Monday, 3 June 2013

So...BEA Happened

For those who don't know, this weekend I was finally able to attend BEA. It was pretty surreal for me to have been thinking and dreaming of this convention for four years. There were so many people I wanted to meet in person for the first time and others I just wanted to get to know. Plus a number of friends who I just don't see nearly enough.

It was kind of insanity for me. While I'm technically moved into my apartment, my room is still almost entirely packed because it's so recent. The random heat wave that hit JUST for BEA (it's now in the 70s. Not even kidding) also meant I was sleeping on the floor of our living area/my roommate's bedroom because we only have one fan. Having spent the three days leading up to BEA moving, I was also too tired to do any outside events besides TAC. Since I was spending the days just on the floor and getting back to my apartment before rush hour even got bad, it felt like it flew by. 

On one hand, BEA was exactly what I needed. I met so many people who I admire, either as a blogger or for their writing. April at Good Books and Good Wine, Elena at Novel Sounds, Vania of VLC Photo, Anna of Anna Reads, Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy and Katie of Mundie Moms, just to name a few of the bloggers I met. Veronica Roth, Sarah Maas, and Sarah MacLean were some of the authors I was trying not to fangirl over and then they said they recognized me from twitter. I also babbled all over Elizabeth Wein, ran into Ally Carter repeatedly, and met the two authors who got me into paranormal permanently - Richelle Mead and Melissa de la Cruz. I got to grab hugs from Victoria Schwab and Tahereh Mafi again, as well as see Anna Jarzab as an author and not just the Anan who was super helpful at ComicCon. I got to spend time with Nicole at Word for Teens, Nicole at Paperback Princess, Jeremy and Jeffrey, Mitali, and many other friends.

Despite living in a city full of books with many friends who love books and despite the fact that I've been reading good books, I didn't have that drive or that energy that comes with books. I had kind of...lost the magic that comes with the community and the books and the people. But the sheer number of people who love books and people who write books and books at BEA restored that energy. People were always asking how I was and my automatic answer was "exhausted" because...I think I was supposed to feel exhausted. But that wasn't the case. I was energetic and happy and guys I can't remember when I was last able to be so extroverted for so long without hating myself (I'm still waiting for it all to sink in and for me need to go curl up and cry. But at the moment, I just want to go back into the city with more people). 

And I had these constant reassurances that everything was fine. Apparently, I always seemed like I knew what I was doing. Someone told me I was adorable. I didn't come off as internally conflicted between my desire to be tired and actual feeling of excitement or as if I'd never done this before. It really helped me to keep going to know that I seemed fine and not like some sweaty mess.

For the most part, everyone was kind and welcoming. And it was lovely. But I do feel like I missed out on things people seem to love about past-BEAs.

One thing is the new connections with publishers. I was really hoping to chat with some publicists - partly because I needed to give them my new address and partly because I'm dying to know what THEY'RE excited about. There were places I could do that. Candlewick, Sourcebooks, Disney, Scholastic. But at a lot of the Big 6 publishers, it was impossible. It seemed like there was always an in-booth event for some major author, and therefore there was a line that was tremendously long and the publicists had to devote their energy to maintaining it. Or there'd be multiple signings at once. If I didn't see anyone I recognized working, than I didn't want to bother them when they obviously had a lot going on. And most of the time, I didn't recognize anyone working. So I wasn't able to talk to anyone and hear what they had to say about upcoming titles, which was kind of disappointing.

Another disappointment I had was that there just wasn't much out. Besides specific drops, none of the publishers I went through had much you could browse and ask about. One that did had multiple copies, but wouldn't give out any if you asked. Others that did have actual books on display had them behind the table or just at a place you couldn't access. So, for the most part, if I wasn't at a special event with a book, at a signing, or at a drop, the only way to get a title was to specifically ask for it. Which largely worked out for me the few times I did it. But again, there wasn't a chance to really learn about new titles. And since, as I mentioned, I had a hard time getting to publicists anyway, there weren't even a whole lot of opportunities to ask about titles I did know of.

I'm also still unhappy about the number of people I DIDN'T get to see but...you know. There will be other BEAs.

I mean...overall, I loved every minute of BEA and I WILL be there for the rest of its time in NYC, for sure. But after all I had heard about the event and for all I hoped, I just wish there had been opportunities to discover new titles that I hadn't already been pumped about.

Instead of being sad, I'll just go cuddle with all of the books I did get and think fondly of all the people I met, even if there's only photo evidence I met like...4 of them. (Ability to avoid photos FTW!) [Book Haul to be posted during the weekend, promise. I've had a vlog request and don't want to do that until I've cleaned up my bedroom. I'll also do a more thorough recap later this week,]

--Julie

1 comment:

  1. Even though I couldn't attend this year, I love reading the BEA experiences when its over. Glad you enjoyed it! I'm encouraged to be there next year. =)

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