105 Ways to Give a Book

Book Expo America 2011

I had all intentions of leaving posts during my weeklong absence or perhaps stopping in for a quick post along the way. Was not to be, my friends. It was busy leading up to Book Expo America, moving to crazy-busy during it.

I flew to New York on Wednesday morning and, with charmed travel along the way, was able to hit the Javits Center floor by 10:30 a.m. I floundered a bit in that first hour, as the lines were long for every author I wanted to see, and I realized how many of my favorite authors needed tickets that I did not have. But things started to fall in place as  toward the end of the signing hour a few of the authors allowed non-ticketed participants, so long as ticketed participants went to the front of the line. In this way I was able to get signed books from Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races), Dave Barry (The Bridge to Neverland), Coe Booth (Bronxville), and a poster from Rosemary Wells. I was able to catch Coe later to check up on our mutual writer friend Caroline Hickey, who had just had her baby girl!

I ran into Sarah from The Reading Zone, and she was happy to join me on my signing itinerary. We gave a try to the Harlequin Teen books, but they were already gone, so we stood in line for Jan Brett’s Home for Christmas. It was a bit of a wait, so we were able to chat. Such a nice treat to have a friend on line with me.

She was happy to join me for one of my Most Important Author meetings — Lisa Yee! I’ve known Lisa Yee online for years, reviewed her books, read her blog, but had never met her in person. She was signing at the American Girl booth, so Sarah and I got books and pics with this lovely lady.

Then Sarah and I headed back for the autograph area for what was likely a useless pursuit of a ticketed author’s book — Goliah, by Scott Westerfield. But again, since die-hard fans had been through already, the line was shorter and they were (quietly) allowing people without tickets in line. So we were able to get signed copies of the ARC! (You’ll see it as a prize in the 48 Hour Book Challenge.)

As Sarah took off for the train station, I made my way to the BEA Middle-Grade Editors Buzz where they talked about Wildwood, The Unwanteds, The Apothecary, Icefall and The Dragon’s Tooth. I left when the moderator waxed poetic and yet without eloquence about books, and made my way to the publishers to nab copies for myself. I was able to get three of the books easily, just by asking nicely. Then I walked around, talking to publishers and browsing their titles. The smaller houses did a nicer job of showing more of their line, not just the big buzz books. The larger publishers used their space for meetings rather than for showing more of their catalog, which was disappointing to someone hoping to see the non-buzz titles. After 3:30 p.m. it was so obvious that the marketers didn’t want to be bothered that I had to check the schedule to see if maybe the floor had actually closed. (Pssst! It hadn’t.)

Thursday morning I commuted down from my friend’s house in the Bronx and made my way immediately to Steve Brezenoff’s signing of Brooklyn Burning, where his agent proposed marriage after hearing my mini-tirade about paranormal books. Then off to the talk from Jane Lynch — you know, Coach Sylvester — at the Uptown Stage, where she was promoting her book, Happy Accidents. It was packed when I arrived, but I was able to get a seat at the last minute. I had a ticket for her signing, but slipped out to get a signed poster by Sophie Blackall. Then back to get a signed promotional card for my teen. (Good call on my part, btw. I was afraid I was wasting my time, but my teen was so happy!) Then it was over to the autograph area again for Sophie Flack (Bunheads), Allisa Grosso (Popular), Kody Keplinger (Shut Out), Lisa McMann (The Unwanteds), and Maryrose Wood (I have no idea — it’s in the shipping box still).

Just after noon, some of the kidlitosphere folk had arranged to meet for lunch before our last walk on the exhibit floor. There I caught up with Charlotte, Anamaria, Alex, Terry, Anatasia, Susan, Katie, and Sheila. Many of this group stuck together as we strolled the booths, enjoying the handouts of cupcakes, candy, and soda as the exhibitors tried to get rid of their last supplies to a dwindling audience. Most booths were clearly packing up by 1:30 p.m., but we still were able to look at books, talk to publishers, score leftover swag, and pick up a book or two.

After shipping home my book haul from two days, Charlotte and I headed to the Book Blogger Convention meet-and-greet. It was indeed nice to meet and to greet bloggers, and I had some interesting conversations. But cash bar? Not so nice. I would have much rather had soda and cookies available than $7 Coronas. Later Charlotte and I also went to the Kid Lit Drink Night, where I touched base with Barry Lyga, Betsy Bird, and Alvina Ling. I had a long conversation with middle-grade authors Matthew Cody, Eric Wight, and Aaron Starmer who graciously kept me company on the perimeter of the very loud party. Through the night I was able to chat with Harold Underwood, Melanie Hope Greenberg, Cheryl Klein, Lisa Yee, Peter Brown, Matthew Kirby, and well, lots of writers, publishers, and editors. It was a fantastic turnout!

Overall, BEA was a great success for me. I did see some line-cutting, rudeness, and grabbiness, but I was generally out of the drama zone. There weren’t as many ARCs available, but I wasn’t there so much for ARCs as for connections with authors, publishers, and bloggers (oh my!). I shipped home one box of books and stuff, and now I can’t wait for it to arrive. Let it be soon, like before the 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend.

THIS WEEKEND???!!! I’d better get busy!

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12 comments:

melanie hope greenberg said...

Great to see you, Pam! Thanks for the shout out!

taralazar said...

Sounds like you had an awesome time. I will be there next year, definitely! And the year after that. And the year after that. And so on...

Sam @ Parenthetical said...

It was great to meet you, Pam! I agree, a fun trip all around.

Rasco from RIF said...

Sorry I missed you at Kid Lit Drink Night! I had to leave about 8:30 to meet with some funders...indeed loud but FUN. And it was quite therapeutic for me to yell and not apologize I was yelling!

thereadingzone said...

It was so great to finally meet you Pam, after "knowing" you online all these years. Thanks for letting me tag along with you. :)

Sarah

Emily said...

It was fun meeting you in person Pam! I'm glad that you had a good trip. I generally stayed out of the drama as well and had a great time.

Abby said...

Thanks for the recap, Pam! Sounds like a great time!

aquafortis said...

Sounds pretty wonderful! I hope to be able to go to one someday. Wish I could have been there to hang out with all the blogger folks!

Also, can I just say DAVE BARRY AAARGH SQUEEE! Jealous.

Fun Mama - Deanna said...

Sounds like fun! I just discovered you through Abby the Librarian and the 48 Hour Reading Challenge. I read your About page and we have a lot in common. I'd rather read than do housework, I love YA, prefer cats over dogs, etc. I'm glad I found you!

Alex said...

It was so great to finally meet you. This was a really great first BEA/BCC, not just because of the books (lots) and meeting so many authors (they are so nice), but meeting you and all the other people from the Kidlitosphere who were there.
I am already looking forward to next year.

erica said...

Sorry our paths didn't cross at BEA, but hopefully they will again soon back in DC. And nice to connect with you in Facebook land as well!

Lisa Yee said...

When books and blogs collide . . . it was so cool to finally meet you in person . . . twice!!!