BEA 2013 Recap aka The BEA of Epicness
It’s that time of year again–the time where people come back from BEA with books and stories galore. This was my second year in attendance so I only have one year to compare it to, but I basically had an even better time than last year. While the conference felt a little off compared to the previous year, the events, people I met, and things I did were way more exciting this year. In all honesty, BEA isn’t really about the books (I know, crazy). It’s about meeting the bloggers and authors you chat with all the time and getting the chance to meet your publicity contacts and connect. So while the books that were promoted at BEA this year weren’t crazy amazing for the most part, I still had the best time because of the people and the fact that it’s in NYC.
I’m not really sure how to break up this post with days since I did a few book events before actual conference started, but I’ll just go with it. Forgive me in advance if the post is a bit all over the place. I’m still recovering from the nonstop craziness of BEA. I don’t know how the publishers do this every year and still go into work right after, but serious kudos to them!
My mom and I got in on Sunday afternoon so we could have plenty of time to sight see in NYC and get to enjoy more days of yummy food aka Magnolia Cupcakes. They are pure heaven in a little icing topped morsel. If you ever go to NYC, don’t forget to stop by Magnolia Bakery. It’s right next to Rockefeller Center AND Simon & Schuster, so you can enjoy your yummy baked goods while taking pictures.
Monday was a bit of a relaxing and chill day. We stopped by the Natural History Museum and spent a few hours looking around. It is one of the coolest museums and it’s SO big. We didn’t even get through all the exhibits before our feet got too tired to go on any longer. After that we popped into the nearby Shake Shack to try it out. Their burgers are so yummy! My mom and I devoured them within a few minutes, along with the crinkle fries. I love my crinkle fries! Then it was onto Times Square where we spent a little time browsing around and made sure to stop by Magnolia Bakery before heading back to the hotel. That night we went to Little Italy and ate at our favorite restaurant there. They have the best bolognese sauce EVER. I could eat every meal there. Can I go back now, please?
Tuesday was when the pace picked up a bit. My mom and I met up with Julia in the Rockefeller Center area and I had so much fun with her. I was so glad that I finally got to meet her in person after talking on twitter for so long. After meeting up with Julia, my mom and I headed over to NBC for an NBC Studios tour. It was so cool. We got to see the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon set as well as the SNL set. They were so much smaller than I expected, which is actually pretty cool. If I ever got to see the shows, it would be nice to have such an intimate setting with a small crowd.
After the tour my mom and I raced over to the Harlequin building (in the pouring rain) to see Natashya from Harlequin Teen. I’ve met Tashya before but it was so cool of her to let me come in and see the office a bit. Her office space is full of books and pretty book posters covering the wall. It was just as I imagined it to be, if not better. We chatted about awesome books, blogging, authors, and everything in between. It was great to get insight into what she does daily. She is definitely a busy editor.
Later that night was the annual Simon & Schuster Blogger Preview party. I went to it last year and had the best time, so I was even more excited to see what they had in store for us this year. It’s set in this really pretty room in the Hudson Terrace with really cool lighting and a nice atmosphere. My good friend Suzanne Young was hosting this year, so I couldn’t wait to see her do her thing and get the room going. While there I met tons of awesome S&S people that I deal with sometimes like Bernadette, Chrissy, Lucille, Teresa, and Justin. They are so much fun to chat with and have such a passion for their books at S&S. I also chatted with my blogger friends Rachel, Jamie, Yara, and Damaris. Love those girls. When the author interviews started, it was so interesting to hear what they had to say about their books. I loved learning more and getting excited about them. Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han were delightful! They are so funny together, and I laughed out loud at everything they had to say. I must say that my favorite story was about how they first met. It involves a car, a mall, and a very good day for clothes shopping.
On Wednesday things got even crazier (a good crazy). My mom and I met up with Suzanne Young for lunch in Rockefeller Center which was such a blast. I love talking to Suzanne about everything. She’s got some great ideas and hilarious stories to share. If you aren’t already following her on twitter, you totally should be. After lunch with Suzanne my mom and I headed over to meet Heather and Deb at HarperTeen for a little blogger ice cream (shake) social. There I got to say hi to Katie and Lauren who I always have a blast with at conferences, as well as meet a few other new-to-me bloggers. Deb and Heather chatted about their favorite books to come for the Fall, including How to Love by Katie Cotugno and Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. My mom and I also stopped by the HarperCollins building after lunch so I could get a picture in front of the sign.
