Saturday, 13 June 2015

BEA 2015

Hello my friends! My BEA post is preeeetty late this year but well...I just moved! Long story short: I'm doing study abroad next semester and my lease ended in May, so it was decided I'd move back in with my parents for the summer, and then my parents decided we're moving in with my grandma. So I finished my semester, finished my internship the next day, then that Thursday night of Memorial Day weekend, I packed up a few boxes and started moving them back where they needed to be, came back to the city that Sunday, went through BEA week, then got up Saturday morning and packed up the rest of my apartment into my parents' cars, then spent several hours moving some of those boxes to my grandma's and moving things out of my future bedroom, THEN bringing the rest of my stuff back to my parent's. Then because we're still showing the house, I had to very quickly go through the boxes I brought back and unpack them or sort through what I needed and repack them to get them out of the way. And I've also been trying to finish catching up on freelance work. Also, I had a cold for most of the past two weeks that I'm still not totally over. Also I'm maybe now planning a blogger conference with some other bloggers.

It hasn't been a very relaxing summer vacation so far, is what I'm getting at. So I'm just starting to get time to write blog posts again. Why not start with BEA?

Overall Reaction:

The BEA floor had a very different set up this year, but it was more organized, I felt.  I'm still not sure I loved the set up, but I definitely loved that it seemed quieter and generally more pulled together.

However, I have some major issues with BloggerCon, especially the fact that it was run during BEA. It meant you could only hit the morning panels if you didn't want to miss anything on the floor. And it ran at the same time as a publisher brunch, so a lot of bloggers were already occupied. On top of that, the panels just weren't that interesting, overall. A lot of panels felt very similar to past panels, but the only one I went to was new and different and largely unattended. I heard that the panel that ran at the same time had people walk out due to boredom.

I also have issues with how BEA is changing. Everyone I talked to noted that there were seemingly less books available. It might not seem like it from looking at hauls, but it seems like this year a lot of people just got the same books because there wasn't much variety. Publishers are becoming more and more selective about their titles, seeming to prefer a few huge titles (Truthwitch, Passenger, Black Witch) over helping to promote their smaller titles. There was also an increase in in-booth events, which made it more difficult to talk to anyone in the booths. On top of this, due to BookCon being Saturday and Sunday, many publishers opted not to bring their authors in for BEA until Friday, which caused Wednesday and Thursday to be very slow and Friday to seem really intense. I can't say I'm a fan of this new version of BEA, but I'm curious to find out how it'll change more with the move to Chicago.

I also noticed another uptick in bad blogger behavior. Line cutting, hoarding, showing off, getting violent/physical to get books. I'm kinda glad I'm not going next year, honestly.

Recap:

This year really did feel much more relaxed for me. After starting the move then spending the day with a friend Sunday, I spent Monday in bed, marathoning the end of season 10 of Grey's Anatomy and getting some kitchen packing done. Then Tuesday was go time.


Tuesday

On Twitter, I offered to bring books to people coming to Teen Author Carnival or BEA this year in an effort to not have to move books I didn't want. I was also bringing some books just to clear out my shelves. So I stuffed two giant Duane Reade bags full of books (with tote bags in them for back up) and headed down to Penguin for lunch with a friend. After lunch, my bags were breaking and even if I took the one subway stop, there was quite a bit of walking between Penguin and Jefferson Market Library, so I caught a cab and got to the library right as most of the other volunteers were showing up. We got to work pulling things together, had a little down time, then rushed through to get it all done. I ended up upstairs again. The first panel was amazing and funny and just great to watch. The second panel was much quieter since Susan Dennard and Alex Bracken were downstairs. I went to try and go to that panel since there was only one volunteer in that room, but it was so packed I couldn't get in. Katie McGarry was also outside the room, so we got to chatting for a little while, then I ran back upstairs to catch the end of the last panel. Things were a little crazy as we tried to wrap up the signing and I tried to deposit all the books people had claimed. But it was a lot of fun and I got to see a lot of friends!

After, Mitali (AlleyofBooks) and I had invites to the rooftop blogger party. It took so long to shut everything down at the Carnival, that we got there half way through, but there was little things to snack on and drinks and a lot of friends. I got to chat with a lot of bloggers who missed the Carnival, got a lot of congrats from the people who had been there, and met a few new people. I ended up staying pretty late and since there weren't many of us left, we started going through the remaining tote bags to make our own with only what we wanted, which was fun. It was a great party and I was so glad I got to go this year.


