105 Ways to Give a Book

BookExpo America: Attack of the Authors

I’m back from BookExpo America and oh, so weary. I’ll take you through the experience for those who want to know what it was like. For those who just want the highlights, I’ll be doing a separate post that will also list the books that I have for prizes for the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

I took the bus from Washington, DC, and highly recommend it for anyone who wants a decent but economical trip between the cities. It was a four-hour ride, with one fifteen-minute rest and food stop. I had two seats in which to stretch out and doze off. I arrived in NYC around 1:00 p.m., walked to the Javits Center, and checked my luggage there. I headed directly to the children’s books and autographing area.

Now, something I didn’t know about BEA is that the books are free. At ALA, the published books are usually about ten bucks. But here, both the ARCs and the hardcover books could be signed for no charge. Love this! My books are being shipped, so I can’t confirm, but I’m pretty sure that on Friday I got books signed by Bruce Lansky, Craig Hatkoff, Meg Cabot, David Klass, Nick Bruel, Brandon Mull, Darryl Hagar, Mary Amato, Silas House, John Rocco, Don Calame, and Shannon Hale.

Most of these books I had signed to give as prizes for the 48 Hour Book Challenge, so I asked the authors to sign to “You’re a Winner!” Many of them looked at me as if to question my personal self-esteem issues, but that just gave me the chance to explain about the 48HBC and my blog. I also came up with the brilliant idea — if I do say so myself — of having them sign a T-shirt that I’d made to promote KidLitosphere Central. All of the authors were happy to sign the back of the shirt (I wasn’t wearing it), I got to talk about KidLitosphere Central, and I got my own signature to keep since I was giving away the books. Perfect.

There were many authors that I wanted to see at their signings, but the lines were so long that I had to be economical with my time. Also, there were a lot of conflicts within the schedule, making it that much harder. I would have loved to see Gordon Korman, David Lubar, Katherine Paterson, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, John Agee, Amy Hest, and Rosemary Wells. I also missed Suzanne Collins, but I got the ARC of Catching Fire anyway.

Along with the autographing tables, I was checking out the displays of the children’s publishers. I talked to a few reps, ran into a few peeps, and took a few ARCs. The ARCs were slim pickings, but I hadn’t been planning on a big haul anyway since I’d have to pay to ship them home. Walking around by Scholastic, I saw Laini Taylor by her pink hair, and talked with her, Jim Di Bartolo, Barry Lyga (who had tried to escape from me earlier — Hah!) and Arthur Levine.

I ran into Trish of Hey, Lady! (I recognized her red hair. Distinct hair is very helpful at BEA.) We chatted, and then met up again at the Bloggers Booth sponsored by NetGalley, where I saw Amy of My Friend Amy and Julie of Booking Mama.

Then I hit the wall. Went to my hotel, where I ended up walking in at the same time as Barry Lyga. And he thought he could escape me. Hah! He was on the phone at that moment with Robin Brande, so I said hi (I owe you a call, Robin!). I checked into the hotel, and took a much-needed nap.

On the way to Kid Lit Drink Night, I grabbed food from the street vendors and ate on the way. Barry was already there and we talked for a while before it got too loud and crowded. I saw Betsy Bird immediately, wearing a lovely sundress — the only one dressed appropriately for the tropical temperature of the bar — but as the hostess she was too busy for long chats. She brought me over to me two bloggers Pink Me and Pinot and Prose. I said hello, turned around to grab a drink before settling in for a chat, turned back, and they were gone. So it’s possible that upon meeting me, they decided to make a run for it or they think that I blew them off. I don’t know which is worse. Sheila Ruth from Wands and Worlds and Terry from Reading Tub also made the party, but I’m pretty sure that I was nice to them.

I also got some talking time with authors Erica Perl, Rebecca Stead, Michelle Knudsen, Ellen Jensen Abbott, Bonnie Wayne, Melanie Hope Greenberg, Kekla Magoon, Dawn Stephens (whose signing I was too late for, sorry!), Aileen Leijten, Fran Cannon Slayton, Julia DeVillers, Ann Haywood Leal, and Megan Crewe. Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein and I spent a few minutes on the bar stools chatting about picture books, the industry, and hair products. (Her hair is so shiny!)

Bloggers Natasha Maw, Amy, and Trish came over from the BEAtweetup party. Author/Illustrators Brian Floca and Eric Wight came from the ABA Not-A-Dinner party. Eric and I had emailed about his new book, so it was great to meet in person. Especially as he was such an interesting person. We also shared Jeff Kinney stories. Brian told me a little about his new book Moonshot, but was more interested in chilling out than networking.

The party died down around midnight, and I walked home, picking up a black-and-white cookie on the way. I spent most of the walk kicking myself for not bringing my camera, so if anyone has any pictures of the Kid Lit Drink Night to share, let me know. I’d be ever grateful for some record of the day and/or night.

Later: Geektastic and Being Mouthy


Laura Lutz said...

I'm so sorry I had to shake hands and run! You should in no way take it personally - it was so fantastic to meet you! And then I saw you across a crowded room at Little Brown's bowling event on Saturday, right? I wanted to talk with you some more...but I was engrossed in trying to beat Scott Westerfeld at bowling! ;-)

Melissa said...

Almost like being there... thanks!

Jen Robinson said...

The t-shirt idea was brilliant! Perhaps you can wear it to the conference, and we can all admire...

adrienne said...

I didn't know the books were free the first time I went to BEA, either. For the first couple hours, I was all like, "Free? Really? You're just giving this to me? Are you sure?" It's a wonderful revelation. Glad you had such a good experience! I pinky-swore to a couple friends that I'd go next year, so that's On the Calendar.

Mary Lee said...

Do you think you could drop just a FEW more names in one post?!?!? :-) Holy cow! Sounds like more fun than a person should be allowed to have! And FREE!!! Wowser! Can't wait to see the t-shirt!!!

MotherReader said...

Mary Lee, actually I can drop more names. Look at the second post.

Adrienne, I kept doubting the free books - but they kept giving 'em. I'm already planning my trip back. I'll pinky-swear too.

Jen, so many people saw the T-shirt thing and were saying what a good idea it was. They may make a rule about it next year after me. oops.

Melissa, that's what I was going for - a complete feeling of going. I know when I hear about different events, I want to know what it's really like.

Laura, we did get a few minutes to talk around bowling, but next time we're sitting down for a chat. (I would have been pretty engrossed in a bowling match with Scott Westerfeld too if I had any chance of not making a fool of myself.)

franslayton said...

You had more stamina than I did - I turned in around 11:00 I think! Great to meet you in person!

JuliaDeVillers said...

And it was so great meeting you!!!! Julia DeVillers

Aileen Leijten said...

It was nice chatting with you at the KidLit drink.
Reading your blog is like reliving the week-end.

Fuse #8 said...

Yes, my apologies as well for not speaking to you at further length. I kept getting doggone distracted, which is probably the sign of a good party. That's one way of looking at it. Either that or I'm a human magpie always going for the shiny shiny. I'll see you again soon!

Terry Doherty said...

Yes, Pam, you were most kind and I really enjoyed our chat! Had I arrived solo I would definitely have stayed longer, grabbed another brew, and chatted some more.

Had to laugh about MotherReader Rules. Once again, you're setting the standard. Bravo.

Sheila Ruth said...

Don't worry, you were nice to me, LOL. I think you even introduced me to Barry Lyga. Although it was so loud at the drink night that it was impossible to talk! It was great to see you.