Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top Five Tips for BEA

This Tuesday is when the very popular book conference in NYC - known as Book Expo America - and I'm going to be there for the second time. BEA is a great place to acquire books, but the most important thing to keep in mind as a blogger is that getting books is not everything. A blogger's top priority should be to network and create relationships with bloggers, authors and friends. Books are just an added benefit of the conference.

And so, for all of the n00bs who are going to BEA this year, here is my list of tips for you, so you don't fall into similar traps I did last year.

1. Stick to your schedule, despite your friends. Once you make your schedule - and I hope you've already figured out you need one, I'm not wasting this post for the obvious - stick to it! I know you want to hang out with your friends. But you're not going to be happy with the books you receive and the people you meet if you stick to one social group and follow them around like their shadow.

If you have an online life any similar to mine, you have a lot of different social circles that intersect and diverge often. It's best to mix it up, and even go by yourself to certain events if there's no one to join you. You'll always find someone to talk to if you're friendly.

For instance, last year Libba Bray was on a BEA panel at the same time as a Cory Doctorow signing and because all of my friends have seen Libba approximately 323298235 times before (*grumble* *grumble*) I headed down to the panel room by myself instead of begging one of my friends to come. Not only did I get a seat in the front row, but I was two seats away from Natalie Standiford! I fangirled in my mind an inappropriate amount. And I also didn't piss my friends off with codependency issues. It's a win-win for all!

2. Bring snacks. I mean it. I saw this tip in every single tips post last year and somehow snacks slipped my mind. It'll be virtually impossible to get a lunch. Not only is BEA's cafeteria expensive, but they have very few options. It's best to nosh on something in a long line. That's the most time you'll have to eat. You'll just end up starving otherwise. Please, BRING SOMETHING.

3. You. Will. Not. Live. Unless. You. Wear. Supportive. Footwear. The Rapture didn't happen. Try not to tempt fate by wearing high heels or flip flops. You need sneakers, I promise you.

4. Bring business cards! Sometimes after panels you bump into the PR for certain authors. I was offered to be a part of a book giveaway list twice and my business card was what got me those books. Even if you're a teenager, it makes you look cool, organized and professional.

5. Don't forget the after parties! There are a lot of book signings after each day at BEA. Be sure to check out your favourite authors' sites to see what's going on every night.

Bonus Tip: Stand out
. Whether it's how much you loved or are looking forward to reading an author's book, how you dress, your marketing strategy, or your unique take on YA literature as a whole, don't just be a number when you go to BEA. Go out and charm the bejeezus out of those authors! Giggle with the bloggers. Chat it up with the English teachers. And look cool doing it all. Knock em dead, kiddo.

PS: If you like all of the crazy things I say, you might want to hang out with me between May 22nd-27th! If you email me, I'd be happy to schedule a get together with you. Endure my company and I'll be eternally grateful.

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