A photo posted by Julie (@juliecaughtreading) on
 Wednesday

Wednesday was supposed to be a pretty easy day for me. I woke up a little later than intended and headed out around 10. I powerwalked to the Javitz and got through BEA Bloggers registration just after 11, when the panel began on remaining safe on social media. My friends Nicole (YA Interrobang) and Kaye (@gildedspine) were the panelists, so it was fun to listen to them chat. Because it was also the first day of BEA and there was a blogger-publisher event, there weren't a lot of people. Fortunately, there were plenty of questions and the panel still went really well!

After was the lunch break, so I waited for everyone to finish chatting, then walked out with Kaye and Nicole. Kaye had to meet up with her family, so Nicole and I grabbed lunch with our vouchers in the cafeteria. We met up with Charlee (Novel Thoughts/Riffle) in line and she joined us at well as we talked about books and the conference, etc. Nicole wanted to catch another panel, so Charlee and I headed for the floor. There were two drops I wanted to catch when the floor opened at 1, but we also knew that there would be craziness trying to get Truthwitch and decided to avoid that side of the floor on initial entrance and use a different entrance. We walked pretty leisurely to the other side of the floor and they were totally out of books for both drops.

After that, I didn't really have any big plans. I started catching some drops and going to random booths to check in on books that I knew I wanted, but didn't know about set drop times. I know I went to Spencer Hill and saw Meredith (Spencer Hill Press). At some point mid-day, I got in line for the signing for THESE SHALLOW GRAVES by Jennifer Donnelly. While waiting in line, I ran into my friend Derry, a publicist I hadn't seen since last BEA. I also saw a lot of other people at various times. (Isn't my memory super?) But after that signing, I felt pretty done. I found a place to sit, then relocated again in an attempt to get an outlet. Around 4 or 4:30, I left for the day and sat in a Dunkin' Donuts (because I was hungry, yo) for a little while, playing on twitter.


A photo posted by Julie (@juliecaughtreading) on
Around 5:30, I started walking to the Hudson Theater. I'd gotten an invite to a special party of THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick. It was a swanky cocktail party and they had towers of the books and appetizers. But it was also very, very crowded in the little lobby. Then they opened up the theater and there was this great presentation from the CEO of Scholastic, Brian Selznick's editor, and then Brian himself. He showed us a presentation of the graphic novel portion of the book (accompanied by a live pianist), then talked about his research and living in London and his real life research. It was a really beautiful, funny talk and I sat next to two very nice ladies. Afterwards, they put out food but it was still crazy crowded and I didn't know many people, so I said hi to a couple friends, then ducked out early and went home and ordered dinner.

Thursday

On Thursday, I set my alarm for super early because I was invited to the Harlequin Teen Breakfast and it was at 7:30. Instead I woke up and it was like 9 and also my internet had been cut off so I got dressed really quickly, took the subway to the Javitz, walked the WRONG WAY, then caught a cab to the Javitz (that then got stuck in traffic) and then I hurried to the autographing area. There were a couple of signings I REALLY wanted to make that morning. I got in line for THE CAGE by Megan Shepherd, because I LOVED it, and was able to start passing out more books and meet up with friends while I waited. Charlee brought me a romance novel she'd gotten the day before and didn't want and I ran into Stephanie (Cuddlebuggery), who had made the HarlequinTeen breakfast and was willing to pass on the copy of LEGACY OF KINGS by Eleanor Herman she'd gotten to me since that was the one I was most upset about missing. I then had very few plans for the rest of the day. I kind of walked around, bumping into people aimlessly. I picked up one other book at some point, then I got in line an hour early for LAIR OF DREAMS by Libba Bray. This line got moved a few times since it got so massive so early, but I had a bunch of friends coming and going and I made friends. It was long, but very
worth it.

After that, I still had very few plans, but I kept bumping into friends who had things to do. Finally around 3:30 or 4, my I got together with Nicole and we walked to the Skylight Diner for some proper food. We sat and chatted until around 5:30, then we headed for the subway down to Strand.

Macmillan was hosting the annual Blogger Party in the Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore. When Nicole and I got there, the bookstore was actually closed off and fire trucks were parked outside. We were greeted outside by the publicists who directed us up the building next store's elevator, which would still get us to the book room. They had some cocktails and a little appetizer-esque spread made up and we just got to chat for a while with each other. They also had this really great little photo booth set up with props. Shortly into it, they brought out five authors - Marissa Meyer, Sandy Hall, Leigh Bardugo, Leila Sales, and Josephine Angelini - and they started to mingle with us. It was a lot of fun and a really great atmosphere. I was one of the last to leave and a few of us bloggers walked to the subway together and made sure we all were going to the right places.

