Hi, everyone! It's mid-March, which means BEA is a little less than three months away. I'm definitely starting to get excited.
I went to my first BEA in 2006 -- back when Stephenie Meyer was there signing ARCs of New Moon!
So 2012 will be my seventh time at BEA!
Through the years I've picked up some tips. Here are my TOP TEN tips you'll need to know for BEA!
1) Wear comfortable shoes. For ladies, this means FLATS! Your feet are going to hurt at the end of the day regardless of what shoes you wear, but if you wear flats at least you won't be in dire pain. (Also, it's a good excuse to buy that new pair of stylish flats you've had your eyes on for a while ;)
2) Don't be pushy. Last year it sometimes felt like a stampede around the booths. I know you really want books, but I promise you will get a TON of them. Do not shove other people -- it's not nice! Sometimes it's hard to be patient, but please try to be.
3) Don't take a book if you know you're not going to read it. It's a waste of money -- both the publishers and yours when you have to pay double the amount for shipping than you would have had to if you only took books you were interested in. It's not going to offend anyone if you pick up a book, read the back cover, and decide it's not for you. Professionals in the industry understand that everyone isn't going to want to read every book -- it's why there are so many books out there for people to choose from :)
4) Create a schedule ahead of time. There are so many awesome authors and great books at BEA that you'll want to be organized before going in! I recommend sitting down with the schedule and creating an Excel document, mapping out where you need to be and when to get the books you want. There's also a BEA App for iPhone users, but I don't recommend using it. I tried last year, but the cell service is so bad inside Javits Center that I found I was standing around waiting for my schedule to load when everyone else was just looking at their Excel sheets and heading to their next destination.
5) Dress nicely, but you can still be casual! I find that a nice pair of dark, fitted jeans and cute top works nicely. Don't dress messy (no holes in your jeans, stains or wrinkles on your t-shirt, etc.) However, my general rule is to wear something you feel comfortable in. You're going to be meeting a bunch of people through the day, so you'll want to feel confident in what you're wearing.
6) In the beginning of the day, go to the first floor, get a box, and write your name on it! Remember where your box is, because you'll be going down there a lot to drop off books. Be sure to drop off books at reasonable intervals, because you don't want to make your arm hurt halfway through the first day. Shipping is usually around $40, and for those of us who don't live in NYC, I recommend shipping your books home. You'll be thankful you did when you don't have to worry about finagling 150 lbs of books through New York City.
7) Stay fueled! You'll be on your feet all day, which can be exhausting. Be sure to have a good, protein-filled breakfast, and schedule out a time to sit down and have lunch. I know it's hard to give up precious time to eat, but you don't want to feel like you're going to pass out at the end of the day.
8) You will lose track of your friends/family/whoever you're attending with. Have your cell phone readily available so you can text and meet up if you lose people. Don't be afraid to go on your own if there's a book you want but your friends aren't interested in. Usually people will start chatting with you in line, and you'll meet new people.
8) Wander around the aisles of your favorite publishing houses on a regular basis. They'll set out piles of ARC's throughout the day that aren't mentioned on the schedule. Last year I got so many great books that way!
10) If you see an author walking around at lunch looking for a place to sit, invite them to eat with you and your friends. In 2010 my brother spotted R.L. Stine looking for a seat and invited him to join us. We ended up eating together for an hour and having a great conversation! It was so interesting talking with R.L. Stine about his books, and learning about his writing process. He's such a cool, nice guy!
If you have any questions about BEA, feel free to ask in the comments below. Can't wait to meet you at BEA 2012! <3