This will be the first of many posts leading up to BookExpo America 2011. I went for the first time last year and I know I was confused and nervous about the whole thing. I found a few good tidbits of advice beforehand but I found most of it didn't really apply to bloggers and didn't answer the questions I wanted to know about.
*First and foremost. GO! Don't be nervous about not knowing anyone. I went with my husband last year but we were seperated almost the whole time. I met so many bloggers that I had chatted with on Twitter or that I recognized from reading their blogs. More than once I was in line talking to someone for over a half hour when we started to exchange buisness cards only to realize - "I know your blog!!" or "I talk to you on Twitter all the time!" I promise you will not be alone. You will meet tons of fellow bloggers from all over the world. We are all nervous and shy so don't let that intimidate you. If you can bring someone with you all the better but to be honest you probably won't see them much. If your aim is to get books and autographs, you will be too busy running around all day to worry about having someone to talk to.
*BEA is free for bloggers. Yes, free. We are considered Press. I know there was problems with registration and that's why. Most bloggers are looking at the 2011 registration pricing link on the BEA home page but you don't have to pay so that's why you are not listed. They shut down the registration for bloggers last week and were supposed to fix it - I will check and see how you are supposed to register now. I'm already registered and if you did also before they shut blogger registration down we were told that you are still registered and not to worry or sign up again when they fix the problem. (If anyone has updated registration information for bloggers feel free to put the information in the comments section)
**UPDATE 12/18!** There seems to be some cunfusion with this one so it MAY cost money this year to register for BEA. I'm trying to get a final answer and how to register and hope to have another post next week with better answers.
They did not charged me a fee when I registered a few weeks ago but they had problems registering bloggers and shut registration down for awhile. It's now back up but more confusing than ever. It appears you will register as "non-editorial media" at a fee of $149 for all three days.
*If you want to bring someone who is not a blogger they will have to register under Friends/Family (children over 12) It is $310.00 for the three day pass or $145.00 per day. No refunds if you have to cancel. You can pre-register or buy your ticket on site.
*One thing I know everyone was worried about last year is whether they should bring books or will you have to buy some of the books. Everything is FREE. I got over 80 books last year. They will be throwing free books at you. Seriously. Everything is free. Swag, books, signatures all free. You will have to wait in looooooong lines though.
*Since Christmas is just around the corner I would suggest asking for a rolling carry on bag for your books. They hand out bags but you will be dying carrying all those books around and then back to your hotel.
*This is a picture of the baggage area. It was $3 a day. It's a roped off area and you get a ticket that you have to show to get in to your bag. I heard two years ago they had a problem with people stealing books but apparently they fixed the issue last year and I didn't hear about anything like that happening. I bought a lock for my bag just in case.
*Something to keep in mind is how to get all those free books home. Trust me....they are not all going on the plane unless you want to pay a lot. BEA has UPS shipping in site but it is insanely expensive! My advice? Bring a roll of packing tape and a sharpie with you and go to the post office not too far from Javits Center. They are open late, supplies are cheap and they have everything you will need. I used Prority flat rate shipping. 80 books took up 4 large flat rate boxes at under $50 and they were all waiting at my door when I got home. You can use Media Mail and it will be even cheaper although it will take a little longer.
*My last tip for this post is - start endurance training. I'm not kidding. You have no idea how sore you will be after those three days. Have a massuese and chiropractor on stand by as soon as you get home. You will be standing, walking and lugging around more books than you can imagine! Your back & shoulders will thank you.
This is just the first post I'll be writing about BEA11. I wasn't going to write about it until closer to the event but there were a lot of panicked people on Twitter when the registration kicked in. Feel free to leave questions for me and I will address them in the next post.
See you there!!