01 February 2010

BEA 2010: Top Ten Tips

Are you planning on going to Book Expo America (BEA) in May? I am registered and can't wait to get on that train and head for New York.

If you are a librarian, bookseller, or book reviewer, you'll want to be at the Javits Center from May 25 to May 27. You'll meet, you'll greet, you'll drown in books and all bookish talk.

I was asked by the organizers of the first-ever Book Bloggers Convention to pass along a bit of advice to those who've never attended BEA (and perhaps offer some reminders to those who have).

Beth Fish Reads's Top Ten BEA Tips

10. Don't be shy! When you recognize a fellow blogger or Twitter friend (by face or by name tag), just walk on up and introduce yourself. People are friendly, and everyone is almost exactly how you'd imagine him or her to be.

9. Practice up on your text messaging. The Javits center is loud and crowded; the only way to communicate with your friends is to text message. [To all of you who tried to text me last year: I'm prepared--I'll be faster!]

8. Carry water and a snack. The cafeteria is expensive and not all that great. Be sure to have water and a granola bar or something to hold you over until your friends are ready for a lunch break.

7. Get up early for tickets. If you are dying to get autographed books, remember that some are ticketed. The tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis, so be prepared to get up at the crack of dawn and stand in line. Everyone else you know will be there too.

6. Save your quarters. If you plan to take the bus anywhere, be sure you have a bunch of quarters. Your life will be much, much easier if you come to the city with change instead of trying to hunt down quarters once you're there (ask me how I know).

5. Look for tote bags. Lots of booths will be giving away tote bags. You'll see them in all shapes and colors and sizes. Some are amazingly cool, some come in limited numbers. Grab the ones you like. You'll need them for your ARCs.

4. Study the program. Look over the program and pick up Publisher Weekly's daily newsletter. There are special events and author appearances and great panels. The only way you'll be able to make the most of your time is to have at least some sort of plan of attack.

3. Be polite: ask. Remember to ask before taking a book from a booth. Some books are there for display and so attendees can get a chance to look through the titles. Do not assume that the books are there for the taking. Even if there is a huge stack of books; they might be in reserve for an author signing.

2. Bring business cards. You'll be spending a good amount of time exchanging business cards with fellow bloggers, authors, publicists, and booksellers. Be sure to have your cards in an easy-to-reach place. You'll also want some way to keep safe the cards you collect.

And the top tip is . . .

1. Shoes. You will be on your feet for hours. You will be walking on hard concrete floors. You will be carrying books. You need to take care of your feet. Comfy shoes are more important than cute shoes. Pick your shoes first, your outfit second. Really. Trust me on this.

I will be at BEA 2010, and I hope to see many, many of you there.

Don't forget to visit the other bloggers who will be posting their best BEA tips over the next couple of weeks. For a full schedule, see this post at the Book Blogger Convention blog.

And while you're there. Look around the blog and think about attending the first-ever Book Blogger Convention. It looks like it is going to be a memorable event.


Lenore Appelhans 2/1/10, 6:34 AM  

Great tips! Having comfortable walking shoes is really VERY important. I remember seeing ladies there in heels and thinking they must be in tremendous pain!

bermudaonion 2/1/10, 7:48 AM  

Great tips! I'm glad to see you've practiced your texting! I got a smart phone last week, so I'll be ready to tweet too!

Dorte H 2/1/10, 9:03 AM  

This is a real Beth Fish post: so full of common sense served with a pinch of humour.

I wish I could be there, but I trust you will also tell me about everything I missed when you return.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours 2/1/10, 9:28 AM  

Thanks Beth! I'm REALLY hoping to get to go this year ... just trying to work out the finances. :)

Amanda 2/1/10, 9:35 AM  

My phone is terrible for text messaging. :( These all sound like good tips (except I'm getting a transporation pass so I won't need quarters) and all very similar for when I was at ALA last year. I need to find some more comfortable shoes.

S. Krishna 2/1/10, 9:37 AM  

Great post! I'm going to put this in a BEA folder on my computer to look at while packing!

Alexia561 2/1/10, 9:47 AM  

Great advice! Guess I need to find comfortable shoes & break them in before May! :)

Beth Kephart 2/1/10, 9:54 AM  

Oh, I hope I can be there!

Michelle 2/1/10, 10:07 AM  

What a helpful post. I'm still finalizing my plans, but I think I'm going to make it to the last day of BEA and the Book Blogger Con. I'm very excited, but overwhelmed and glad to have the advice of some experts. :)

Marie Cloutier 2/1/10, 10:23 AM  

great post, beth! i can't wait for bea!

Natasha @ Maw Books 2/1/10, 11:09 AM  

I stuck my business cards in my nametag so they were easy to reach. Of course, I had them fall everywhere more than once but it was convenient.

Luckily, I brought good shoes (not expensive, just Payless) but what hurt more than my feet was my aching back and shoulders. Those books weighed a ton!

cindysloveofbooks 2/1/10, 12:11 PM  

Thanks for all those great tips. I will be a first timer and I am so excited to meet fellow bloggers.

I will have to check into my phone plan for text messaging to see if I can increase my plan.

Looking forward to meeting you.

Pam 2/1/10, 12:27 PM  

Extremely helpful!

Babara on the Bookcase 2/1/10, 1:16 PM  

Nice tips especially the water and snacks item. Food is expensive at the Javits and lots of lines. There is a drop-off station at Javits for luggage on the day you go home - excellent use of $5. Also, in the past, there is a shipping station (though expensive), if you collect many books. get a FedEx number beforehand so you get use that. I don't collect books anymore but a less expensive way is to find a Kinkos/FedEx near your hotel or in your hotel. looking forward to meeting you.

Sandy Nawrot 2/1/10, 1:34 PM  

Nice tips...you are such a helpful person! Unfortunately, I will not be there this year. It just isn't meant to be for many reasons. I will someday aspire to it! Maybe by then I will have a phone that can text properly!

Book Club Girl 2/1/10, 1:53 PM  

Excellent tips! I especially like the one about asking -- it means so much to publishers when people ask rather than discriminately grab (I always think, who raised you? when I see people just come thru and grab everything in sight) and who knows, you might make a connection with someone at a house that can be helpful later on!

Wendy 2/1/10, 1:59 PM  

These are great tips...thank you for sharing them!

I'm afraid I am TERRIBLE about texting...my phone is not really texting user friendly (the keys are just too small)...so I'll be shouting :)

Can't wait to meet you in person!!

Stephanie 2/1/10, 2:34 PM  

Excellent suggestions! I just recently got a cell phone with keypad, so I'll be text ready!

Julie P. 2/1/10, 2:59 PM  

Great post! Unfortunately, I'm posting later this week and had many of the same ideas! UGH! I'm going to have to re-think things!

Angiegirl 2/1/10, 4:18 PM  

Good point about the easily accessible business cards holder. That is one I'm definitely going to take care of this time.

Hilary Wagner 2/1/10, 4:40 PM  

I don't know if I'm going to the BEA, but my pub let me know I'll be at the IRA in Chicago this April and I'm super excited! I love meeting people in person that I've become friends with on-line! It's the best thing ever when you can put a human person to the on-line one you love so much!

Great post!

xoxo -- Hilary

Robin M 2/1/10, 4:48 PM  

Great Post. I really wish I could go but it just isn't in the finances this year. We are already giving up a trip to Hawaii because it is just too expensive. Will be fun to hear all about it from you and the other gals.

Melody 2/1/10, 7:12 PM  

Great post! How I wish I could attend!!

Jenners 2/1/10, 7:42 PM  

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to see if I can attend this year. It sounds so amazing.

Alison (Alison's Book Marks) 2/1/10, 8:49 PM  

This will be my first BEA, so I'm soaking up all this great advice!

I'm so excited and look forward to meeting you!

Megan 2/1/10, 9:29 PM  

I should have a business card? Oh dear. Thanks for the head's up - never would have thought of it on my own!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 2/1/10, 10:07 PM  

Excellent advice! I'm in the same boat as Julie, and hurriedly editing my post now ....

My husband says my comfy shoes look like water/beach shoes. He may be right, but I don't mind looking like I'm ready for a walk in the sand ... I'll be comfortable :)

Alice 2/1/10, 11:07 PM  

Great tips, Beth! I bring my business cards with me every time I speak in conferences. It's a must. :D

Violet 2/1/10, 11:42 PM  

Awesome tips, I cannot attend but these are very useful to those who will.

