I'm going to BEA Book Expo America. Are you?

Book Expo America is in just 17 days. BEA, from June 4-7 in New York City, is  “the largest publishing event in North America.” This will be my first time attending. On June 4, there is the BEA Blogger Con, sponsored by BEA, which I am also planning to attend.

Here are some tips posts I’ve bookmarked:

Book Expo America Tips for Writers by Jerry Simmons. This post was a useful overview of what the event is all about, with info like:

BEA is focused around the six big publishers, no doubt, without them the BEA would hold little relevance to the general public. As it stands today, the media is interested simply because of the celebrity authors and future bestsellers that are on display. Each of these big companies may spend well in excess of $1 million on this show so it is a big deal for them and they spend a lot of time in New York preparing.

Booth placement is key for this show and the sponsors do the best they can to make everyone happy. Size of the booth is indicative of how much money the sponsors are receiving from the big publishers. Having attended more than 20 I would have to say that the BEA as it now stands is as much representative of corporate publishing as anything else.

This post from Library Journal is librarian focused but I found it very useful.

After Seven trips to BEA, YA author Michelle Madow offers her best tips, such as:

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!

Tips from BEA Event Director Steve Rosato, including eating a good breakfast, wearing sensible shoes, and having business cards. I actually did have business cards made up:

You guys know I got "Tripler" from "Triple R" right?

The black border won't appear on the finished version


The folks at Wastepaper Prose — readers and writers — have a very nice series of posts on BEA. I especially liked What the Heck Do I Do Now?

Ultimate BEA Party Guide 2012 (romance genre focused, some invitation only) from Andrew Shaffer. I’ve always wanted to attend a Lady Jane’s Salon:

Lady Jane’s Salon Monthly Romance Reading Series. Madame X. 94 West Houston St, Soho. 7pm-9pm. $5 cover or donated romance novel.

Romance reader and writer Katiebabs, also a seasoned BEA veteran, has a tips post from both points of view.

There is a BEABlogger Con, schedule here, on June 4. As I have mentioned here before, it is very author/industry focused. I declined an invitation to serve on a panel, as have many others, for that reason. A recent promo video, Get Your Swag Bag On is so insulting I don’t even know where to begin. Suffice to say that I am not attending BEA for the purpose of gorging myself on free books.

Here’s a partial list of bloggers attending BEA.

Thankfully, there is another option on the same day, the UNcon. Folks are suggesting topics they can lead discussions around. One of them is “authors on Twitter”, another is “negative reviews”. Both of those are more interesting to me than the topics on offer at the official con. that said, I’ll do what the people I most want to spend time with are doing, and right now that looks like BEA blogger con.

If you can’t make it to New York, you can participate in Armchair BEA:

So, what exactly does being a participant entail? First and foremost, you’ll be able to celebrate and participate in an event that happens each year in New York City, Book Expo America, from the comfort of your very own home, hopefully a snugly armchair! Secondly, and we hope equally as important, you’ll be able to meet new book bloggers and join together in a celebration of the wonderful community that comes out of book blogging. Last year we had over 600 participants, so you’re bound to meet some new great bookish friends! Lastly, it means participating, however you’re able to. This can be by posting, tweeting, discussing, or even by simply reading and commenting on participating blogs. Your level of participation is entirely up to you, but we hope you’ll find something to get you involved in this fabulous event!

Here’s a link to the brand new BEA Conference App and a link to the BEA show planner. I loved it that I could click on the events I want to attend and import them to the app and my Google calendar.

I’ve been struggling a bit trying to figure out what my goals are for the conference. Like every other blogger, I’ve received tons of emails from authors and publishers asking to set up meeting at booths, etc., and I’ve turned all but one down (I’m attending the Random House breakfast for “power readers”). As a blogger, I registered as “non editorial media.” I gather other bloggers are going to network, grow their blogs, and get industry news that will create great content. I’m most interested in seeing and meeting other bloggers, hearing what authors have to say about their work, and hearing what some publishers have to say about trends in various genres. I’m signed up to attend one breakfast, hosted by Stephen Colbert, and featuring authors like Jo Nesbo and Barbara Kingsolver, and I’ve noted the locations of a few of my favorite authors. I’m not sure about networking or growing my blog. I’m on the fence about the blog in general.

But one of the main things, for me — and my fellow working moms will especially understand this — is to be someplace where I’m not at anyone else’s beck and call. For three days, I don’t have to answer an email from a student or colleague, take an ethics call from the hospital, give a talk, make a snack, let the cats out, walk the dogs, pay a bill, straighten the family room, etc. etc. Just the freedom to walk through a crowd of people who do not need me for anything will be pure bliss. Between that and seeing old friends and new, I can’t wait for BEA.