That night we had the Harper blogger party at the K Lounge which was probably the busiest party I’ve ever been to. It was total insanity, but I have to say that I still had fun. I saw Alison who I got to chat with a bit. She’s crazy busy with everything going on in the HarperTeen book world right now but she loves her job. Alison rocks! I then met Aubry and Margot of Epic Reads who proceeded to give me big hugs. I LOVE these girls to pieces. They are just as fun and sweet and cool as they are on Tea Time. Can I just hang out with them all the time and talk books? Margot and I discussed the zombie apocalypse and how we would totally survive it all (and find a hot guy in the process). Aubry and my mom decided that they would probably be the first ones to go. During the insanity of the Harper party, I finally got to see Jenny and Danny after a whole year! I missed these two lovely ladies. They are adorable and hilarious. I never wanted to see them go!
Thursday was when it all started. It also happened to be my busiest day of all. I got up bright and early at 6:30am to make it to the Harlequin Teen Blogger Breakfast at 8:00am. I had such a great time there! They served us yummy muffins, coffee, and fruit for breakfast, gave us these super cool goodie bags full of books, and did a speed dating author/publisher thing where the editors, publicists, and authors went around the respective tables every 5 minutes and chatted with the group. It was a very intimate setting and they all had great things to say. I got to finally meet Katie McGarry! She had some interesting things to say about the books and characters, including why Isaiah and Beth just wouldn’t work together. As someone who thought Isaiah and Beth were perfect together, what she had to say about them made complete sense. Thank you for making me feel better about it, Katie! I read Dare You To on the plane ride home from NYC, and she handled it all so perfectly. Ryan+Beth=forever!
Proceeding the breakfast the Javits exhibit hall finally opened up. I was so thankful that there was less rudeness/pushing and shoving this year, at least that I witnessed. While a few booths were jam-packed in the beginning, it was nothing compared to the disaster that was Disney Hyperion 1 minute after opening up on the first day last year. That was BAD. But this wasn’t. I spent most of the day in line for different signings and didn’t get to look around much. One thing I disliked about this year is that if you didn’t line up at least an hour before the signings, the lines would get insane. I really hate having to spend my whole time sitting in line. But what can you do? I did meet some super sweet people who I enjoyed chatting with while waiting on the signings to start.
Following my first day at BEA was the Macmillan Blogger Happy Hour. My mom and I arrived early so we got to chat with Ksenia for a bit while the setting up was going on. I seriously love her! She’s so sweet, and considers all the bloggers that she works with to be good friends. I hung out with Katie, Hannah, Jenny, Danny, and Heather for most of the party while snacking on yummy fruits and veggies they provided us. We got to chat with other Macmillan employees, as well as meet the amazing Jon who is the President and Publisher of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. He was so nice and gave a big thank you to us bloggers there for everything that we do. At the end of the party Macmillan provided a super special gift for those who went: a special bound BEA edition of The Winner’s Curse. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book so I can’t wait to dive in.
Then it was off to my personal favorite, the TMI Party. I cannot express enough just how freaking amazing it was. S&S, you did an AWESOME job with putting it all together. It was set in this super cool church like building that had the feel of the TMI books, if that makes any sense. On display at the party were the Mortal Instruments that are in the actual City of Bones movie. They are so gorgeous and exactly how I imagined them to be! Party goers were able to get special Rune tattoos and Tarot Card readings in between the mingling with fellow bloggers, authors, S&S employees, literary agents, and more. I got to interact with Cassandra Clare for a bit at one point which was the coolest thing ever. She looked SO gorgeous and was so humble and sweet. Love her! She is so excited about the movie and can’t wait for everyone to be able to see it. I also ran into Michelle Hodkin who is always a joy to chat with. She introduced me to her super cool editor and chatted with me a bit before the special City of Bones clip. When that baby finally came on, I was in awe. It was freaking phenomenal. My jaw was open the entire time, and I had goosebumps. This movie is going to be so special!
Friday at BEA was super similar to Thursday in that I stood in lots of signing lines, though I did get more time to wander the booths. Lunch was a blast. Penguin Teen hosted a Fire and Ice lunch with a panel that included Richelle Mead and Melissa de la Cruz that was moderated by author and publicist Anna Jarzab. Richelle chatted about the VA movie, her books, writing, and the casting in the VA movie. I just adore her! Melissa chatted about her Witches of East End TV show, her new book Frozen, and a bit about her experience with the Blue Bloods pilot that never did see the light of day sadly. Anna did a great job with asking interesting questions. After the lunch the authors did a small signing of the books that were provided to those who went, which was super sweet of Penguin to do. I will cherish those books!
Saturday was my last day of BEA, and I spent most of the time chatting with blogger and publisher friends. I was completely exhausted by this point so I was ready to head home. Unfortunately, mechanical issues with our plane on Saturday afternoon caused our flight to be cancelled and we couldn’t leave til early Sunday morning. By the time I got home on Sunday, I was basically dead. But besides the issues with the flight, the exhaustion was worth it. I couldn’t have asked for a better time in NYC at BEA. If you ever have the chance to go, do! It’s worth the achy feet and tired eyes.