You guys may have noticed that I went to BEA last month (re: extreme amounts of spam, sorry/not sorry and it was INCREDIBLE).
As a BEA noob, I prepared as best I could (if you’ve written a BEA prep or recap post in the last two years, chances are I’ve read it) but honestly, it’s sort of impossible to give someone an idea of what they’re in for. I went in with many expectations, some not so accurate, so without further ado here are a few of them and how they matched up with reality.
Expectation 1: I will meet Steph and Kat and it will be glorious.
You guys, Steph and Kat are magical unicorn people made of cake and rainbows. Meeting them was everything I hoped it would be and more. They are just as funny and awesome and brilliant in person as they seem like they are. My new life plan is to kidnap them and set up a Cuddlebuggery HQ from which we will spearhead our campaign for world domination (failing that, we’ll just hang out and read books and goof around and generally have the time of our lives). Seriously, they are the best and meeting them was the shiniest highlight of this trip.
Expectation 2: BEA is intense and possibly a little overwhelming.
In the weeks leading up to BEA I was having those super fun stress nightmares where anything that can go wrong does go wrong (I was rejected for my badge, I showed up the wrong weekend, I got horrifically lost in Javits and never even made it to the floor, aliens invaded, the zombies hoards marched on New York, that kind of thing). While none of these things actually happened, BEA is intense. All the things are happening and all the people are there and there are a billion booths and even though you KNOW the Scholastic booth was over here ten minutes ago, it appears to be missing and seriously are people moving stuff around to confuse you?
I went in with a plan and a schedule and while I am glad I had a vague idea of what was going on each day, one of the first things I realized is that a schedule will only get you so far. My plans changed pretty much first thing in the morning based on who I ran into, things I heard about on the floor, galley drops and how much I really wanted to sit more than I wanted to do X. My advice to first timers would be do your research and know what’s happening when, but be prepared to be flexible.
Expectation 3: I will finally get to meet many of my twitter friends and my brain will shut down from the overload of awesome.
BEA was the best ever for many reasons but the best of the best one was getting to finally meet many of the people I’ve been talking to (and maybe mildly twitter stalking) for about a year now. You guys are brilliant and wonderful and you all have such amazing hair. I maaaaay have petted a few people (*cough* Gaby *cough*) and I apologize if that creeped you out. Please know that I meant it in the most complimentary way possible.
(Debby, Christina, Dahlia)
(April, Jamie, Kat, Christina, Steph)
There were so many other incredible people I met and get pictures with (Kara and Lynn, Alexa, Lenore, Danielle and Ashley just to name a few. If I left you out, I am sorry and feel free to yell at me in the comments/on twitter). It was so much fun meeting and talking to every one of you.
Expectation 4: BOOKS EVERYWHERE AND BOOK EVENTS AND BOOK PEOPLE AND ALL THE BOOK THINGS.
People have said many variations of BEA being heaven/paradise/Disneyworld for book people and dear Kanye is it true. Between publisher events, chatting with book reps, wandering the floor and making friends with people in line you are completely surrounded by all things books. It’s every kind of book experience you could want.
On Wednesday I attended the NOVL Brunch hosted by Little Brown where a group of us were plied with mimosas and seduced by a selection of their upcoming fall titles. In my other life I’m a graphic designer and I was particularly excited about a peak behind the scenes of their cover design process.
Macmillan threw a fantastic happy hour Thursday evening and where we all hung out and got sloshed while we came down from the massive adrenaline rush that is day 1 of BEA.
My favorite event was hands down Saturday’s Scholastic brunch. You guys, I got to meet Maggie Stiefvater. While I hate making decisions and narrowing things down and stuff like that, I do have a fairly unchanging list of my top five favorite authors and Maggie is one of them. I adore her books more than I can say (seriously, I can’t coherently word about them, I tried to review The Dream Thieves for months before I gave up). Naturally, the first thing I did was completely embarrass myself by sprinting into the room, getting right up in her face and shouting YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PERSON EVER before (sort of) calming down and remembering how to be a person with a mild hint of social skills.
(If we had thought bubbles:
Me: I would move in with you if you’d let me.
Maggie: I’m going to smile nice for this picture and then keep a minimum of two people between us for the rest of the event.)
(Seriously, I love her)
After spazzing out at Maggie, I talked to David Levithan (very smart, cried like a baby at TFiOS), Cassandra Clare (really nice and also this is amusingly ironic for reasons) and Holly Black (super cool, hilarious and has the most fantastic hair).
Expectation 5: My feet will hurt.
Everyone tells you that your feet will hurt but what they gloss over how much your whole body will hurt. Even if you bring a suitcase you won’t necessarily be able to run back to it constantly. Between drops and signings and interesting booths and people I wanted to talk to there’s stuff happening always and I ended up hauling around a lot of shit. And that’s just during the day at BEA. Afterwards there are events and more people to see and, oh yeah, I’M IN NEW YORK CITY.
My feet hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurt, I was sleep-deprived, maybe a little hungover and guess what? I didn’t care in the slightest (except for those few minutes every morning where my alarm went off and I automatically tried to sit up and discovered it hurt to live). A combination of unadulterated joy, adrenaline and caffeine kept me going and all the fun made the horrific crash that came Monday morning when I had to drag my ass into work (mental note, take the Monday off next time) completely worth it.
Expectation 6: I will make an ass of myself, probably in front of someone I was hoping to impress.
See above re: Maggie. Other moments of note include babbling like an uncontrollable babbling thing at a bemused Rainbow Rowell, dramatically reciting terrible erotica with Gillian for Miranda Kenneally (what? she asked what we were laughing about), basically peeing my pants when Jason Segal told me I had beautiful eyes (I also made this super attractive guh-guh-guh noise and possibly drooled a little) and paparazzi-stalking Cary Elwes . Oh and my stop by the Ellora’s Cave booth because reasons.
Expectation 7: It will be amazing.
I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun in my life, I really don’t.
My one regret is that I wasn’t able to talk to as many people as I wanted to (which blows my mind because I talked to more people than I generally do ever). I didn’t get a chance to meet all the pubs I wanted to, though I did finally meet Ksenia from Macmillan and I spent a while nerding out with Ellen from Orbit who is a fantastic human being and I’m so glad I finally got to talk to her face to face. Next year I’m going to try and do less and hang out more, both on the floor and after hours. Book people are the best people and I want to spend every bit of time I can with you.
Fun and people and general awesomeness aside, I am so excited about the books I picked up! I have some incredibly high hopes for some of the books in the picture below (one of which has already met every one of my expectations).
A massive thank you to Christina for snagging me copies of Belzhar and I’ll Give You The Sun and Lenore for giving me a copy of Heir of Fire (Lenore is a goddess, you guys).
UPDATE: AND ON FRIDAY I ATE THE MOST DELICIOUS CHICKEN SANDWICH IN THE WORLD WITH CHRISTINA. (These caps may seem sarcastic but they are not. That chicken sandwich haunts me.)