So this was my first time at BEA and it was interesting.
Now I live in the Chicago Metropolitan area and all the conferences are held in the McCormick Place in Chicago. McCormick is big but Javits is huge, so that was a plus. BEA will be in Chicago in 2016 and I’m pretty excited about jumping on the train, getting my stuff, and sleeping in my own bed.
I did a lot of research for first-timers and because I’m not new to the exhibit floor atmosphere, the advice was correct.
I went with a coworker, Sara, and we left O’Hare about 6am, got to NY at 9am, went straight to the Javits, and ran to the Sarah J. Maas line where we were #124 and #125. We stood in line for about 1.5 hours and it was worth it. We got book 3 from the Throne of Glass Series-Heir of Fire.
Like I said, BEA wasn’t my first book convention rodeo. I’ve been to ALA (American Library Association) & PLA (Public Library Association) and I have to say; ALA is better. Here’s why:
1. The free stuff haul. Here is my day one at BEA
Here was my day one from ALA last summer in Chicago
2. Authors & Signings. For the 2 days I was at BEA, I met 3 authors and got 4 things signed (2 books I paid for-full price) Sarah J. Maas, Elizabeth Wein, and AG Howard.
For the 2 days I was at ALA, I met and got books signed from:
Marie Lu, David Levithan, Julie Berry, Joelle Charbonneau, Amanda Sun, Raina Telegemeier, Rachel Hartman, Simone Elkeles, Doug TenNapel, and Elizabeth Scott. And I think I stood in line for an hour for all of them put together.
They all sign in their publisher’s booth so you don’t have to go to a separate autographing area.
3. THE FREE BOOKS. At BEA, you have to stand in line for galleys. At ALA, there are no lines, you just walk by the booth and grab one. They are usually on the table or on the floor.
Also, the publisher’s aren’t spread out. They are all in the same area. You just walk up and down the rows.
I’m trying not to sound like a Debbie Downer but I paid for my own trip and I didn’t get as many books as I thought I was going to get. I also didn’t stay the whole time and I did take that into consideration. I did enjoy NYC, I really appreciated the VIP Lounge, and Bookcon was certainly an experience.
I would suggest checking out ALA if you’ve never been. You don’t have to be a member of ALA to get into the exhibit hall and it only costs $35 for all three days. This year is it in Vegas and exhibit all opens June 28. ALA 2014. I will be presenting at ALA! My session is called, We f’d up, but we Fixed it.
Thanks to all who gave great advice. I had fun.