14 responses

  1. Thanks so much for this great info. I’m on info overload right now, but I love to plan things out than walk into something and feel overwhelmed.

    This will be my first year attending and I definitely hope to network, but more importantly, meet other bloggers. Hope to see you there!


  2. I’m going to the Colbert breakfast also. :)

    There seems to be many more interesting panels and author talks on the stages. I’m thrilled about that and meeting new people, as well as seeing old friends.


  3. This will be my first time at BEA and I’m a LOT overwhelmed. I’ve accepted only one invitation–the Random House one–but am inundated with invites to interview authors and meet with PR people. I’m mostly going to play it by ear. If I don’t get to everything, I’m okay with that. I do want to meet fellow bloggers, visit with authors, see what’s coming out over the next year, and generally have a good time!

    I got business cards made, too! Not nearly as cool as yours but I think they’ll work.


  4. Great round-up post! It’ll be my first time at BEA too, and I’ve been reading bits and pieces of advice here and there. I think I’m most excited to just be around people who live and breathe books (like I do). I don’t know how exactly I would go about ‘networking’ for my blog, but it sounds like work. I’m going to make my stay as fun and stress free as possible.


  5. 17 days?! *panics* So much to do first!

    Definitely most excited about spending time with other book bloggers. This will be my third BEA and that is always my favorite part. I’m also interested in hearing what authors and publishers have to say. I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to go to that Random House breakfast. It seem so early after getting up for super early to head to NY on Monday and then getting up early for the Colbert breakfast on Tuesday. But maybe I’ll regret it if I don’t…

    There’s also New York Book Week! http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/Concurrent-Events/New-York-Book-Week/

    I am planning to squeeze in the SF/Fantasy Event with Catherynne Valente, NK Jemisin, Kristin Cashore, and Naomi Novik as the very last thing I do before collecting my stuff and heading home!


  6. Aaaaaah! So happy you’re coming to the Book Blogger Con!

    Agreed on some of the panel topics – I mainly made my choices based on the people on the panel (Booksmugglers! Forever Young Adult! Whee!), but am most excited about the networking breakfast and lunch.

    I also brought business cards – they are purple!

    In regards to participation, it does feel different from, say, attending the Romance Writers of America National Conference, which were industry-oriented, but in terms of writing and writers, less-so sales and marketing. As a writer, I felt like I belonged. The thing I’m worried about with BEA is that as a blogger, I’ll feel more like a spectator than a participant. Because I’m not an agent and I’m not into marketing (other than knowing what kinds of cool stuff are coming down the pipeline), I’m mostly going for the social aspect as well.

    I, myself, am going to the Children’s Author Breakfast, meeting much-respected authors from Past (Lois Lowry), Present (John Green) and Future (Chris Colfer – I’ve heard good things!), as well as the Teen Author Carnival at the New York Public Library.

    Also taking in a show! (Nice Work If You Can Get It – ticket bought last minute after Leap of Faith crashed and burned). Going to do any sightseeing if you can manage it?


  7. @Kristen: Hi Kristen! Thanks for the link to New York Book Week, which I had no clue about. Can’t wait to see you and compare plans. We’ll have to take our coffee intravenously to make that flight out of Bangor.

    @AnimeJune: Can’t wait to meet you! I am not a theater person, but if I could get to MoMA, I’d be pretty happy. We’ll see.

    @Andrew Shaffer: Will there be a reading of 50 Shames? I wouldn’t miss that.


  8. I will be interested in your take on what the tone of the events and activities aimed at bloggers is. Reading the BEA program, it seems as if you are to be marketed too, i.e. you are a cog in the chain of book production. Are they interested in gauging and engaging with blogger interests I wonder? I also wonder if the recent Harvard study which shows the power of Amazon reviews compares to traditional reviewers will consolidate this approach to book bloggers by the publishing industry.


  9. @Merrian:

    Reading the BEA program, it seems as if you are to be marketed too, i.e. you are a cog in the chain of book production.

    My issue is primarily with the lack of acknowledgement of the diversity of roles book bloggers play. I think that some bloggers want to be a link in the promotion chain, some or all of the time. Sometimes *I * want that, especially when I find a debut or indie or self-pub book that is not being talked about in the mainstream press or big blogs that I may possibly be able to spread the word about a little bit. But then there is reviewing, literary analysis, building community, political activism, charity work, etc., etc. I don’t have any really well-formed thoughts about it, but, hopefully I will when I get back.


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