I attended BEA last year as a Book Blogger representative. That was my first year attending as such. However, I’ve attended one previous BEA with a previous employer, in which I was responsible for managing and creating the booth layout of 28 booths. Yes, a massive job, but one that had to be done nonetheless. So, I have two angles of BEA that I can come from when giving advice.
What is Book Expo America (BEA)?
If you’re a book blogger then you’ve probably heard of it or even attended in years past. If you did, let me know!
Essentially BEA is a huge convention for the publishing industry and anyone remotely associated to it i.e. distributors, self publishing authors, small and large publishing houses, bookmark retailers, print on demand services, and even reading glasses jewelry. You name it, it’s probably there.
Why would a book blogger want to attend?
Easy. Books! And so much more too. It’s pretty common to only know your favorite author, blogger or publishing group by name or contact them via email but BEA is the time to step out from behind the computer and meet these awesome people in person. Present yourself, make new friends and contacts.
There are numerous things to take into consideration if you decide to attend BEA. I’ll touch on a few briefly, as a lot of these have been wonderfully covered by other Book Blogger Convention Tour bloggers and I highly suggest visiting each and getting more tips!
Present yourself nicely. Wear comfortable, yet presentable clothing. Jeans, sneakers and t-shirts are great but just pick the best of your wardrobe to wear. Nothing with holes and dirt are recommended. The people running the booths dress business like so don’t disrespect them with a crude t-shirt or holey jeans. Last year I made a custom t-shirt and wore that.
The most valuable piece of information is COMFORTABLE SHOES! The Javits is nothing of a big slab of concrete. Author of Soulless, Gail Carriger, recently did a wonderful blog post about dressing for a convention.
Plan Ahead. Use the web to figure out what, when, and where you want to do things while at BEA. The BEA site is a very useful tool. I love looking at the layout to figure out where the publishers will be, the bathrooms, etc and plan a route. I used a spreadsheet last year and put in the date and time a specific event was happening and then sorted it by the date/time. It worked perfectly for me. Some author signings require tickets. Be sure to get all the information because those tickets do go fast.
Books. There will be a ton of ARCs there for the taking. Make sure to grab a tote bag as soon as possible. If you’re loaded up think about shipping your books to your home via FedEx or UPS available in the center.
Get Connected. Plan to meet up with bloggers, publisher contacts and even authors. Many industry professionals schedule meetings way in advance. I was lucky to participate in the NetGalley/Firebrand booth last year. That was an awesome experience.
Business Cards. Bring something with you that has all your contact information on. Some booths will have scanners to swipe your BEA badge but not all have this.
Be polite! The people running their booths are there working. Don’t be rude and always, always ask before taking something. Unless there’s a sign stating to “take one” never grab and run. Some booths get packed. Be patient.
Have fun! It’s such an eye stimulating experience. You’ll see a ton of people, a ton of books, and tons of things you’d thought you’d never see!
Here are my blog posts from BEA 2009!
Book Blogger Convention
- Author/Blogger Relationships
- Social Responsibility
- Writing/Building Content
Last year I registered as “Press” because that’s what we are. Press badge registration is FREE so if the cost of registering was stopping you from attending, now it’s not!
Questions? Feel free to ask them here or shoot me an email at bookreviewsbyjess (@) gmail.com
I hope to be attending BEA this year, but I’m not 100% sure yet if I will (most likely will, but for only one day).
If you’re going and know what day or days you’ll be there let me know!