Friday

On Friday, I woke up mostly on time and headed to the Javitz. I knew today was gonna be kinda crazy, and I was totally right. I got on the floor and did a quick browse, then ran into Andye (ReadingTeen). Together, we headed to the Scholastic breakfast. They had some basic pastry/carbs and smoothies and coffee and a couple of authors milling around, as well as some goody bags for us. I didn't stay too long because I had to get in line for DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy. I did a quick lap around the floor, then got back in line for NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio. After that, I browsed for a little while and hit a couple of drops.

Around 11, I ran into Nicole again and we found a table and sat. We chatted for a while before she had to go, then I sat and finished A THOUSAND NIGHTS by E.K. Johnston, which I had picked up

the first day and wanted to pass to Kaye, who had missed the drop. A little before 12, I headed for an elevator and went up to the terrace for a lunch with Sarah Dessen and Carrie Ryan hosted by Penguin. It was a lot of fun listening to them chat and getting a last definitive chance to see a lot of friends again.

After that, I wandered a bit. There were two drops and a signing at 2 that I wanted to hit and how could I possibly do it all? WELL. I stopped by the two booths where the drops were happening with no luck, then came back to the signing line for Marieke Nijkamp. A TON of my friends were in this line, so I was sliding back and forth saying hi to people. I ran into Hannah (@irish_banana) and Andye and Andye offered to get the copy for me, which was super nice. They ended up giving out the books ahead of the signing, so even when she had to run off for something else, she got the book first and passed it to Hannah. I ran back over to one of the drops and they actually put out BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert out early, so I snagged a copy, then ran to get into line for FURIOUSLY HAPPY by Jenny Lawson. We sped through that line and I got back into the signing line, which had only just started, so I got my copy of THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS signed. I was kind of absurdly proud of myself for pulling that off.


I wandered a bit more, than hopped on line for THE PIRATE CODE by Heidi Schulz. I love Heidi and I loved HOOK'S REVENGE, so I was super stoked to get in line for this. A bunch of my friends ended up being in this line too, so we sat and chatted until it was time to go through. After, I was so exhausted and knew I had to find people/be found, so me and a few others just plopped down on the floor with our books and chatted a lot. People kept coming and going as needed. Kaye came and got her book and I got to say goodbye to her.

Finally, we got organized and I went and found Nicole and got organized. Charlee and I headed back to Skylight Diner, then MarcyKate Connolly and one of her friends (I'm blanking on her name, sorry!) came and joined us, followed shortly by Nicole and one of her friends (also blanking on her name). Nicole's friend left, and then Kate (aka Katherine Locke) came since she was going to the Books of Wonder signing after. Dahlia Adler stopped by briefly and she had a few copies of UNDER THE LIGHTS with her, so I got one from her, then she continued on home. Nicole had to leave to catch her bus and finally the rest of us finished eating and headed to the subway. We got to Books of Wonder pretty late, but there was still room. I dropped my bags with Adam Silvera, ran to the bathroom, then ran to Home Depot. I needed to pick up an extra mattress bag (we were tossing my bed and in NYC, all mattresses/rugs have to be in bags when you throw them out, so I had one for each, but forgot to pick one up for the box spring) and didn't want to have to come back after the signing. I got back as the authors were on there last couple of questions, then spent time chatting with friends until the signing lines died down. I finally brought my THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy up to Rae Carson and got them signed (because I had carried around those books ALL DAY so I'd be damned if they didn't). Then I continued chatting and saying goodbyes. I finally left the bookstore after most of my friends, crying. Especially because I couldn't head straight home. I ran to a CVS and picked up some packaging and masking tape as well as a lot of junk food, then I got to head home. I ate a lot of junk food and packed up a lot of boxes, staying up until 3 am.

Saturday

I got up around 9 am and finished packing up and bagged my mattress. My roommate and I frantically tried to clear out space to move all of my stuff from the back of the apartment and get the garbage out. I ended up bringing three boxes of our books/DVD out for people to take for free because we just couldn't fathom trying to move them anywhere else. My parents arrived around 11 and it took an hour to finish moving and by noon, I was leaving my apartment of the past two years and the city I'd lived in for almost 3. I was too tired/sweaty/hungry to even care.

SO, that was a very skimmed down version of my week. I had very few plans I stuck to and I spent a lot of time randomly bumping into people, so it was kind of hard to keep track of when I ran into everyone. This was probably a really boring wrap up, but there it is! It really was a lot of fun for me this year and I got to see so many faces I'm going to miss a lot. I'm not going to do BEA next year, so besides ALAMW in January, it'll be a LONG time before I see a lot of people and I'll be missing them for a long time. Having BEA right before my move was stressful, but also just the distraction I needed!



--Julie

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