If you write or publish books, chances are you'll find yourself at the alter of BookExpo America (BEA), the most important author and book event in North America. It's a trade fair held at the Javitz Centre in downtown New York City, where thousands of authors, publishers, librarians, bookstore buyers, international rights buyers, and other book industry experts walk the halls in hopes of discovering the next big book. Little did I know what the first 24 hours had in store for me.
I decided to attend BEA this year to network and learn more about the book publishing industry, while trying not to get overwhelmed at the sheer size of the place. Tens of thousands of people roam the halls, visiting the endless rows of booths and the over 750 author signings. At the time of posting this blog (Friday), I'll still in the throes of the conference which runs Thurs-Sat, but I thought I'd share a glimpse of what my first 24 hours looked like.
Here's how it went...
Fail to clear US customs at the Toronto Airport. Get sent to secondary screening where the US customs agent tells me I’m not allowed to bring my books into the US (even after I explain they are samples and not for sale). Have a complete meltdown (ugly cry) and get sent on my way with a warning, just in time to catch my connecting flight.
Arrive at LaGuardia Airport, hightail it to my hotel in uptown Manhattan, then boot it downtown to the Javitz Center to register for the expo and add my book to the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) booth display.
Jump back on the subway and take the train to Kimmel Center, NYU, in Greenwich Village, for the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards. Listen to some harp music and admire the view of the city over Washington Square. Win a Silver award for best book cover design!
Go out to a jazz club to celebrate with my designer. Say goodnight and take the train back to my hotel. Send out a press release about the award. Go to bed!
Wake up early. Drink a protein shake then a black coffee. Repack books into my suitcase and head to day one of BookExpo America.
Hold an author signing. Talk to lots of people and hand out books. Yay!
Sit for a filmed interview.
Walk around the expo halls and soak it all in. Visit the booths of some of the companies I work with and pick up swag.
Take notes on how other authors promote themselves, namely how to pose and wear heels like Bethenny Frankel.
Pack my remaining books into my suitcase at 5 p.m., take the rush hour train back to my hotel, and grab some yummy New York eats: falafel and New York cheesecake. Catch up on emails and social media, while taking a much needed rest off my feet!
That’s a sneak peek at my first 24 hours at BEA. Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring!