BEA, it's like the pinnacle of the book convention world; when I found out I was going to be able to attend I basically went straight into panic mode. What had I gotten myself into, I hadn't (in terms of other bloggers, still haven't) been blogging long, I had images of 'Running of the Brides' going through my head.
I just knew I was going to get taken out when I was headed for the first book, it was clear I had no idea what I was getting myself into. So that said here are:
10 things I learned from BEA
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan some more
Seriously, ask questions, ask all the questions, ask them before the day before you leave (i.e. shorts are not appropriate BEA wear, lol.), ask people who have gone before you! It's overwhelming, it's huge, and no matter what you can not do it all so plan things out. Follow your favorite authors, find out where they will be and the times they will be there. Use the BEA app, look at publishers websites, ask fellow bloggers. I had a plan (a spread sheet) created before I left and I changed it every morning and after I got back to the hotel late at night, so make your plans, but don't let them rule you. You need a guideline, you need to know what you want most because you can't get it all, but don't be upset when you have to make changes.
This is me changing it all up at midnight
2. I don't just have a book problem, I have a totes problem too
Seriously, who knew!
3. Take a deep breath and then take another, and another, and another.
So Yeah, it's not like a mosh pit or the running of the brides, but it is busy and it is crazy at times. People will nudge you out of the way, they will stick their arm in front of you trying to get to the same book you are, they will cut the line. But you know what, it isn't going to help anything by being that person, don't bite some one and start the zombie apocalypse (yeah, some lady actually did that a past year...well not the apocalypse part, cause that would have just been too cool.), don't get mean and nasty. I can't say that you will get ever book you want (I know I didn't) but think about all the ones you do get, think about all you are going to have to read when you get home, that one book, it isn't going to change things. It will come out eventually and you'll get to read it. It's like I tell my girls: You get what you get and you don't make a fit! I know how much you paid to be there (boy do I), I know how much you may have wanted that book early, but is it really worth being the mean girl over it? And remember MAKE YOUR PLANS Know what is most important to you before you go in!
4. Treat your water like it is the last bottle on earth!
Let me just put it this way:
The lines are long everywhere, you're schedule is going to be packed, go before you get there, that's all I am saying!
5. Bring snacks, but basically don't plan to eat for 3 days
See Item 4 for explanation. Pack easily eaten snacks in your tote: granola bars, protien bars, trail mix, crackers. Of course I had all that, but I still managed to eat only one meal a day, dinner. And yet somehow I managed to put on weight....go figure.
You will hear and see this advice every where, but if there is one piece that you need to remember and remember well: Shoes matter. Make them comfy, be sure you have worn them before and you know you can walk, skip (don't run ladies) speed walk, and stand in them for hours. If you can get them to match your clothing (remember business casual, no shorts!) all the better, but comfort comes first!
7. Take a rolling bag and store it at the convention.
It's three dollars a day and you are going to want it. Don't be that person dragging their tote on the ground behind them. First, it gets in the way of everyone walking around you and second, really you do just look like a jerk. Now, I admit finding the time (See #4) to get down to it can be a challenge, but you will have spare moments (because you aren't waiting to pee and eat!) to run down there and drop off books and you are going to want to. I don't care how strong you are, lugging 4 totes full of books around for 6 or more hours is going to break you!
8. Know which books are your priority!
I know I have already said this, but I can't say it enough. You need to know before you go what is the most important to you. You can not, try as you might, get all the books, know what you really want and make plans to be in those lines early. Know what publisher they are from, know where they are in the building and get to them fast. You may have to line up an hour ahead of time (heck I waited 2 hours for one book that was a MUST HAVE because I knew it was going to be a long line) and make sure if it is a ticketed book that you get that ticket, don't wait in line expecting to get one if you don't have a ticket.
These were my priorities
9. Get there early!
People start lining up at 0700 and you want to have time to plan with your friends, (trust me on this) the morning of. Get there early, get a spot in line and then go take turns checking your bag, getting coffee (really you don't want to: See #4, but if you must...oh and according to Maureen Johnson the coffee, even at the Starbucks, in the Javits center is blech!), going to the bathroom. And get there especially early on BookCon day, as people started lining up at 0530 this year.
The line for BEA/BookCon (Saturday)
10. Make Friends and Laugh!
Yes the books were awesome, yes the authors made me fan-girl, yes being in NY was cool (although I didn't actually see much of it), but meeting up with people I was already friends with, meeting some of my blogging heros, and making new friends that was the very( I hear you N.H. Kleinbaum, I know the use of the word very is lazy, but pttthhhwwww) best part of it all! I met some amazing people who had me laughing through out the day. We plotted and schemed together, we helped each other out, we held lines, we got books that others couldn't get because they had to be some where else, we talked family, blogging, BEA, and everything in between. Stick your neck out a little and say hello to the person next to you in line, you never know what that one word can change! These ladies down here and a few more that weren't in the pictures, they rocked my BEA and I am beyond blessed to know them. So if nothing else, if it all falls apart and that one book that you wanted more than any other book falls through your hands, don't get upset, don't look at your adventure as having been all for naught, look around you, look at the people next to you, hand them your card, stick out your hand, give them a smile and say hello because in the end that really is the VERY best part!