Today marked the start of Book Expo America, otherwise known as librarian/bookworm/blogger heaven. It was so heavenly, in fact, that I entirely forgot to eat lunch. There were just so many distractions!
I woke up this morning and headed to the Javits Center, where I saw for the first time the controlled chaos of BEA. There are so many people, and so many books! I ended up coming back to the hotel with around thirty books, and it’s only the first day. All of them look so good! The highlight of my day was meeting Debra Dean. She seems like a really cool author, and I can’t wait to read her new novel entitled “The Mirrored World.”
I also got a kick out of the Scientologists who were dressed as pirates. Actually, I’m not sure that they were Scientologists, but I’m assuming so because that publisher, Galaxy Press, is working entirely on re-printing L. Ron Hubbard’s old pulp sci-fi stories. I’m rather curious to read one of his books just to see what they’re like. The Scientology Pirates reminded me of Locke in RSURS, and it was a cheerful way to start the morning.
Some things I learned today…
#1 – All of the guides to Book Expo America that I’ve read on the internet begin with “Wear comfy shoes,” often in all caps and with lots of exclamation points. My shoes were pretty comfy, but apparently not comfy enough. By the time I got back to the hotel, the blisters had manifested themselves and I awkwardly limped my way over to a hole-in-the-wall sushi joint for dinner, which involved copious amounts of green tea and a glass of plum wine. I then had to make the requisite “Shit I need flip flops so I can walk tomorrow” trip to CVS.
#2 – NYC has ten times as many cabs as it needs, but none of them will actually stop for you. When you’re carrying your body weight in books, this can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it starts to rain and you realize that your umbrella is back at the hotel. No wonder New Yorkers are stereotypically angry.
#3 – It’s best to take your own bag to BEA. Exhibitors will give you bags, but bag check charges per item, so a giant duffel bag (or rolling suitcase, ideally) would be more economical.
#4 – Many of the publishers rotate ARC giveaways and signings every hour or two, so it’s a good idea to swing by at multiple points throughout the day. The Macmillan booth is particularly nice.
#5 – The lines for a book signing from a popular author are longer than Soviet-era breadlines. And yes, I did get a signed copy of the next Deborah Harkness novel.
#6 – Do not expect consistent (or existent) cell phone service in the Javits Center.
#7 – Everyone attending the conference got their business cards from Vistaprint. Great minds think alike! Also, I should probably get a nicer case for my business cards than the box that they came in for next year.
#8 – My BEA Roommate is not a zombie or an axe murderer. Whew!