For What It's Worth

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BEA 2012 Wrap-up……Part 1


I’m back from Book Expo America 2012! I’m still recovering and needed a few days to process and unwind before starting my wrap-up posts.

It’s one of those events that nearly kills you and when you’re in the thick of it almost have a near breakdown but look back on it fondly afterwards and can’t wait to do it again.

This was my third year attending BEA and as always I brought my husband Kevin. I honestly don’t know how anyone accomplishes anything without a Kevin of their own. He’s just the best! He waits in lines patiently, knows all the books/authors, keeps me organized and on schedule. He also really doesn’t want more than 1 or 2 books for himself so that helps since he doesn’t need to go to his own signings. I make sure I find a few good zombie books for him though!

A few things were different this year. They are always adjusting, adapting and changing a few things. Some things make it easier, some things make BEA a clusterf*ck of epic proportions.

It seems to me that BEA and the publishers continually underestimate the popularity of YA books and their authors. The lines to get a YA book or attend a signing are INSANE. Especially for the more popular authors like Mellissa Marr, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth etc. Speaking of Veronica Roth….who the heck’s idea was it to put  FOUR popular YA authors at one signing in a booth in the middle of the BEA floor?

Harper’s Dark Days signing powerhouse hour with Elizabeth Norris, Veronica Roth, Bethany Griffin and Aprilynne Pike

Veronica was signing Insurgent along with Aprilynne Pike (Destined), Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling), Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death). People started lining up about an 1 1/2hrs early for that signing and Harper seemed confused as to why we were there or how to keep us from blocking all the other booths. This happens every. single. year.

Harlequin signings with Maria V Snyder, Rachel Vincent, Aimee Carter, Julia Kagawa

Harlequin, who always has multiple author signings packed into a "*themed* hour, seemed to get their act together for the first Teen Hour giving everyone numbers, assigned people to keep the isles clear, and handed out goodies like ARC’s of Gena Showalter’s Alice in Zombeland and Speechless by Hannah Harrington along with swag. Even though you are still trapped in a line for over an hour it does ease the pain to know you’re guaranteed a book at some point. So I was completely baffled that none of the other Harlequin signings had this level of organization. Even other teen themed signings. Again – they were confused when people started showing up.

Oh well….maybe next year – they will understand the enthusiasm for YA.

Having said that – things went much smoother this year overall. I felt like the publishers were much nicer to bloggers, taking the time to explain upcoming releases or buzzworthy new authors. I saw several of the publishers reps talking to new bloggers and explaining their review requests process. That is very different from my experience last year where you said the word “blogger” and received a glare or glazed over look in return.

Books were handed out on a schedule which they had printed out for you at each publisher. Past BEA’s had the publishers dumping books on the floor throughout the day leading to mass hysteria and the infamous biting incidents. This new method really cut down on about 99% of all bad behavior.

Penguin’s bookdrop (aka: giveaway) and author signing booth schedule (sorry about my looming shadow)

It did take some getting used to though. Your day is already tightly (& over) booked because of all the scheduled signings. Adding in scheduled book drops when I didn’t know about them in advance made the first day of BEA crazy. I don’t think I saw my husband for more than 30 minutes all day. We just got our schedules, split up and got stuck in line after line all day. Days two and three went much better once we had the book drop schedules in hand.

I also got to catch up with my blogger pals and meet a few of my Twitter friends for the first time. It was so crazy though that there just wasn’t enough time to spend with everyone which always bums me out.

I got to see Lindsi – Books, Sweets & Other Treats, Pam – Midnyte Reader, Kate – I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read, Tori – Book Faery. And I got to meet for the first time The Norwegian Book Girl, Jen YA Romantics, Amber – The Musings of Almybnenr, Sandy - Scribing Shadows. Nikki – YAReads, Tegan Not Your Faerytale.  (If I’m forgetting anyone I’m SO sorry and please remind me so I can add you!)

I did feel like people were nicer this year and the librarian/blogger rivalry seems to be coming to a close (I hope). I had great conversations with them and booksellers who were really interested in understanding exactly what it is we do and why we do it.

I’ll be posting more about BEA – the singings, the books and of course NYC and FOOD!!!!

P.S. Please forgive any mistakes and typos. I’m still not recovered from the trip and all the things I have to catch up now that I’m home. I hope to resume a regular blogging schedule this week. *crosses fingers*


  1. Wow! The unorganization of the signings just sound insane! You'd think they'd learn from it and improve it the following year.

