signing at the autographing area. It might also be helpful to start a list on Twitter of all the authors and publishers you want to keep tracks of while at BEA (just in case they tweet anything last minute about a book drop, or signing).
5- Book the Hotel EARLY-
The BEA hotel site offers somewhat decent prices on hotels that they have blocked out rooms for attendees and exhibitors and you don’t have to pay when you book. Most also let you cancel up to 30 days before with no fee (in case you find something better). It’s best top book your hotel early, because the more affordable places will go fast. Most of the BEA hotels also have shuttles that will pick up and drop-off near your hotel area…(very helpful at the end of the day when taxis are harder to get). If you are coming to stay longer than 2-3 days, you might want to consider renting a room for a week. There are often sites that offer this like AirBNB.com.
6- The Buddy system
Persuade a friend to come along, or maybe plan to meet other bloggers you chat with online. Having a buddy or buddies with you will make life a bit easier. This is especially if you are stuck in a line for over an hour and need to use the restroom. Also if you are going to share a room with them, it will keep the hotel bill lower. Plus its lots more fun having friends to chat with in line with, plan with, and have fun around NYC with.
7- Learn the floor layout
It doesn’t hurt to get a general idea of where booths are. This year they moved the autographing area all the way to the opposite end of where all the major booths are. So it will be interesting to see how it will all turn out, the main thing is to have fun. 🙂
Will you be attending #BEA15? I would love to know!
Click here for Part 2 – BEA What to Expect