The Tome Traveller 2/2/10, 6:37 AM  

Reading the Publisher's Weekly daily newsletter is an excellent suggestion. Last year I picked one up on the first day, put it in my bag and never looked at it until that night. Turns out Diana Gabaldon was signing upstairs that morning and it was not advertised anywhere except the PW paper...so I missed it. The newsletter comes out each morning, pick one up as soon as you get there and flip thru it in the first line you stand in!

I've been working on my texting, too. Still not very fast, but improving!

Booksnyc 2/2/10, 8:39 AM  

Thanks for the tips! I am excited to attend - I am new to book blogging and the conferences seem overwhelming right now - this blog tour is a great resource.

I live in the city and would make two additional recommendations - you can pick up a metrocard which is pre-loaded so you don't have to lug quarters - this website (http://www.mta.info/metrocard/) tells you all about it and where to buy it near the convention center, hotels, etc.

My other recommendation/resource especially if you plan to venture away from the convention center (and please do - Jacob Javits is by far not the best this city has to offer:) - is Hopstop.com - you can put in your starting and ending locations and it will tell you how to get there via bus/subway and give you the approx time it takes. It will also approximate the taxi fare if you opt out of public transport all together.

I look forward to meeting people at BEA and BloggerCon!

Serena 2/2/10, 9:29 AM  

great tips! I have no idea what my post will be about! LOL

I will have to make sure I don't duplicate these.

I'll be at BEA and the Book Blogger Con...see you there.

Joe Wallace 2/2/10, 10:25 AM  

These are terrific, especially since I'll be a first-time novelist with a book that will have been out for a whole three weeks...and this will be my first BEA! If I survive, I'm sure I'll have a wonderful time.

Looking forward to meeting many of my Twitter pals face to face for the first time.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 2/2/10, 10:55 AM  

All great advice! As a first timer I am SO EXCITED. Not only to experience everything but to meet so many of you! :)

Thanks - I am taking notes :)

Unknown 2/2/10, 12:53 PM  

Neat tips! I got my smartphone ready. I don't have any book blogging friends that I would recognize so it's a good thing I'm not shy! LOL

Beth - thanks for sharing these tips.

Unknown 2/2/10, 7:28 PM  

I am a school librarian, and this will be my first BEA! Quick question--I'm really into autographed books. Can I bring books to be autographed, or will I need to buy them there?

Melissa 2/3/10, 12:14 AM  

Great post and wonderful tips - thank you! Had to LOL about the "investment strategies" tip/spam ... might need to ramp up my investment portfolio and strategies in order to afford the shipping of the books home. :)

Beth F 2/3/10, 6:25 AM  

Amanda: no books are sold at BEA.

Unknown 2/3/10, 10:35 AM  

Wow--okay! Shows how much I know! Will I need to bring books to be autographed, then, or are books to be autographed given out? TIA.

Carol 2/4/10, 12:02 PM  

I wish I could be there. I know you'll all have a blast.

Unknown 2/5/10, 2:29 PM  

Last year while it was going on, I sat in my home in Connecticut thinking, "Now wait, why I am not THERE?" And I determined to go this year. Can't wait.

(I'm also from 5minutesforbooks.com)

Linda Nguyen 2/7/10, 5:32 PM  

Thank you for all the great tips. =)

Yikes, I'll have to practice with that texting. It's always tricky to text on a flip phone as opposed to one with a full keyboard.

Michelle 2/7/10, 7:49 PM  

I saw the chatter about the shoes on Twitter last week but didn't get the opportunity to join in. Have to say that is my number one concern knowing that we'll be standing and walking so much over the week. I want to make sure to not only get a comfy pair but to break them in before I head into town for the big event.

Thanks for all the wonderful advice.

Kristin Callender 2/9/10, 9:02 AM  

I love the advice. It's all true, but the shoe thing has got to be the best. Even in the most comfortable shoes your feet will be aching. It's a lot of walking and lugging around books :)

Anna 2/10/10, 4:03 PM  

Great advice! Comfortable shoes indeed are the most important!

Diary of an Eccentric

DelGal Reviews 2/16/10, 1:10 PM  

Thanks for the newbie tips, I certainly appreciate them :)

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