After years of wanting to go, this year I finally made it to BEA. It is as overwhelming as everyone makes it out to be. The Ginormous Javitz Center was filled up with book-lovers and book-enthusiasts. It was awesome and weird to be surrounded by all the literary population in the country. So many connections and conversations were priceless. I met publicists, editors, authors and bloggers. I made new friends and saw many of my Texas bloggers too. And most of all, I got to see New York city.
Browsing through the booths at BEA I realized immediately that it was quite different from the several ALA and TLA conferences I had been to in the past. Booths are much more elaborated and the main focus is conversation. Galleys are mostly given out under schedules and lines are longer and numerous. To an amateur like me, with little to no schedule made beforehand, many opportunities passed without me knowing. Often you must pick and choose wisely where to go next since many YA signings or galley drops are scheduled at the same time.
The BEA app was moderately helpful, and I could always count on other bloggers letting me know where they were headed so I could make my on-the-spot schedule. And yes, even though I strongly recommend bringing your schedule from home, I still had a great time wandering around like a lost puppy and finding the most awesome people and books by mere chance.
Some of the huge lines I did were for top buzz titles like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell at MacMillan or Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas. Probably the longest line I stuck out was for The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. The lines pass by quickly when you're enjoying yourself talking to awesome bloggers aka Susan from Waste Paper Prose or Emily from Emily's Reading Room. Which brings me to how I finally met Emily-- in the line for our beloved Cinda Williams Chima! We were fangirling over the Seven Realms series for a long while before I realized who she was! So many times we've gushed about that series on Twitter that it was only fitting that we met that way. I also got to meet the lovely Romily Bernard, debut author of HarperTeen's Find Me. We've been twitter friends for a while so that was pretty exciting too.
Another experience I fully enjoyed was the Harlequin Blogger Breakfast which I was lucky enough to get invited to. They were super duper welcoming, their top YA authors were there! (such as Julie Kagawa and Katie McGarry). There was more than enough food for everyone and we got to talk to the Harlequin staff and authors about the industry and the books.
First book I read after BEA? David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing of course! And I obviously took yet another picture with him for the collection. Can't wait to read all the rest of my books and cant wait for next year's BEA! Hopefully, I will see you there next year :)