In a few days I'll be flying to New York City to attend my eighth Book Expo America Conference. I can't believe I've been going to BEA for eight years! Every time it's such a blast, and it's an event I look forward to every year.
When I attended my first Book Expo America in 2006, I had never considered writing a novel of my own, so I had no idea that eight years later I would have a publishing deal and would be prepping for my first traditionally published book release in a few months. At that point in time I was a fan, and I had no idea I was looking in at the industry that would later become a huge part of my life.
Here is a trip down my Book Expo America Memory Lane!
2006: My first Book Expo America! I had been a huge fan of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, and when I heard I could get a copy of New Moon a few months before it's official release date, I had to figure out a way to get access to the event. I attended BEA for one day, where I met Stephenie Meyer for the first time and received an advanced signed copy of New Moon.
2007 & 2008: Attended both of these years again as a fan. Met lots of authors I loved and got so many advanced reader copies. Both those years, I still hadn't thought about writing a novel of my own.
2009: Had a completed first draft of Remembrance! In 2009 I pitched the novel to agents the day before BEA. One of the agents I pitched to would become my first literary agent a few months later.
2010: My first time attending BEA as an agented writer! This was the year my agent at the time introduced me to Natashya Wilson, the senior editor at Harlequin TEEN. Natashya and I bonded over our love of Twilight and excitement over the new Harry Potter World in Orlando. This was also the year I met R.L. Stine, the author of Goosebumps, and had an hour long pizza lunch with him :)
2011: My second year as an agented writer. At that point none of the books I'd written had sold, and I was starting to wonder if this dream of being a published writer would ever become a reality.
2012: Attended BEA as a self-published author, as I had self-published Remembrance in July 2011 and Vengeance in December 2011. I was recognized by a few fans of my books while walking around the convention center and they asked to take pictures with me, which was super cool! It was the first time I was recognized by a fan in public.
2013: In less than a week I will be attending BEA as an author with a traditional publishing deal, since Natashya Wilson from Harlequin TEEN, who I'd met three years earlier, purchased Secret Diamond Sisters on December 13, 2012. I'll be attending the exclusive Harlequin Party on one of the nights of BEA, where I will be there as an author. I'll be having dinner with authors who I have been a fan of for years, not as a fan, but as a fellow author. That is just SO COOL to me. And I hope to meet any of you who are attending who have read the Transcend Time Saga and are looking forward to Secret Diamond Sisters. I will finally be at BEA not as an outsider looking in and wondering if I will ever make it, but as someone who has finally had a door opened for me into this amazing industry. I am so so so grateful, and can't wait to see what BEA 2013 has in store!
SEE YOU IN NEW YORK CITY!