Tuesday, May 17, 2016

15 Things We Learned From Our First BEA

We got to attend our very first BEA this year! For the first time in something like 17 years, it moved from New York to Chicago. Since we only had a few RT Conventions under our belt, we had no idea what to expect of BEA. Looking at the map and exhibitor list prior to the event was overwhelming. But none of that could dash our excitement when we arrived Wednesday. And by the time it was over on Saturday, it seemed like our initial arrival was ages ago. So here's what we learned:

1. Comfort over fashion. Breaking in shoes is a must since there’s so much walking. Aleve and ice packs came in handy by the end of the day.

2. Don’t rely solely on the app. Publishers and authors usually mention some last-minute details via Twitter. Also check PW Daily to make your plan for the day. For us writing out our itinerary provided some sort of order.

3. Grab as many tote bags as you can because you’ll need them. We also found bringing in a suitcase and putting it in to luggage check to be a helpful way to store all the books we received as they became too heavy to carry as the day wore on.

4. Visit the same publishers multiple times a day as they rotate goodies for giveaway.

5. Not all books are up for grabs as some are simply for “display only”.

6. If you spot massage chairs, go for the massage. Your neck, shoulders and back will thank you. We do not joke about this.

7. Bring snacks but pack a lunch if you can. Also bring your own water bottle and refill it to save some money.

8. Get to know the layout. Sometimes finding a quiet bathroom provides a much-needed break from the crowd.

9. Not everything is free. Budget extra money for the smaller publishers.

10. If there’s something you desperately want, stand in line early. We were pleasantly surprised to see lines for ones we assumed would be a quick stop.

11. When you’re grabbing your bag of books make sure it’s yours as everyone will likely have the same bags making it easy to mix them up. (We met someone who put down her bag of personalized books at lunch only to have someone else accidentally pick it up. Honest but crushing mistake.)

12. If you’ve been at BEA all week, you may be able to avoid BookCon. But that depends on whether you’ve seen all the authors you wanted to meet. If not, stand in line early on BookCon day – we mean ungodly hour of the morning early – in order to guarantee a ticket or wristband. Though come that day you may decide to forgo that because you’ve been at it all week anyway. That’s what we did. We just hung out at Starbucks and watched the endless parade of attendees go by until it was safe for us to go through.

13. Everyone is pretty considerate at BEA when it comes to waiting in lines. We enjoyed meeting people this way and then paying it forward.

14. We took full advantage of the reliable shuttle service to and from the show. We definitely saved some money there with not having to worry about parking costs each day. 

15. Lastly, DON’T SELL YOUR ARCS but definitely promote the ones you’ve received and are reading.

There you have it. Our first BEA turned out to be a fun experience! We'll share more pictures including author pics in a later post this week. We also enjoyed meeting fellow booklovers and bloggers who made the experience that much more special. If you can make it to the next one (it's back in NY next year), you should! If you happened to attend BEA16 and/or previous ones, we'd love to know about your experience and how they compare. Are there any tips you'd like to share?

 ~ Shel, Bel & Nat

No comments:

Post a Comment