    Glad you still had a good time! :)

    1. It gets better organized every year. I just wish they would understand the popularity of YA.
      The lines are long and people are willing to wait a long time and start lining up early. They never really anticipate it -even though it has happened every year.

  2. Are you serious about the whole YA thing? Don't they know who buys a vast percentage of YA books? Why would they be mean to bloggers? What makes us worse than any other book enthusiast? After having read several BEA posts I am second guessing my desire to attend BEA next year. Is it like this at other book events as well? I have never been one to enjoy waiting in line. :( Of all the events you have attended which has been your favorite?

    1. I didn't mean to imply that this year was a bad experience. I had a great time.
      It takes a while to understand the lay out and it was actually better with the timed book drops - it just made for more scheduling.
      I think the first few years they didn't understand what bloggers did or what our place in this world was. There was also bad blogger behavior (grabbing handfuls or multiple copies of books) that didn't help as far as putting us in a professional light.
      As far as lines goes - there are a lot. Can't lie about that but you do meet great people in those lines and it all depends on what you want or how many books you're looking for. I would suggest going with a friend or meeting up with someone there. It helps to have a buddy system.
      Most "cons" are long lines. The more popular they get the more lines.
      I'm going again next year so it can't be too bad!

  3. wow what a great recap. BEA and YA authors and signing. I think paperback dolls said it that authors were all lined up like horses to sign books. Lucky you had Kevin there to help with the books and the lines. Can't wait for the food post. How would you rate this year against previous years ??

  4. I see me, Tegan, and Nikki! I didn't know you took a picture, good thing it was when my hair was still decent looking xD. You know despite all the crazy I have to say you are right. I can't wait to go again lol.

  5. thanks for your recap, Karen!! looking forward to the next insallment! hmmm, i'm surprised they don't know the power of YA, bc from some things i've read about BEA, they say it's primarily focused on YA with only a handful of other genres including women's fiction. (not that i'm saying you're not right, i'm just saying, it goes against what they promote the event to be.) It's good to hear that you felt like most people were nicer to bloggers b/c i've been reading A LOT of backlash about the book blogger con. Thanks, Karen!

    1. ps tell kevin he might like dead reckoning. only if he can deal with YA though lol

    2. They know YA is popular and most of the books are YA but then for some reason they don't expect massive lines or frenzies to get a certain book or meet a popular author.
      I will say they adapted better this year. If it was getting crazy they would quickly organize and hand out #'s.
      I would think that they would expect that now though and always do that.
      That one Harlequin signing was awesome so I'm completely confused as to why they didn't organize the same way for all their other signings.

  6. I was so happy to see you and get a few hugs in our limited time to interact. I agree that this year it seemed much calmer although there were many book drops I couldn't go to. It's highly unlikely that I could get my husband to go with me but I have a pal who always asks for my schedule and gets me stuff.

  7. Your description is spot on, in that BEA nearly kills you, but you can’t wait to do it again! Harlequin did do better this year, but like you, I don't understand why they didn't do the same thing for every signing. And the Dark Days signing was crazy! Looking forward to hearing more about your BEA adventures! Seems like everyone saw something different!

  8. What the heck. "Biting" incidents? As in, an adult human being bit another human being over an ARC? And we wonder why publishers don't respect us. *facepalm*

    Loved this part: " I honestly don’t know how anyone accomplishes anything without a Kevin of their own." Such a sweet testament to y'alls teamwork.

    I'm thrilled that you're a veteran of this now, and can compare and contrast the way the event goes each year. :-0

  9. Ah here is the BEA post, I was stalking your blog like a crazy person and the day you post it I missed it. Bad me!

    Anyway, glad you had fun, sounds like a riot but worth it. Oh Veronica Roth and Elizabeth Norris, lucky!! And all the other of course but I don't think I have read their books LOL. I'll die if I ever meet an author.

    "I honestly don’t know how anyone accomplishes anything without a Kevin of their own." Ha, I love that :) Great husband you have.
    So nice you also meet other bloggers.

    Can't wait for more BEA recap, especially the food!! Yumm

  10. I hope I get to go to BEA next year. I enjoyed your pictures and hearing about the event. Glad it seemed a bit smoother than last year. I am sure there were crazy lines for YA authors and books! Hopefully it will be even better next year!