Survived the first day of BEA (Book Expo America)!
Last year I forget about the traffic, so got to the Javits Center later than expected. Did I remember what happened and plan accordingly? Of course not. Traffic was horrible, so missed the first couple of things on my list. No worries though, as I can grab them both on Wednesday. The only thing I really missed was Sylvia Day’s book, as she ran out. C’est la vie.
Had some tough choices today, as there were an awful lot of signings between 10:30 – noon. Made the decision to get into line early for the Harlequin Teen signings, as I missed out on those last year. Missed the Young Adult Editor’s Buzz panel, which was a bummer. But I got to meet Aimee Carter, Julie Kagawa, Cayla Kluver, Maria V Syder, and Rachel Vincent! And get autographed copies of their new books! Score!
Harlequin did a much better job with crowd control than they did last year, and things seemed to run much smoother. They handed out “tickets” to everyone in line, and even passed out a few ARCs to those of us who showed up early. Nice job Harlequin!
The one thing that I sorta, kinda don’t like about the Harlequin system is that they funnel you through all of the signing authors. I understand that it makes the most sense for crowd control as the one line per author they tried last year didn’t work. Plus, you get exposure for some of the lessor known authors that they might not have gotten otherwise. But I wound up with several books I hadn’t planned on….
After the Teen Harlequin signing, dashed over to the autographing tables (aka cattle chutes). They still haven’t figured out a better way to manage this, as the long lines get crossed and it turns into a mob scene. Not good. Scored several of the titles on my spreadsheet, but the line for Dan Wells was too, too long so decided to skip that one.
Quick stop at my suitcase to drop off my books. Thank goodness they let you bring luggage, as my shoulders would have fallen off otherwise! I got there so late that I wound up in the basement suitcase corral instead of the one on the second floor. Meant I had to go down two flights instead of one for drop offs, but at least if was an escalator and not stairs. Small favors.
Another hard decision….do I get in line early for the next Harlequin signing or go to my other one o’clock signings? I chose Harlequin. Got in the wrong line at first, but found the right one soon enough. Yea for paranormal! No cool tickets or extra ARCs this time, but still got to meet several really cool authors. And Rachel Vincent said she remembered me from earlier! She’s so nice! Got all fan-girly and may have gushed a little (I love her).
Laura Anne Gilman had tweeted yesterday that she would be signing at the Science Fictions Writers booth, and she might have cookies. Cookies! Stopped by, but no cookies. She did offer me a swig from her flask, which makes her my new BFF! And she autographed her last book for me, which was technically the display copy, but it’s cool cause we’re BFFs now.
Back to the cattle chutes to stand in line for Lauren Oliver. I don’t know why they only scheduled her for only 30 minutes, as last year she had such a long line that she moved to another table to finish the signing. Such a sweetheart! Was worried because I was pretty far back in line despite being 20 minutes early, but it moved pretty fast. Think she realized she couldn’t chat with fans and had to keep the line moving. Or her publicist keep things moving. Either way, it worked!
Time for a bathroom break. Long line at the womens room, but no line for the men. Typical. And there were only four stalls. What’s up with that? Women’s restrooms should have a minimum of 20 stalls! Pfft!
Back to Harlequin for my final Harlequin signing of the day! The one book I wanted was They Disappeared by Rick Mofina. Because of the set-up, I got five books that weren’t on my list, but no Rick Mofina. The woman in front of me got the last copy. Literally. I was crushed. If I hadn’t gone to the bathroom, I would have gotten a copy! Would have probably wet myself, but would have gotten a copy! Tweeted to see if anyone had a copy they didn’t want and Harlequin tweeted back saying they would try to send me a copy after the expo. We’ll see. If they do, that will be awesome! But I’ve been promised this before and the publisher never followed through.
Next on the list was the Melissa Marr signing. Saw several people with cool white masks promoting the signing. Someone told me that they were handed out when the doors opened, but I missed that. Very impressed with HarperCollins as they had plenty of copies on hand despite the humongous line. And Melissa kept right on signing! They ran out of t-shirts, but that’s okay because I really just wanted the book.
Exhausted by now, but dragged myself back to the chutes to get a copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s new book for my friend Tammy. See what an awesome friend I am? I willingly got into a line two miles long to get her a book! Was literally dragging by this point…..my totebag. Hey, everyone else was doing it, so what the heck! This was the first signing in three years where I heard the Line Wardens telling the fans “no flash photography”. No one else I’ve heard of has ever had this request. Maybe it bothers Maggie’s eyes or something, but I thought that this was a little odd.
Was planning on going to the Apocalypsies Meet the Author get-together downstairs, but didn’t have the energy. Picked up my suitcase, found an empty chair, and sat down for the first time of the day (not counting my restroom break!). Despite not taking quite a few offered books and totebags, I still wound up with a full suitcase and had to rearrange everything.  Felt so good to sit down! Didn’t want to get back up, but figured if I left immediately, I might be able to beat most of the traffic. New Jersey traffic is horrible.
So all in all it was a good day. Was so busy that I never took a lunch break, so glad I had a couple of Fiber One bars to snack on! Need to remember to eat Wednesday and Thursday, as hunger was probably part of why I felt so lousy by the end of the day.
Sad that I missed so many great authors, but same thing happened last year. Was sorry I couldn’t stop by to say hello to Caroline and Charles Todd, who I met at the HarperCollins party Monday night. Caroline is such a sweet lady! Very cool that they write the Inspector Rutledge series together. Will have to try their Bess Crawford series one of these days.
One thing I noticed this year was an awful lot of rolling bags on the floor. The past couple years, BEA was really strict about not letting rolling bags on the floor. Not sure what happened, but it was a little annoying as I almost got run over by a few. Didn’t see any pushing and shoving, but that might be because I missed the opening stampede. Everything seemed a little calmer this year. Still crowded, but not as frantic.
Am tired and sore, but very happy. Also happy that I got to use the foot lotion I received last night. Will have to take a picture, as its labeled Book Club Girl: Soothe Your Tired BEA Feet. How cute is that? This tired bookgirl needs to go to bed, as I have an early start tomorrow!
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